This is my first non-Shakespeare blog. But I’m thrilled to be playing Major Steve Arnold in “Taking Sides” at Little Fish Theatre. And they asked if I wanted to blog about my process, and of course I said yes, because talking about what I do is second only to doing what I do. I truly love being an actor. I love directing too, but acting was my first love. And 30+ years ago when I first took the stage, I knew it was for me.
Here I am a lifetime later, still in rehearsal and opening shows. Countless shows. There are a few experiences that really stand out for me, and oddly enough many of them involve the people with whom I’m working this time around. Stephanie has directed me at least a dozen times. 3 of those productions are my all time favorites. When I first got to work with her, she cast me as Marc Antony in “Julius Caesar.” And we were feeling each other out, as you do with anybody you haven’t worked with before. I remember coming to her with a different cutting of one of my speeches, and we talked about it and when she saw how much it meant to me, she decided to let me try it. After rehearsal, she told me she liked it. And then we kept working. I remember one night after working the Funeral Oration, she came up to me to give me a note and said: “You are so effing talented…” I didn’t hear the rest, as I had just become hers forever. That was the beginning of our artistic partnership. Since that time we have worked together many times. I’ve acted for her. She’s come in to help me with my directing, and I go into her rehearsals (when I’m not in the show) to provide an extra set of eyes. We both are better for knowing each other.
The other 2 productions which stand out for me are “Moonlight and Magnolias,” and “Barefoot in the Park.” Not to say our other collaborations haven’t been awesome, but those three were really special. And here we are again. And along for the ride is Cylan Brown once again. Cy has been in even more shows with Steph than I have. In fact, he’s been in every show I’ve done with Steph, and like four more. Cy is like a little brother to me. He is an unbelievable talent, and one of the most intelligent actors I’ve ever worked with. But don’t tell him I said that.
I’m also excited to be onstage with Richard Perloff. I met Richard a couple of years ago when he auditioned for me. I was directing Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two,” and Richard walked in the door and within five seconds I knew I had my lead. He also played my lead in last year’s “Time Stands Still.” So doing this play with my favorite director, my handpicked leading man twice over, and one of my best friends is just the best. I’m also stoked to be working with James Rice for the first time. He’s a Little Fish veteran, and I have admired his work for a long time. Kristina Teves is wonderful. I’ve both directed her and acted with her. She’s fierce and fearless. And Tara Donovan, our managing director, is finally stepping onto our stage. She brings such life to Emmi…it’s just great.
We are a couple of weeks in. A couple of weeks from opening. And we are finding the play. That’s what you do. You find out what this thing is. And this play is so smart, and full of really important questions. Which I will get to in another blog, since my baby girl wants my attention right now. But for now, know that we are hard at work with a wonderful group of people working on a great play.