Earlier this spring, the very generous folks at Lincoln Center Theater asked if I’d like to represent the company of OSLO in a special feature to be included in the Tony Awards one-night-only edition of PLAYBILL, highlighting artists making their Broadway debuts this 2016-2017 season.
What an honor to be featured alongside so many wonderful talents, from very fresh faces to respected industry veterans…and, my dad would have gotten a real kick that I share the article with the inimitable Danny DeVito.
Check out all of ‘Broadway’s Newest Faces’ at the online feature, here.
After last summer’s Off-Broadway production of OSLO at the Mitzi Newhouse won both the Lucille Lortel and the Obie, it’s been astounding to watch this spring as the Broadway production at the Vivian Beaumont has been awarded every Best Play citation of the season: the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, and the Drama League. So, we were all on some pins and needles tonight, as there was stiff competition for the Tony from SWEAT, INDECENT, and A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2.
The majority of the cast and crew (who weren’t nominated and in attendance at Radio City) were gathered at the LCT viewing party at PJ Clarke’s, along with the cast and crew of the also-nominated LCT production of FALSETTOS. What a sweet and ecstatic eruption took place when John Lithgow read out, ‘OSLO’, as the winner of this year’s Tony Award for Best Play. The magic carpet ride continues…
After winning all of the Lucille Lortel awards for which it was nominated (Featured Actor, Leading Actress, Director, and Play), last summer’s Off-Broadway production of OSLO at the Mitzi Newhouse continues to rack ’em up, tonight winning the OBIE awards for Ensemble as well as Best New American Theatre Work.
Last night, the Lincoln Center Theater production of JT Rogers’ OSLO directed by Bartlett Sher opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater to an ovation and ecstatic reviews (‘…has become the colossus it was always meant to be…a thrilling production…’) and tonight, the very good Friday of Easter weekend, I made my Broadway debut in the role of Yossi Beilin.
You can’t make these things up.
We’d had an unusual preview period, already, with my pal Angela Pierce going on the first Sunday matinee (only the 4th public performance) for dear Henny Russell, stuck on a disabled 7 train in Queens. The following week, my buddy Jeff Still went on a few times for an ailing colleague, and, to our collective delight for him but our concerted dismay at the circumstance, he’s been playing the role ever since.
Tonight, I got the last-minute call-to-arms. We’re all exhausted, this show is a 3-hour monster, we’d just finished the long march to Opening, rehearsing all day then playing at night, I’d had my hefty fair share of bourbon to celebrate the occasion, then family in town for an unseasonably hot afternoon in the Park, I had not found that half-hour for a short snooze before the show,and then an hour before curtain, as I’m leaving home, my phone buzzed. Adam Dannheisser was stuck on a train in Jersey and we didn’t know if he’d get into the city in time. There’d been a power outage at Port Authority, coupled with a gun scare (turned out to be a taser) at Penn Station. I got to the theatre, we ran through one quick furniture move, and with fifteen minutes to go, our amazing ASM, Howie Tilkin, showed up to tell me, ‘He’s not gonna make it. You need to get dressed.’
Yowza. I’ve never understudied before, let alone covered four principal roles in a ‘colossus’ such as OSLO, never walked out, with no rehearsal, onto a Broadway stage and into the middle of a massive and finely-calibrated machine before a packed house expecting to be ‘thrilled’. It’s a testament to the strength of this acting company, to the leadership of Bart Sher, and to the crack stage management team that the evening was such a success. Across the street at P.J. Clarke’s, hoisting a few after the show, none of the friends and colleagues who were in the audience that night had any idea who the understudy was…and, Michael Aronov mentioned to me, ‘Dude, you were calmer than we were. After a while, we all forgot that an understudy was on.’ Glad and grateful to have done the job I was hired to do and, by all accounts, done it well. On to tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow!
Onstage with the great Jefferson Mays. Photos by my pal, T. Ryder Smith.
OSLO has been in rehearsal now for a few weeks, calibrating the show for the Vivian Beaumont Theater and the limited Broadway run this spring (April 13th ~ June 18th). The entire team of last summer’s Off-Broadway run at the Newhouse is back together, (with the addition of another actor to the ‘cover crew’, easing my load a bit. A bit.) In this pic from the rehearsal room, with everyone all in red in support of International Women’s Day, you can see how damn happy everyone is to be back together and headed to the Great White Way with this marvelous production. Get your tickets, now!