Six-time Emmy winner and two-time Tony winner John Lithgow stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert April 3 to discuss his return to Broadway in the play Hillary and Clinton, currently in previews at the Golden Theatre.
Lithgow was last on Broadway in his solo show John Lithgow: Stories By Heart and just a year later returns to the Main Stem. “It’s just the thing that draws all actors to the theatre—it's interacting with the audience and being a member of an ensemble and a company that works together day in and day out,” he said of why he keeps coming back. “You’re living through the story at the same time your audience is experiencing it.”
The actor plays Bill Clinton in the new play from A Doll’s House, Part 2 playwright Lucas Hnath. The show also stars fellow Tony winner Laurie Metcalf as Hillary. “It's a political play, but much more a marriage play,” he explained. The show takes place during the New Hampshire primary in 2008 when Hillary Clinton was running against Barack Obama.
“Laurie and I make absolutely no effort to imitate Bill and Hillary, we are sort of a metaphor for them.
“Lucas, in the stage directions of his play says, ‘Don’t be tempted to imitate these people. Think about playing the role of Henry V or Richard III,’’ Lithgow continued. “He thinks about it in very Shakespearean terms. I completely agree. The minute I start doggedly imitating Bill Clinton, it becomes a Saturday Night Live sketch.”
Lithgow also discussed his latest movie, the horror film Pet Semetary, and his new book of poems about the current President called Dumpty.