The star-studded Broadway double-header on April 18 began with a trip to the theatre district's newest orphanage — not the Municipal Girls Orphanage housed at the Palace Theatre in the revival of Annie, but the broken-down and battered home of Phillip and Treat contained inside the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in the Broadway bow of Lyle Kessler's Orphans.
"I can't wait to see Alec," said an excited (and very pregnant) Hilaria Thomas, the new wife of Orphans star Alec Baldwin, as she made her way through the red carpet on 45th Street and into the Broadway house. "I've seen [the show] three times already, and I still get excited to see it every single time. It's just incredible. I know him as a person, and then I see him do this, and I get very proud. I think when you know somebody, and they do a performance, you either cringe or you're very proud. [I'm] very proud."
All in attendance for the early Thursday-night curtain (Corey Cott, Ben Fankhauser, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth A. Davis, Melissa Errico, Sienna Miller, Winona Ryder, Richard Schiff, Debbie Harry, Gregory Jbara, a pregnant Anna Chlumsky and more) were anxious for the new three-person drama to make its Broadway debut — including the theatre's ushers. "It's a good show," said an usher from House Right of the orchestra. "It really is!"
No matter how good the show — in which two orphaned brothers (played by an engaging Tom Sturridge and a gripping Ben Foster) are seeking a sense of belonging, and a powerful businessman (Baldwin) is seeking a hideout — proved to be, the buzz from a very public exit by former cast member Shia LaBeouf had already made the production one of the most anticipated titles of the season.
Baldwin set things straight on opening night. "Let me tell you something — and I haven't had the opportunity, I don't think, to say this before — I've been fired from jobs before," he told Playbill.com at the show's after party at the swank Hell's Kitchen venue Espace. "I got fired from a movie because there was somebody they wanted to cast, and he wasn't available, and they hired me, and then the other guy became available, and they fired me — a movie many years ago that was a great opportunity for me. It's not a pleasant thing for anybody. It's not at all what we wanted to have happened — not at all. The good news is that we ended up with the people who we were meant to do the show with, and Ben has been great, and I love him."
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