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Posts tagged ‘Jordan Roth’


Clybourne Park makes Tony nominee Jeremy Shamos racist proof

jeremy shamos headshot clybourne park broadwayIn two acts each taking place in different eras, the new play Clybourne Park demonstrates how race issues haven’t changed much in 50 years. Jeremy Shamos plays Karl in Act I during 1959 and Steve in Act II in the present day—two of the most foot-in-mouth characters to hit Broadway in years. Shamos’ hilarity has been recognized with a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play, along with three other nominations for Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. This is quite a triumph for a play that nearly got the plug pulled on it when mega producer Scott Rudin abruptly withdrew from the production last February, due to a conflict with Norris. Stage Rush sat down with Shamos, before the Tony nominations were announced, to discuss breaking dozens of social norms on stage, Clybourne’s press-shy playwright, and almost not making it to Broadway.

Your Act I character, Karl Lindner, has stepped out of A Raisin in the Sun and into Clybourne Park. What’s it like to play that unique aspect?
I’ve made some effort to not over think the Raisin in the Sun connection. I haven’t poured over Karl Lindner’s part in that play. For Bruce Norris, it was a jumping-off point, and it’s the same for me. I’ve never seen the movie; Bruce told me that I shouldn’t. [laughs] When I first walk on stage in Act I, my character resonates with people and a lot of the work is done for me. Pretty late in the first act when I say “The community association made an offer to these people,” the people who are familiar with [A Raisin in the Sun] know what that means, because they’ve been in that living room and saw him make an offer to the Youngers. I get the advantage of my first act being the second act of something else.

How does it feel to play a character that breaks social norms and is hilariously bad?
That’s the pleasure of doing Bruce’s plays in general. He allows his characters to say things that we have probably all thought, but would never say. That’s a complete pleasure, especially within the context of a very smart theatrical event. I’ve been asked if it’s hard to say the things that my characters say. There are certain things that are offensive that would be hard to say if the play itself was offensive. Then yeah, I’d just be offensive in an irresponsible way. But because things are contextualized so well, I feel like it’s thrilling and the audience gets a real vicarious thrill. Read more »


On the scene: Daniel Radcliffe at 92nd Street Y

daniel radcliffe harry potter headshotA substantial portion of paying audiences flock to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre primarily to see Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Yet they aren’t getting Radcliffe on stage—they’re getting J. Pierrepont Finch, his character. However, Monday night at the 92nd Street Y, a full auditorium got Radcliffe for an hour and a half, nervous chuckles, self-deprecation, and all. In a long-form interview with Jordan Roth, the president of Jujamcyn Theaters, Radcliffe discussed the fears of taking on his first Broadway musical, the physical trait he thinks landed him the coveted role of Harry Potter, and that now-infamous Tony Awards snub. Here are some of the highlights.

On deciding to do How To Succeed:
You work really hard on Broadway, and you have to if you want to meet a certain standard. I think people were kind of intrigued that I didn’t want to take the easier option of just signing on for another seven-film fantasy franchise.

On dance training:
There wasn’t a huge amount of investigating into [the deeper meanings of corporate greed in the show]. My attitude was just sort of, “Let’s get the dancing done.” I started doing dance lessons proper and in earnest in January 2010. I had a meeting with [director] Rob Ashford at the end of 2009. I told him, “Singing—I’m working on, I’m comfortable. Dancing—not an option. Put it out of your mind.” He said, “Look, we’ve got a year. We’ll see where you can get in a year, and if you’re still rubbish, we’ll see what we can do. I’m never going to make you look bad on stage.” When you’re working on Broadway, the wealth of talent you’re working with every single night is incredible. You have to work hard to keep pace with [the ensemble]. I didn’t want Rob to have to curtail what he would naturally do, choreographically, because I’m rubbish. And luckily, some of the more tricky parts of choreography were given to us in December, so I had a chance to learn it before we started rehearsals. Read more »