This week Playbill.com launches Celeb PlayBlogger, a new feature that will run sporadically in PlayBlog. Our first guest celebrity blogger is Tony Award winner Victoria Clark, the dazzling singing actress who won her Tony for her performance in Lincoln Center Theater's production of The Light in the Piazza. Clark is back at LCT in Andrew Bovell's award-winning family drama When the Rain Stops Falling, which will officially open at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater March 8. Clark will blog all week; her second entry follows:
Light! We are coming out of the cave. Literally. Three floors below sea level is the location of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater dressing rooms. We have been creatures in the dark for almost two solid months, and today, our call is half-hour! This is astounding news. We have met as a company consistently for the past eight Tuesdays all day, or most of it. What will we do with ourselves today? Rest? My mind is galloping!
The Lincoln Center Theater benefit last night was amazing. Celebrating 25 years of theatre magic at Lincoln Center. You don’t have to be around that place for long to feel that you are a part of a joyous theatre family that is constantly making impact and changing lives. It was a reunion of sorts for the artists, all of whom were Lincoln Center alums, and/or current LCT-ers. I sat between Ted Sperling, my long-time friend and collaborator, and Michael Berresse, who at one point, just reached over and took my hand. During The Light in the Piazza, he and I were always acutely aware of that show’s massive importance in our hearts, and our incredible good fortune to be involved. When you go through an experience like that, you are brother and sister forever.
I think that is why theatre people always greet one another with an embrace. It isn’t just pretense or dramatic flair—it is recognizing the human being with whom you have forged a history, and made soulful, deep, hilarious connections—discussing around the table, waiting in the wings to go on, laughing yourselves silly in the green room, sitting up all night during tech rehearsals, and weathering the natural life cycle of a show. You birth it, you watch it grow up, you feed and nurture it, and then eventually, you have to say goodbye. That process lives with you forever, as do the friends. A strange life we lead; we work while other people are relaxing. Weekends, nights, holidays. This is our second family. These people know you. We march through life together.
I thought about my family at Rain yesterday, the day off. I thought about all our company members with children, eight at last count, and the themes of our play. To say that this play is a family drama spanning four generations barely scratches the surface. It is. But it is a story of redemption and forgiveness at its core, a story about parents and children. Communication.
My friend Jamie came with his wife to see the play a couple of weeks ago, early in previews, and emailed to apologize for not coming backstage. “I hurried home to hug my children,” he told me. And I suppose if we do our jobs right, that is what everyone will want to do. The character Gabriel Law (Will Rogers) says in the play to his mother Elizabeth (Mary Beth Hurt), “What do you think, Mum? Start again?” There is family we choose, and the family we don’t, but who remain family nonetheless. Giving us memories and the future, to some extent. Indelible? Iconic? Ferocious? Joyous? Yes, all yes.