Starry, Starry Nights

By Harry Haun
04 Jun 2009

Tony winners Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen spent their film breaks on Broadway in Impressionism, and it was the play (by Michael Jacobs) that made them do it. "Sometimes, you read something that's so well-written it just speaks to your own life, and that's what this play did to me," she says. "I had no intention of doing a play, but [director] Jack O'Brien asked me to read it. I did, and I was incredibly moved by it and thought 'I can't not do this play. I can't not do this character.'"

Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage is a strenuous dramatic workout that rates (and receives) four stars, three of whom (Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden) have been mostly busying themselves with big-screen fare. The fourth (James Gandolfini) became a household face with a decade on the small screen. Gandolfini would rather not go into his Tony Soprano past, preferring to say he has "moved on," and that co-star Daniels has attested to in the press. "I see the guy working the character [in God of Carnage], that's what I see," he told The Post's Barbara Hoffman. "The audience sees something else. At our first preview, the genuine love and affection poured across the footlights for him. It was like an audience waiting ten years to say, 'Thank you for that show.'"

Another who came to Broadway this season with a radical image-alteration was Daniel Radcliffe but try to tell that to his Harry Potter public who stormed the barricades nightly outside the Broadhurst where he was appearing as a deeply deranged young man in a revival of Peter Shaffer's unsettling psycho-drama, Equus.

When asked why he'd play a chap who indulges in a catalog of Potteresque no-nos nudity, smoking, watching porn, using the F-word, attempting to do the F-word and driving a spike into the eyes of six horses when he sexually short-circuits Radcliffe would get on his high-horse and respond in italics: "Because it's a great play."

And furthermore: "The thing about the Harry Potter following because it is based around books they're a really literate, smart bunch of people so there are very few Harry Potter fans out there who object to me doing this. Most of them are getting really into this, and, if I'm bringing new people to theatre, then that is a good thing."

This feature appears in the Playbill of the 2009 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7.