On April 14 Tony Award winner Cynthia Nixon appeared on Live With Kelly to talk about the monumental task of alternating in the roles of Regina (the leading role) and Birdie (the supporting role) with three-time Tony nominee Laura Linney in Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of The Little Foxes. Nixon shared what she loves about being able to play both roles.
While she described Regina as “very powerful and ruthless and brutal,” she said Birdie is “very fragile and sweet and beaten down and has something of a drinking problem.”
“Along the feminine spectrum,” Nixon continued, “these two parts are polar opposites of what you think a woman is or can be, so it’s really fun to come and see Laura and I and the different things we do with the parts, but I think for us a lot of the enjoyment is these very disparate women can be held in one performer.
“It was Laura’s idea. Laura was already set to play Regina, and she just thought it would be great fun to switch,” said Nixon.
Of course, for those who know their Nixon history, this isn’t the first time the actor has played two roles on Broadway at the same time. Early in her career, in 1984, she played roles in Hurlyburly and The Real Thing. As she told host Kelly Ripa, she’d perform the first act of Hurlyburly, run to The Real Thing to perform in the second act, bow at The Real Thing, and return to Hurlyburly for the third act and her second bow of the night.
The Little Foxes is currently in previews and officially opens April 19.
See photos of Nixon and Linney as they alternate roles in the play by Lillian Hellman: