Feature interview extracts of the week with actors Gillian Anderson, Cherry Jones & Tracee Chimo

Mark ShentonFeatures, Include in homepage slide?Leave a Comment

gillian-anderson-the-fall

BROADWAY’S BOFFO BOX OFFICE

Broadway has just had an all-time record breaking week. The more money Broadway charges, this site of course, the more it makes. Combined with an increase in attendance, too, and it’s no wonder that records were smashed last week for both Broadway grosses and attendance, with 357,718 people shelling out over $43m to see one of 38 shows playing on the rialto at the moment. Many shows play a nine-show week rather than the usual eight-shows, so that partly accounts for the rises.

But its yet another vote of confidence in Broadway, just at the time it most needs it and it plunges this week into the post-Christmas doldrums. January and February is traditionally the time when the least secure Broadway shows are most vulnerable. Two of them shut shop on January 3 in anticipation of the fall-off: Dames at Sea and Sylvia. Four more ended as planned, Hand to God to move to London, and the limited seasons of Lord of the Dance, The Illusionists and Therese Racquin.

The top-grossing show was The Lion King, raking in $2.9m for the week, with an average ticket price of $1289.40; while its other Broadway attraction, the London-bound Aladdin, reeled in £2.4m, with an average ticket price of $154.30. As Jeremy Gerard observed in his weekly analysis of the Broadway box office for deadline.com, “Not even Star Wars can claim ticket prices like that. (And both shows are available exclusively in 3D Live format.)” Disney also saw those shows respectively occupying the number 1 and 3 positions of the year’s top grossing shows of the year.

school-of-rockNewcomer to the street Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock (pictured left) beat its own previous record set the week before for top grossing show at the Winter Garden Theatre, when it grossed $1,671m with houses at 102.1% capacity. No wonder Andrew is happy, stating in a press statement, ”

“We could not have ended 2015 on a higher note, and we look forward to 2016 bringing School of Rock to greater audiences on Broadway, in London, and at the hundreds of schools themselves that will be performing the show across America.”

MY PERSONAL TOP HALF DOZEN FOR THE SPRING
Now it is time to look forward to the next five months, during which nearly 20 shows are to open.  Here are the half dozen I’m most looking forward to (but there are many more!):

Hughie-broadwayHUGHIE. The Michael Grandage Company — who have already taken its West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan to Broadway — now originate a first show directly onto Broadway, when Grandage directs Forest Whitaker in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s rarely seen Hughie, beginning performances Feb. 8, prior to an official opening Feb. 25, at the Booth Theatre. Website: http://hughiebroadway.com/

SHE LOVES ME. I adore this most fragrant of all Broadway musicals — set in a  parfumerie, how could it not be? — with all my heart. I wasn’t around for its original 1963 production that starred the incomparable Barbara Cook, but saw its 1993 Broadway revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company when Scott Ellis directed Judy Kuhn (now on Broadway in Fun Home) and later  Diane Fratantoni in it. Now Ellis is reprising his directorial duties to revive it for Roundabout at Studio 54, beginning performances Feb. 19 prior to an official opening March 17, this time with Laura Benanti, joined by Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel and Zachary Levi. Website: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/She-Loves-Me.aspx

crucible-posterTHE CRUCIBLE. Having done revelatory work on Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, now running at Broadway’s Lyceum after transferring from London’s Young Vic, Dutch director Ivo van Hove tackles another Miller classic, beginning performances Feb. 29 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, prior to an official opening April 7.  The cast includes Ben Whishaw as John Proctor; Sophie Okonedo as his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams and Ciaran Hinds as Deputy Governor Danforth.
AMERICAN PSYCHO. Rupert Goold revisits his 2013 Almeida hit based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis and featuring a score by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), re-cast now with American actor Benjamin Walker in the title role originally played in Islington by Matt Smith, beginning performances March 24 at the Gerald Schonfeld Theatre. Website: http://americanpsychothemusical.com/

SHUFFLE ALONG. Is it a new musical or a revival? This show is about the making of the 1921 musical of the same name, beginning performances March 15 prior to an official opening April 21 at the Music Box Theatre. George C Wolfe directs a cast that is led by 6-times Tony winner Audra McDonald, with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Choreography is by Savion Glover. Website: http://shufflealongbroadway.com/

Waitress-production-picWAITRESS. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, this new musical has a score by pop writer and performer Sara Bereilles, and has a predominantly emale lead creative team including book writer Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus and choreographer Lorin Latarro.  The show stars Jessie Mueller (pictured left), Tony winner for the original production of Beautiful. I saw its try-out at American Repertory Theatre last summer and loved it there, so can’t wait to re-visit it. Website: http://waitressthemusical.com/
BROADWAY’S BOFFO BOX OFFICE

Broadway has just had an all-time record breaking week. The more money Broadway charges, information pills of course, decease the more it makes. Combined with an increase in attendance, too, and it’s no wonder that records were smashed last week for both Broadway grosses and attendance, with 357,718 people shelling out over $43m to see one of 38 shows playing on the rialto at the moment. Many shows play a nine-show week rather than the usual eight-shows, so that partly accounts for the rises.

