Gay Marshall, who has performed the role of Diana Morales in A Chorus Line on Broadway and in several U.S. cities and who has originated to great acclaim the role of Grizabella in the French production of Cats, is now starring in a play by Swiss writer Marcel Wenger, called Lunch Break in Paris. The play, a comedy of love and seduction between two colleagues having a lunch break in Central Park, is performed in English and co-stars Bill Dunn.
Speaking about her character in Lunch Break, Marshall says "she is a sort of frustrated, intelligent woman who was kept back at home with the kids and has been wanting to break into the business world for a while, because she has that education and, finally, when her daughter went to college, she decided to get back on the track. She's funny, human, warm and frustrated, I think, by living in a man's world but not beaten by it at all..."
Marshall's career started in the U.S. in the early 1980s when she was hired in one of the touring companies of A Chorus Line playing Maggie first, and then Diana Morales, a role she also portrayed on Broadway, the last time being in 1986. About her long engagement in the show, Marshall explains "I was very lucky because I had a kind of open door thing with them. I could always come back. A Chorus Line provided me with a kind of home on the road. I never really had a family so it was very hard to leave that. Plus, when you're on stage, it's always got to be the first time, so I didn't get bored. I always felt that I had a lot to accomplish with that show."
Recalling her Chorus Line fellow cast members of the time, Marshall has vivid memories "I remember Tracey Shane who mostly went on playing the role of Bebe. She's a brilliant singer, this kid, oh la la! And Diane Frantoni is a girl I really liked. I worked a lot with her. She was gorgeous and delightful. And of course, there was Bebe Neuwirth, who played Sheila and Cassie. The funny thing is that she was like 19-years old and she was playing the oldest part of the show [Sheila]."
In the early 1990s, Marshall created the coveted role of Grizabella in the French production of Cats and can be heard on the cast recording. "Cats was one of the best and worst experiences that I had. I was lucky that before we opened, a man named Harry Rabinowitz came in to rehearse the show because he has, what I think all the real pros have, a boundless love for what he does. Sometimes, all it takes is one gem to save you..." recalls Marshall. Asked about her current projects, Marshall says "I'm currently working with an acting coach whose name is Bob McAndrew and he is brilliant. I'm also in the process of writing a show, with a friend. It will be half musical and half sketches". But Marshall has also plenty of dreams for the future. "I would love to do Sunset Boulevard or Evita. I would also like to do something original. I would love to work with Sondheim, who wouldn't ? I'd like to work with people with open minds, who really want to build something exciting, communicative, important and full of heart. That's all it's about. It's heart."
For tickets and informations on Lunch Break at the Theatre de Nesle, call 331 46 34 61 04 or 331 47 53 83 16. Every Monday through Feb. 23.
-- By Stephane Ly-Cuong