Boyfriend, Sister and Mom: Meet Three of Broadway's Picnickers

By Harry Haun
30 Jan 2013

Madeleine Martin in Picnic.
Photo by Joan Marcus

If Rappaport is sincere about following his famous predecessor's trajectory, he might check out the understudy rehearsals where Newman found his wife of 50 years, Joanne Woodward, understudying both Owens sisters, Madge and Millie. As the latter, the great Kim Stanley delivered (at 28) a definitive job of teenage angst.

The fact that Stanley originated the part of the brainy, bratty tomboy who's lost in the shadow of her beautiful big sister intimidates the current Millie-of-the-moment, Madeleine Martin, not a whit. In fact, "Kim Stanley gives me something to look up to."

She says, "Millie's quite a little iconoclast. She wants to be a successful New York writer, and I can identify with that: I'd like to have a successful New York career, too. And she gets to be fun, which I really enjoy. Sam Gold has been very helpful at bringing out those particular parts of the character. I just love playing characters like this."

Martin arrived on Broadway as a sister-under-the-cigarette-smoke, the 14-year-old upstart who effectively fends off her aunt's horny boyfriend in Tracy Letts' 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County. More recently, Off-Broadway, she was Mary McCann's studious, defiant daughter in Simon Stephens' Harper Regan.

"This has been my first time working with actors who are so close to my own age. Usually, everyone's in their 40s or 50s, which I love, but this has been such fun. They're a good company. I thought certain scenes would be read a certain way, but they make different choices. I've noticed they try something new every night just to keep it fresh. I'm not like that. When I find something that works, I just stay with it."