Laurie Metcalf, a Creature of the Stage, Returns to the Mystery of The Other Place, Now on Broadway

By Stuart Miller
18 Dec 2012

Metcalf and Zoe Perry
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Of the impressive versatility she has displayed moving between comedy and drama, contemporary and classic, she says it just happened organically, based on the scripts she was given. She does, however, find being the first to play a role in a contemporary play most exciting of all.

"But it was definitely a conscious choice to go back to theatre," she says, in part because Hollywood doesn't offer as many "complicated and deep roles" as theatre does, especially for women as they get older and in part because theatre, her "first love," is where she's best able to "attack those kind of roles."

"The process is so different in theatre; you don't have to work out of order on scenes and you have the luxury of a longer rehearsal period," she says. That was necessary with Mary Tyrone, for instance, because "it was difficult finding my path to her mental state and to figure out how to moderate the [impact] of [Mary's drug abuse]."

It won't take that long with The Other Place, which opens Jan. 10 in a production by Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, since she's already inhabited the character of Juliana Smithson (Off-Broadway, in its 2011 premiere by MCC Theater), but still, she says, "I've learned stuff in my life since then, so there's always something new I can apply."

Metcalf hopes to find even more vulnerability in this determined and intellectual character, who is so in command that she can otherwise come off as brusque, but she's confident that reuniting with director Joe Mantello while having new co-stars — in addition to her daughter, Daniel Stern has taken over the role originated by Dennis Boutsikaris Off-Broadway — to bounce ideas off.

"I'm very excited to see Laurie and Zoe work together," White says. "There are some real similarities in their speech and in their presence."

Metcalf is excited about the cast and the role but in a way she's just excited to be working again. "I don't really love being between jobs," Metcalf says. "I'm happy whenever I'm in a rehearsal room. I've always gotten all my energy and creativity in there."

And it doesn't get old no matter how many times she has to leave home for a show. "I'm grateful that my passion for it has not gone away. I've loved every minute of every hour I've spent doing theatre."

(This feature appears in the January 2013 issue of Playbill magazine. Want a home subscription? Check out