But its yet another vote of confidence in Broadway, just at the time it most needs it and it plunges this week into the post-Christmas doldrums. January and February is traditionally the time when the least secure Broadway shows are most vulnerable. Two of them shut shop on January 3 in anticipation of the fall-off: Dames at Sea and Sylvia. Four more ended as planned, Hand to God to move to London, and the limited seasons of Lord of the Dance, The Illusionists and Therese Racquin.

The top-grossing show was The Lion King, raking in $2.9m for the week, with an average ticket price of $1289.40; while its other Broadway attraction, the London-bound Aladdin, reeled in £2.4m, with an average ticket price of $154.30. As Jeremy Gerard observed in his weekly analysis of the Broadway box office for deadline.com, “Not even Star Wars can claim ticket prices like that. (And both shows are available exclusively in 3D Live format.)” Disney also saw those shows respectively occupying the number 1 and 3 positions of the year’s top grossing shows of the year.

school-of-rockNewcomer to the street Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock (pictured left) beat its own previous record set the week before for top grossing show at the Winter Garden Theatre, when it grossed $1,671m with houses at 102.1% capacity. No wonder Andrew is happy, stating in a press statement, ”

“We could not have ended 2015 on a higher note, and we look forward to 2016 bringing School of Rock to greater audiences on Broadway, in London, and at the hundreds of schools themselves that will be performing the show across America.”

MY PERSONAL TOP HALF DOZEN FOR THE SPRING
Now it is time to look forward to the next five months, during which nearly 20 shows are to open.  Here are the half dozen I’m most looking forward to (but there are many more!):

Hughie-broadwayHUGHIE. The Michael Grandage Company — who have already taken its West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan to Broadway — now originate a first show directly onto Broadway, when Grandage directs Forest Whitaker in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s rarely seen Hughie, beginning performances Feb. 8, prior to an official opening Feb. 25, at the Booth Theatre. Website: http://hughiebroadway.com/

SHE LOVES ME. I adore this most fragrant of all Broadway musicals — set in a  parfumerie, how could it not be? — with all my heart. I wasn’t around for its original 1963 production that starred the incomparable Barbara Cook, but saw its 1993 Broadway revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company when Scott Ellis directed Judy Kuhn (now on Broadway in Fun Home) and later  Diane Fratantoni in it. Now Ellis is reprising his directorial duties to revive it for Roundabout at Studio 54, beginning performances Feb. 19 prior to an official opening March 17, this time with Laura Benanti, joined by Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel and Zachary Levi. Website: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/She-Loves-Me.aspx

crucible-posterTHE CRUCIBLE. Having done revelatory work on Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, now running at Broadway’s Lyceum after transferring from London’s Young Vic, Dutch director Ivo van Hove tackles another Miller classic, beginning performances Feb. 29 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, prior to an official opening April 7.  The cast includes Ben Whishaw as John Proctor; Sophie Okonedo as his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams and Ciaran Hinds as Deputy Governor Danforth.
AMERICAN PSYCHO. Rupert Goold revisits his 2013 Almeida hit based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis and featuring a score by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), re-cast now with American actor Benjamin Walker in the title role originally played in Islington by Matt Smith, beginning performances March 24 at the Gerald Schonfeld Theatre. Website: http://americanpsychothemusical.com/

SHUFFLE ALONG. Is it a new musical or a revival? This show is about the making of the 1921 musical of the same name, beginning performances March 15 prior to an official opening April 21 at the Music Box Theatre. George C Wolfe directs a cast that is led by 6-times Tony winner Audra McDonald, with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Choreography is by Savion Glover. Website: http://shufflealongbroadway.com/

Waitress-production-picWAITRESS. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, this new musical has a score by pop writer and performer Sara Bereilles, and has a predominantly emale lead creative team including book writer Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus and choreographer Lorin Latarro.  The show stars Jessie Mueller (pictured left), Tony winner for the original production of Beautiful. I saw its try-out at American Repertory Theatre last summer and loved it there, so can’t wait to re-visit it. Website: http://waitressthemusical.com/
BROADWAY’S BOFFO BOX OFFICE

Broadway has just had an all-time record breaking week. The more money Broadway charges, visit of course, web the more it makes. Combined with an increase in attendance, too, and it’s no wonder that records were smashed last week for both Broadway grosses and attendance, with 357,718 people shelling out over $43m to see one of 38 shows playing on the rialto at the moment. Many shows play a nine-show week rather than the usual eight-shows, so that partly accounts for the rises.

