THE LEADING MEN: Joshua Henry and Colin Donnell Test "The Luck of the Draw" in Broadway Premiere of Violet

By Carey Purcell
14 Apr 2014

Colin Donnell
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Donnell, who plays the womanizing soldier Monty, shed some insight into his own character, saying, "Monty's got his own thing going on, certainly. But I think one of the things that's interesting for me to play is that when you start to scratch the surface, when Violet especially starts to scratch the surface with him, he starts to find a lot of things that are maybe not as fulfilling in his life as he thought they were."

Monty meets Violet while traveling with Flick, a self-assured African-American soldier traveling in the South in the 1960s, who performs one of the score's most well-known songs, "Let It Sing." Returning to the role of Flick after the 2013 City Center concert, Henry said he is excited to explore the character further.

"We're really getting to dig really deep to the bones of these characters, what makes them tick," Henry said. "And Leigh is amazing, asking these really hard questions to find out why. Why does he sing 'Let It Sing?' Where are they in their journey at each moment?"

Flick's confidence, which Henry said is expressed through "Let It Sing," compares drastically to Violet's insecurities about the scar on her face that she believes defines her as ugly. Physical beauty and how it restricts Violet is another aspect of the play that both Donnell and Henry enjoy exploring.

"I love the idea of challenging what the standards is," Henry said. I think we're starting to see in Hollywood, a lot of people take stands. People like Jennifer Lawrence, who are like, 'Look, I don't have to fit this mold.' That's Hollywood. And here we're telling this story on Broadway. It's very relevant."

Donnell mentioned watching the Academy Awards, adding, "You see the red carpet news and the breakdown the next day of everything... it is the way it is. We're all interested in what people look like and the way people carry themselves, especially celebrities — but it really is what's going on inside that counts. I think [Violet]'s a great story for that.

"More than ever, when you look at a magazine, when you look at television, Twitter, Instagram... we're such an image obsessed culture," he added. "For better or worse, mostly for the worse, I think people would agree, and when you start telling a story that focuses so much on inner beauty, it becomes a really beautiful story to tell. And, I think that hopefully we start a discussion and we would love to move people. We would love people to get involved in the fun of the score and how beautiful the score is, but at the end of the day, it's a really powerful thing to tell something that hopefully can have an impact."

(Carey Purcell is the Features Editor of Her work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillCarey.)

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Sutton Foster
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