Many people, critics and Tony Award nominators included, are talking about his nearly wordless performance as the hard-driven, bug-eyed, drooling lackey Lucky in director Anthony Page's praised Broadway revival of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Each of his co-stars — Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin and John Goodman — were commended for their work, but Glover was the only one to net a Tony nod, his first since winning the award in 1995 for Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! Glover talked to Playbill.com on the morning of his nomination about the role he was initially terrified to play.
Playbill.com: You received, and won, a Tony nomination once before, for Love! Valour! Compassion!. Does it feel different this time around?
JG: It feels good. I remember it felt good before, but because this is now and that was 14, 15 years ago, I guess I'm older and wiser now. So I'm more mature about my excitement. (Laughs)
Playbill.com: Is it interesting to you to receive a Tony Award nomination for a performance in which you say virtually nothing for much of the play?
John Glover: Yes. It's also a part that I was terrified of. You know, I wasn't meant to be in the play, I wasn't the original actor cast. David Strathairn was going to play this part and he had some trouble with his ankle. He was told that he had to stay off his feet for a while. So they had to replace him. I remember when I saw the ad in the paper for the announcement, with Nathan and Bill and John Goodman and David Strathairn. I was so jealous that I wasn't a part of it. Then my agent called me and said, "I'm going to call and suggest you for this." I went, "Oh, no, I can't do it. I didn't understand how to play the part. The part terrified me." He basically called me a fool if didn't try it.
Playbill.com: Is that what made you accept the part?
JG: Yes, he challenged me. I didn't like being called a fool.
Playbill.com: Who does?
JG: But I was terrified. I had no idea how to play it. I knew the script. I played Estragon when I was 21 in a summer stock company. And I'd seen productions of the play that were sort of — I just didn't get Lucky. I'm just so thankful that I pulled my socks up and said, "OK, give it a chance. Don't be afraid of it. Go for it." Playbill.com: How did you "get" Lucky, how did you find the key to him?
JG: You know, [director] Anthony Page, I worked with him in 1975 on a production of King Lear up in Stratford, Connecticut. There was an actor in the play who was having trouble with his lines. And I remember, right on the day off, right before we started our previews, I remember Tony said, "Go home on your day off and just have a love affair with your text." So, I had a month before I started rehearsals on Godot. I would go out for a three-mile hike in the morning. Then I would go home and sit in front of the kitchen table and spend two to three hours just kind loving and delving into those three pages of dialogue with no punctuation. Just trying to start understanding it. And I started loving it. So I guess that's what I was doing. I was following the direction of a director from 30-odd years ago, and I remember what he had said, and he was about to direct me in this, so I thought I'd just start that way.