But its yet another vote of confidence in Broadway, just at the time it most needs it and it plunges this week into the post-Christmas doldrums. January and February is traditionally the time when the least secure Broadway shows are most vulnerable. Two of them shut shop on January 3 in anticipation of the fall-off: Dames at Sea and Sylvia. Four more ended as planned, Hand to God to move to London, and the limited seasons of Lord of the Dance, The Illusionists and Therese Racquin.

The top-grossing show was The Lion King, raking in $2.9m for the week, with an average ticket price of $189.40, while its other Broadway attraction, the London-bound Aladdin, reeled in £2.4m, with an average ticket price of $154.30. As Jeremy Gerard observed in his weekly analysis of the Broadway box office for deadline.com, “Not even Star Wars can claim ticket prices like that. (And both shows are available exclusively in 3D Live format.)” Disney also saw those shows respectively occupying the number 1 and 3 positions of the year’s top grossing shows of the year.

school-of-rockNewcomer to the street Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock (pictured left) beat its own previous record set the week before for top grossing show at the Winter Garden Theatre, when it grossed $1,671m with houses at 102.1% capacity. No wonder Andrew is happy, stating in a press statement, ”

“We could not have ended 2015 on a higher note, and we look forward to 2016 bringing School of Rock to greater audiences on Broadway, in London, and at the hundreds of schools themselves that will be performing the show across America.”

MY PERSONAL TOP HALF DOZEN FOR THE SPRING
Now it is time to look forward to the next five months, during which nearly 20 shows are to open.  Here are the half dozen I’m most looking forward to (but there are many more!):

Hughie-broadwayHUGHIE. The Michael Grandage Company — who have already taken its West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan to Broadway — now originate a first show directly onto Broadway, when Grandage directs Forest Whitaker in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s rarely seen Hughie, beginning performances Feb. 8, prior to an official opening Feb. 25, at the Booth Theatre. Website: http://hughiebroadway.com/

SHE LOVES ME. I adore this most fragrant of all Broadway musicals — set in a  parfumerie, how could it not be? — with all my heart. I wasn’t around for its original 1963 production that starred the incomparable Barbara Cook, but saw its 1993 Broadway revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company when Scott Ellis directed Judy Kuhn (now on Broadway in Fun Home) and later  Diane Fratantoni in it. Now Ellis is reprising his directorial duties to revive it for Roundabout at Studio 54, beginning performances Feb. 19 prior to an official opening March 17, this time with Laura Benanti, joined by Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel and Zachary Levi. Website: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/She-Loves-Me.aspx

crucible-posterTHE CRUCIBLE. Having done revelatory work on Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, now running at Broadway’s Lyceum after transferring from London’s Young Vic, Dutch director Ivo van Hove tackles another Miller classic, beginning performances Feb. 29 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, prior to an official opening April 7.  The cast includes Ben Whishaw as John Proctor; Sophie Okonedo as his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams and Ciaran Hinds as Deputy Governor Danforth.
AMERICAN PSYCHO. Rupert Goold revisits his 2013 Almeida hit based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis and featuring a score by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), re-cast now with American actor Benjamin Walker in the title role originally played in Islington by Matt Smith, beginning performances March 24 at the Gerald Schonfeld Theatre. Website: http://americanpsychothemusical.com/

SHUFFLE ALONG. Is it a new musical or a revival? This show is about the making of the 1921 musical of the same name, beginning performances March 15 prior to an official opening April 21 at the Music Box Theatre. George C Wolfe directs a cast that is led by 6-times Tony winner Audra McDonald, with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Choreography is by Savion Glover. Website: http://shufflealongbroadway.com/

Waitress-production-picWAITRESS. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, this new musical has a score by pop writer and performer Sara Bereilles, and has a predominantly emale lead creative team including book writer Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus and choreographer Lorin Latarro.  The show stars Jessie Mueller (pictured left), Tony winner for the original production of Beautiful. I saw its try-out at American Repertory Theatre last summer and loved it there, so can’t wait to re-visit it. Website: http://waitressthemusical.com/
BROADWAY’S BOFFO BOX OFFICE

Broadway has just had an all-time record breaking week. The more money Broadway charges, more about of course, information pills the more it makes. Combined with an increase in attendance, ed too, and it’s no wonder that records were smashed last week for both Broadway grosses and attendance, with 357,718 people shelling out over $43m to see one of 38 shows playing on the rialto at the moment. Many shows play a nine-show week rather than the usual eight-shows, so that partly accounts for the rises.

But its yet another vote of confidence in Broadway, just at the time it most needs it and it plunges this week into the post-Christmas doldrums. January and February is traditionally the time when the least secure Broadway shows are most vulnerable. Two of them shut shop on January 3 in anticipation of the fall-off: Dames at Sea and Sylvia. Four more ended as planned, Hand to God to move to London, and the limited seasons of Lord of the Dance, The Illusionists and Therese Racquin.

The top-grossing show was The Lion King, raking in $2.9m for the week, with an average ticket price of $189.40, while its other Broadway attraction, the London-bound Aladdin, reeled in £2.4m, with an average ticket price of $154.30. As Jeremy Gerard observed in his weekly analysis of the Broadway box office for deadline.com, “Not even Star Wars can claim ticket prices like that. (And both shows are available exclusively in 3D Live format.)” Disney also saw those shows respectively occupying the number 1 and 3 positions of the year’s top grossing shows of the year.

school-of-rockNewcomer to the street Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock (pictured left) beat its own previous record set the week before for top grossing show at the Winter Garden Theatre, when it grossed $1,671m with houses at 102.1% capacity. No wonder Andrew is happy, stating in a press statement, ”

“We could not have ended 2015 on a higher note, and we look forward to 2016 bringing School of Rock to greater audiences on Broadway, in London, and at the hundreds of schools themselves that will be performing the show across America.”

MY PERSONAL TOP HALF DOZEN FOR THE SPRING
Now it is time to look forward to the next five months, during which nearly 20 shows are to open.  Here are the half dozen I’m most looking forward to (but there are many more!):

Hughie-broadwayHUGHIE. The Michael Grandage Company — who have already taken its West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan to Broadway — now originate a first show directly onto Broadway, when Grandage directs Forest Whitaker in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s rarely seen Hughie, beginning performances Feb. 8, prior to an official opening Feb. 25, at the Booth Theatre. Website: http://hughiebroadway.com/

SHE LOVES ME. I adore this most fragrant of all Broadway musicals — set in a  parfumerie, how could it not be? — with all my heart. I wasn’t around for its original 1963 production that starred the incomparable Barbara Cook, but saw its 1993 Broadway revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company when Scott Ellis directed Judy Kuhn (now on Broadway in Fun Home) and later  Diane Fratantoni in it. Now Ellis is reprising his directorial duties to revive it for Roundabout at Studio 54, beginning performances Feb. 19 prior to an official opening March 17, this time with Laura Benanti, joined by Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel and Zachary Levi. Website: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/She-Loves-Me.aspx

crucible-posterTHE CRUCIBLE. Having done revelatory work on Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, now running at Broadway’s Lyceum after transferring from London’s Young Vic, Dutch director Ivo van Hove tackles another Miller classic, beginning performances Feb. 29 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, prior to an official opening April 7.  The cast includes Ben Whishaw as John Proctor; Sophie Okonedo as his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams and Ciaran Hinds as Deputy Governor Danforth.
AMERICAN PSYCHO. Rupert Goold revisits his 2013 Almeida hit based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis and featuring a score by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), re-cast now with American actor Benjamin Walker in the title role originally played in Islington by Matt Smith, beginning performances March 24 at the Gerald Schonfeld Theatre. Website: http://americanpsychothemusical.com/

SHUFFLE ALONG. Is it a new musical or a revival? This show is about the making of the 1921 musical of the same name, beginning performances March 15 prior to an official opening April 21 at the Music Box Theatre. George C Wolfe directs a cast that is led by 6-times Tony winner Audra McDonald, with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Choreography is by Savion Glover. Website: http://shufflealongbroadway.com/

Waitress-production-picWAITRESS. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, this new musical has a score by pop writer and performer Sara Bereilles, and has a predominantly emale lead creative team including book writer Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus and choreographer Lorin Latarro.  The show stars Jessie Mueller (pictured left), Tony winner for the original production of Beautiful. I saw its try-out at American Repertory Theatre last summer and loved it there, so can’t wait to re-visit it. Website: http://waitressthemusical.com/
GILLIAN ANDERSON: GOOD AT INTERVIEWS & BEING SINGLE, treatment BAD AT HOLIDAYS
gillian-anderson-the-fallInterviewed by Rachel Cooke in The Observer (January 3, more about 2016, Anderson is currently appearing in War and Peace, and about to start shooting the third series of The Fall (pictured left), before reprising her performance as Blanche DuBois in A Street Named Desire in New York. Rachel Cook’s introduction is priceless — and exactly true to the measure of an actress I have also met and interviewed.

