Nathan Lane Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Two-Time Tony Winner Nathan Lane Shares His Theatregoing Experiences Two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane, who will star in a one-night-only staged reading of The Man Who Came to Dinner next month to benefit the Roundabout Theatre Company, recently released a children's book entitled "Naughty Mabel," which he co-wrote with his husband Devlin Elliott. The Broadway favorite shares the performances that most affected him as part of the audience.
HR - Nathan Lane.jpg
Nathan Lane

Linda Lavin in Broadway Bound

Effortlessly funny, real and heartbreakingly moving. I will never forget how she was constantly cleaning, using a small dishrag, and after a particularly difficult phone conversation with her mother, she absent-mindedly wiped the phone with it after she hung up.
Joseph Buloff in The Price

Joseph Buloff, Celeste Holm and Ralph Riggs in <i>Oklahoma!</i>
Joseph Buloff, Celeste Holm and Ralph Riggs in Oklahoma! Vandamm Studio

Mr. Buloff was a great star of the Yiddish theater and the original Ali Hakim in Oklahoma! He played the old furniture dealer and gave a master class in comedy and acting.

Rosemary Harris in The Royal Family, directed by Ellis Rabb

Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Well, Rosemary Harris in everything, but she was particularly brilliant in what may be the greatest evening of theater I have ever had. So was Ellis Rabb as Tony, Sam Levene as The Agent, Eva Le Gallienne as Fanny Cavendish, Joseph Maher and Mary Louise Wilson. It was theatrical heaven. At the end of the second act Rosemary had this incredible speech which ended in her collapsing in the fastest pratfall I have ever seen and then leaping up realizing she would be late for her half-hour. She stopped the show.

Alan Bates in Butley

Alan Bates
Alan Bates

One of the most charismatic, hilarious and painful performances I have ever seen.

Jason Robards, Colleen Dewhurst and Ed Flanders in A Moon for the Misbegotten

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It's never been bettered.

Gregory Hines, one of the most talented men who ever lived, who gave a deservedly Tony-winning performance in Jelly's Last Jam

Gregory Hines in<i> Jelly&#39;s Last Jam</i>
Gregory Hines in Jelly's Last Jam Martha Swope

He gave another brilliant performance in a forgotten show called Comin' Uptown, a contemporary musical of A Christmas Carol in which he played Scrooge. Not a great show, but he had a number when  Scrooge wakes up a changed man that rivaled the great Alastair Sim version.

My friend Elaine Stritch in A Delicate Balance

<a href="http://www.playbillvault.com/Person/Detail/25392" target="_new">Elaine Stritch</a> in <i>A Delicate Balance</i>
Elaine Stritch in A Delicate Balance

She was never better. Not to mention Rosemary Harris and George Grizzard.

Phil Silvers in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Phil Silvers and Larry Blyden in<i> A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum</i>
Phil Silvers and Larry Blyden in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

As a publicity stunt, they had a free Fourth of July matinee. I stood on line and was literally the last person allowed in the theater. I was in standing room and got to watch the master at work. It was written for him, but he turned it down the first time. So glad I got to witness his genius live.

My friend Brian Dennehy in the Robert Falls production of Death of a Salesman

Brian Dennehy, Ted Koch and Elizabeth Franzin
Brian Dennehy, Ted Koch and Elizabeth Franz in Death Of A Salesman Eric Y. Exit

It felt like I was seeing the play for the first time. A towering performance. And Elizabeth Franz killed me as well.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the entire company of Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of <i>Hamilton</i>
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton Joan Marcus

It is a staggering achievement on Lin's part to have written this monumental piece, let alone star in it as well, but this is a collaboration where everyone involved meets him on that brilliant level — the director, the choreographer, the design and musical teams, and a thrilling company of young artists who give you hope for the future.

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