In It's Only a Play, according to producers Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman and Ken Davenport, "it's opening night of Peter Austin's (Broderick) new play as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his best friend, a television star (Lane), his fledgling producer (Mullally), his erratic leading lady (Channing), his wunderkind director (Grint), an infamous drama critic, and a wide-eyed coat check attendant on his first night in Manhattan. It’s alternately raucous, ridiculous and tender — reminding audiences why there’s no business like show business. Thank God!"
F. Murray Abraham, who plays Ira Drew, the critic:
I can't imagine not acting… I'd probably direct. I really love the theatre. I just simply… I'm in love with it! I'm a fool. What can I tell you?
Matthew Broderick, who plays Peter Austin, the playwright:
Oh, that's a good question. In high school, I always liked the backstage stuff. I liked lighting and things like that, so I would probably be involved in that… God, I don't know what I would do, but I'd like to be a part of the behind-the-scenes people at the theatre — probably more than a director or even an actor. If I could, I would be perfectly happy to stay in the booth.
Stockard Channing, who plays Virginia Noyes, the star:
I don't think I have any talent for any… Except what I do. When I was younger, I tried to give [acting] up and do something, and it didn't work, so here I am!
Rupert Grint, who plays Frank Finger, the director:
I think I'd like to design sets! I think that'd be fun or maybe lighting… Yeah, I don't know. Director would be fun as well, but it's such a thrill being on an actual stage for an audience. I love it.
Micah Stock, who plays Gus P. Head, a waiter and aspiring actor:
I like to say that I was a stage manager in another life because I think I'm borderline OCD, and I think a great stage manager is one of the most underrated positions in the theatre, and we happen to have an incredible stage management team [at It's Only a Play].
Terrence McNally, the playwright:
Not a director — that I know I wouldn't want to do. I don't think I'd want to be an actor. I think maybe a set designer. No, I know what I'd like to be… A producer! Bring people together, read a script and say, "That'd be a great play for Jack O'Brien to direct, and Nathan Lane would be good in it and Stockard Channing" — match people up. A good producer — I know they have to raise the money, that's the side I might not be so good at… But bringing people together, I think I'd be good at…because without the right cast and director, a new play is doomed. I don't think you can have a success with the wrong director and wrong cast for your play, unless you're very lucky and get a second production two or three years later!