Of all the truly famous actors I have ever met – by which I mean those whose faces have appeared, bus-sized, on posters on Sunset Boulevard rather than among, say, the pages of the Radio Times – Gillian Anderson is by some distance the cleverest at interviews. Is it a performance, the way she appears so sane and normal? Or is she really sane and normal? Impossible to say, though I have my suspicions. All I can tell you is that, tiny in her jeans and boots, she radiates a certain surprising solidarity. You’d call it sisterliness, if that didn’t sound so my-pal-the-Hollywood-star deluded.

….She is “terrible” at holidays. “I keep myself busy because when I stop, that’s when I get in trouble. That’s what I’ve learned. But then sometimes it’s important that I force myself to stop, because what am I running from? It could be that I’ve got huge grief left over from the death of my brother [her younger brother, Aaron, died in 2011 of a brain tumour at the age of just 30], or that something from my childhood is niggling at me, or it could be that because I am 47 and know how challenging it is to get work as you move close to your 50s, that much of my perpetual movement is about the fear of it [work] stopping. Then again, maybe that’s just a good business decision on my part. Either way, I need to get at the truth of it.

On being single:

“The thing is that there are needs and there are wants. I have a list of needs and I will not compromise about those. But aside from that… I don’t meet anybody! It’s not like I meet people, and they ask me out, and I say no. It’s not even like I meet people and I don’t give them enough attention. I just don’t meet them at all. I’m either on a plane, or on set, or with my children. There have been people in my life who’ve tried to set me up, and if a friend said: ‘I know someone amazing’, I would show up. But here’s the thing: I’ve got three children. It’s a big ask.”

How long has she been on her own? “That depends. I haven’t been in a relationship for a couple of years. But I’m not anxious about it, nor am I interested in starting to see someone who doesn’t fit. People go: ‘Oh, he’s so cute.’ The trouble is, I’m not interested in looks at all.”

CHERRY JONES ON THE NEED TO DIVERSIFY AND NOT JUST WORK ON STAGE
cherry-jonesThe Broadway veteran who is now appearing on the TV series “Transparent”, interviewed in the New York Times:

Q. You are so closely associated with the New York theater scene. Are you glad to be expanding into more television work?

A: Theater will always be my home, but I remember Julie Harris and Frances Sternhagen beating advice into my head when I was being a little theater snob in the ’90s. They said, “Darling, if you want to work when you are older, you have got to diversify.”

TRACEE CHIMO ON THE STRUGGLE FOR RECOGNITION
tracee-chimo-noises-offNow in previews on Broadway for Noises Off (in which she plays the harried stage manager, pictured left with headphones), Chimo is interviewed in the New York Times  about her slow career break:

Ms. Chimo came to acting in a more circuitous fashion. A dancer from an early age, she injured her knee during her senior year in high school and watched her college scholarships evaporate. But Salem State University was still willing to take her, and she graduated with a degree in drama.

Arriving in New York, she soon decamped for a yearlong contract dancing on Carnival cruises, then returned to seven years of “bartending, waiting tables, walking dogs, cutting keys at a hardware store in the Village, babysitting and going on auditions all the time and nobody giving me a chance,” she recalled.

After she got her first breaks in the off-Broadway hits Circle Mirror Transformation and Bad Jews, she didn’t go for easy choices:

Ms. Chimo didn’t work for six months after winning raves for Circle Mirror Transformation, largely because she was presented with several more shy teenager roles and she didn’t want to repeat herself.

“I feel like I’ve always had to fight to get people to see that I can do more than the last thing that I’ve done,” she said.

Though she’s now also appearing in a TV series called Difficult People, she found it hard to get cast in TV:

She spent a couple dispiriting months in Los Angeles, failing to impress the television crowd. “Casting people would call my manager and say, ‘She’s a bit heavy; she’s not pretty enough for what we’re looking for; she needs to learn how to do her hair.’”