Frank Langella, this year’s Tony Award winner for Best Actor in a Play for The Father, has been shopping around for a new category to compete in for his next play. At 78, he has decided to get in touch with his feminine side and is ordering his roles accordingly.
“I’ve always been jealous of the great female roles,” he confesses. “When I see an actress biting into some wonderful Medea, I think, ‘Gee, I’d love to be able to do that.’ I wanted to explore that in myself. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for 20 years.
“I want it to be a full-out female—not a transgender, not a trick, not a mockup of a woman—a real woman. It’s a monster woman—not a feminine, delicate creature. I don’t think I could get away with that. I’ve gone through all of them that have been played by men. I didn’t want to do Lady Macbeth. I didn’t want to Lady Bracknell. I didn’t want to do the traditional. For a while, I thought I might try Mother Courage.”
Finally, he has found the play that would make his two-decade dream come true.
“I ran to Arthur Kopit, the playwright, in a restaurant recently, and, all of a sudden, the lights went on,” Langella recalled. “He said that he wanted to revive Oh Dad, Poor Dad and he needed to have an actress, and I said, ‘I’m your actress.’ And he went, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Send me the script.’ And I read it, and I optioned it, and we’re going to do it next year in La Jolla in the spring of 2017. If it works, we’ll bring it in.”
Kopit’s Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad bowed Off-Broadway at The Phoenix Feb. 26, 1962, and ran for 454 performances. Jo Van Fleet starred as a rich eccentric who traveled the globe, neurotic son (Austin Pendleton). Barbara Harris co-starred, and Jerome Robbins directed the comedy.