Tony nominee Mary-Louise Parker seems to have a knack for choosing plays. Over her theatrical career she has starred in landmark works by such leading playwrights as Craig Lucas (A Prelude to a Kiss), John Patrick Shanley (Four Dogs and a Bone) Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) and, now, David Auburn (Proof). Few other actors working today could boast of so good a track record.
"Really, I'm so passionate about new plays," said Parker, who is Tony nominated for her role as the troubled Catherine in Proof. "I love reading something brand new, and the magic of that. I love what's undiscovered. I wanna see what Jon Robin Baitz and Craig Lucas will write next. I'm dying to see what David Auburn will write next."
Some critics have argued that Proof has given Parker her meatiest role to date, but the actress hesitates to pick favorites. "I feel like I've had so many good roles," she explained. "I love Proof an awful lot, but I really loved How I Learned to Drive, and I really loved Communicating Doors, actually. I love this play as much as I've loved anything else, and I love it even more now because I'm doing it." She admits, however, that she had no idea the Auburn work would become the critical and commercial sensation is has.
Parker — who was previously nominated for a Tony for Prelude to a Kiss — has been with the play since it debuted Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club last spring, and went with it when it transferred to Broadway. He contract will keep her at the Walter Kerr Theatre through Labor Day, adding up to a nearly year-and-a-half commitment to the theatre. She does not, however, dream of having spent the time more, shall we say, lucratively.
"When a play comes along," she said, "I often have to turn down other things that would allow me to make money. Sometimes I'll pick something beforehand that will allow me to do theatre for awhile. I'm pretty conservative with money; I could do theatre and not do other stuff for awhile, but you have to map out a career. It's hard if someone's offering you a lot of money or a great location. In the case of Proof, the play I'm doing now, I can't imagine anything giving me what this play has given me. No movie could ever do that. "