Wednesday, February 18, 2009

From the Mouth of David Letterman (and Lauren Graham)

Lauren Graham: I did a TV show for seven years where our typical day was fourteen hours. And you tell people that, and they're like, "Yeah, but that's not theatre." And I'm like, "It's still fourteen hours!" That was a really long day!

David Letterman: That's a lot of standing around . . . and then a lot of this, "Lunch!"

Because I hated even the commercials for The Gilmore Girls, I find Lauren Graham a little hard to swallow, but I enjoyed watching her on David Letterman a couple weeks ago. On the show, she was trying to prove her theatre street cred, making sure to let everyone know that she had earned her equity card at the Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan (which is where Jonathon Larson and Marin Mazzie earned their Equity cards, by the way).

I’ve been concerned about the casting of Lauren Graham and Oliver Platt in the revival of Guys and Dolls. Honestly, if Guys and Dolls is a dud, I’m not sure there will be enough shows of high interest to warrant my hoped-for trip to NYC this summer. To me, Craig Bierko, Kate Jennings Grant, and Mary Testa are huge draws, but a show like Guys and Dolls thrives on all the leads being fantastic. After all, what good is a salad if half the lettuce is rotten?

That is not to say Graham might be bad just because she made her name on television. She obviously has stage experience, and she is presumably very talented. Perhaps the same can be said for Oliver Platt.

I just hope she is more Eric McCormack (who was great in The Music Man) than Christina Applegate (who, in Sweet Charity, was strong for someone who hadn’t been on Broadway before) or David Hasselhoff (does that really need to be qualified?).

A big star name can mean the difference between financial success (A Raisin in the Sun) or financial ruin (Seussical), greatness (Ragtime) or disaster (the Ashley Judd Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). I guess it boils down to that no matter what choice a producer makes, it’s a mighty big risk. And if your Hollywood star turns out to be Jeremy Piven, then I guess that’s the gamble you take and the result you deserve.

Broadway shows need stars to survive, but they also need talent and professionalism too.

As for Guys and Dolls, I’m hoping for the best.

the Broadway Mouth
February 18, 2009

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