Category — Broadway
Why Alan Cumming’s Co-Stars are Crucial to the Broadway Revival
The current Broadway revival of Macbeth is often called a one-man show, but that’s not entirely accurate.
Yes, the production takes place in a mental institution where Alan Cumming’s character reenacts most of the play by himself, but he is not alone. Jenny Sterlin plays his doctor and Brendan Titley plays his nurse, and the show wouldn’t make sense without them. As Sterlin says, “It would just be a one-man show of Macbeth. It wouldn’t give the reason why you would do it.”
In the opening scene, Sterlin and Titley change Cumming out of his street clothes and into hospital garb. They speak to him as they work, but instead of reciting Shakespeare, they say what a medical staff might naturally say to a patient. And because they aren’t miked, what they’re saying is barely audible.
“It wasn’t important that anybody past row two or three heard it,” says Titley. “They wanted to make sure the audience knew that we were in a world that wasn’t Shakespeare’s world, that where we start off in the play is not a dramatization, so that it was clear that he was surrounded by the natural world.”
May 21, 2013 No Comments
Inside Richard Greenberg’s 10th visit to the same theatre
By now, it’s hard to imagine Manhattan Theatre Club without playwright Richard Greenberg. After all, his Tony-nominated drama The Assembled Parties, now on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman, marks his 10th collaboration with the company, following earlier productions like Three Days of Rain, The American Plan, and Eastern Standard.
“It’s been something like a quarter century now. It’s home,” Greenberg says.
The Assembled Parties began as a commission from MTC, and that assignment was prompted by the playwright’s rapport with artistic director Lynne Meadow. “After all these years, suddenly they called me and we had a meeting,” Greenberg says. “I made them come to my diner. That was a power trip!”
May 7, 2013 No Comments
How Jeff Calhoun stays connected to his hit show
On a hit Broadway show, a director’s job is never quite done. Working with a team of associate directors and stage managers, directors must keep tabs on their long-running productions to make sure their artistic visions are still being honored. They might guide a new cast member, tweak a scene, or even overhaul a moment altogether, all in the name of keeping the material fresh.
That’s why Jeff Calhoun is still thinking about Newsies, the Disney musical he directed that opened at the Nederlander Theater in March 2012. “It’ll never be over as long as it’s running,” he says. “It’s like you’re a parent and you have children: They may go to college, but that phone is still going to ring in the middle of the night.”
Based on the early 90s film musical, this story of New York City newspaper boys going on strike has been popular enough to outlast most of its original cast. That means a new crop of performers needs to be directed.
May 6, 2013 No Comments
Robert Cuccioli finds the human side of a comic book monster
Welcome to Building Character, TDF’s ongoing look at how actors create their roles
To understand the challenge of performing in a musical based on a comic book, just look at Robert Cuccioli’s role in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
At first, Cuccioli plays Norman Osborn, a brilliant, neurotic scientist who’s trying to improve the world with his genetic experiments. One of his mutated spiders escapes and bites a dorky teen named Peter Parker, giving the kid the powers that make him Spider-Man, but the spider’s escape also starts a chain of events that leaves Norman desperate and abandoned. In a frenzy, he performs an experiment on himself, which turns him into the villainous Green Goblin.
In other words: Cuccioli plays a human being and a spectacular freak, and as an actor, he has to honor both extremes. He has to craft a performance that contains recognizable humanity, but also acknowledges a comic book’s splashy fun.
May 3, 2013 No Comments
Inside the subtle choreography of Broadway’s “The Nance”
It’s an incredibly sensual wedding. In a shimmering white gown, a bride drapes across her husband, who’s resplendent in a top hat and tails. We can just see their profiles as they caress: His arm slides up hers, her leg quivers with anticipation, and the music matches the erotic energy of their dance.
Then we realize this couple isn’t a couple at all. The seduction features just one performer, dressed on one side like a bride and on the other like a groom. The dance is a ruse to make us think one person is two.
And the story goes deeper. The wedding number is an interlude in The Nance, the new drama from Douglas Carter Beane that’s now on Broadway at the Lyceum. The play follows Chauncey Miles, a vaudeville performer in 1937 New York who makes his living playing “nances,” or effeminate parodies of gay men.
April 29, 2013 No Comments