In the “olden days,” many of the big Broadway talents toured—Mary Martin, John Raitt, Carol Channing, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and others. Today, rarely do the big New York theatre names make it to the provinces, so when they do, to us theatre fans, it’s a really big deal.
And indeed, it was a really big deal when Douglas Sills came to town in The Scarlet Pimpernel because word had spread about his wonderful Tony-nominated performance. I’m so incredibly glad he toured!
To me, getting to see Douglas Sills as Percival Blakeney was akin to getting to see Robert Preston as Harold Hill. I mean, here is this phenomenal role filled with romance and howl-inducing laughter in a great show (Yes, I said a great show.) being played by the person for whom it was fitted.
I still have so many vivid memories of Douglas Sills in that show. Not only do I remember how Sills made the entire theatre burst into simultaneous laughter as he declared the importance of fashion, but he also pulled out all the stops for the agony in “Prayer.” We felt his urgency in “Into the Fire” and cheered him during the climactic battle against William Paul Michals.
For such a versatile actor, it’s a shame that Sills hasn’t done more in New York since. Perhaps he should do one of those one-laugh-an-hour Fox sitcoms for a few years then come back in another great role suited to him many talents.
Getting to Know You Interview: http://www.broadway.com/gen/Buzz_Story.aspx?ci=30594
July 17, 2007