DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Follies Star and Tony Award Winner Victoria Clark

By Andrew Gans
18 May 2012

Clark in Follies.
Photo by Craig Schwartz

Clark, who invests much time investigating each and every character she portrays, said she had never previously worked with Follies director Eric Schaeffer, but she had seen several of his productions at Virginia's Signature Theatre, where he is artistic director. "I would always ask, 'Where's that Eric Schaeffer? I want to meet him!'"

"I think we're really good collaborators," Clark continues. "I think he is very smart and has a great eye. He has great instincts. He was very good to me...[He didn't] pump so much information into me that I couldn't think straight. Very good instincts about how much to say and when to say it. I think we're a good team. He works very well with Jim Moore, the conductor....Eric has a big heart, and he's very, very respectful, so as the process unfolds, he's confident enough [that he] doesn't need to tell you every single little thing, so he lets you discover it in your own time. And then if I had a question, he always had a long and detailed answer, but he wouldn't provide the answer until I asked for it, which is really unusual. Most directors — they would see you struggle or they'd see a hole in your performance, and they're very quick to fill it for you, and he just waited until I asked for the information, and he always had great ideas. And, I'm still very much finding it. This period, for me, basically can amount to a preview period, so by June 10, I'll have it all sewn out," she laughs.

As for her onstage husband, Burstein, a 2012 Tony Award nominee, Clark has equal praise. "We worked together in Titanic, so I've known him for a long time. And, my son is president and founding member of 'The Aldolpho Fan Club,'" she laughs. "I've been following Danny's career very, very intensely. I think his performance in Drowsy Chaperone was the comic performance of our lifetime. I don't think that anyone's going to be able to top it — ever. I think it was just one of the most inventive, creative and fantastic things I've ever seen. And, when I direct projects here and there, Danny's always the first person I email. He's never available. I don't care! I'm going to keep hounding him until I die. I am definitely going to direct him some day — I don't care! He's just one of my all-time favorite actors... and we have a very similar working style. He likes to mix it up. He likes to change things around, so our scenes are very alive, and it's just a pleasure."

And, Burstein returns the compliment. "[Vicki] brings a whole new wonderful energy to the show and reinterprets the role in her own way that's making me discover the role in a whole new way as well. I love Bernadette more than I can ever say, but this is another valid, wonderful interpretation."

Clark, it should be noted, is equally enthusiastic about her other co-stars. "[Jan is] very, very alive and creative and generous... and Ron [is] like 'Dream Ben.' Where are you going to find a Ben that sings like that—who has the entire package? They're all ridiculous. They all deserve those Tony nominations, so I'm really going to be pulling for them."