Zachary Quinto Enters the Fragile World of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie

By Harry Haun
01 Sep 2013

Quinto in The Glass Menagerie.
Photo by Michael J. Lutch

"Getting away and escaping and ultimately knowing that he needs to sacrifice his family in order to fully realize his own path—that's a very powerful notion. I think it's one that's really relatable. I think a lot of adult children can look at the ways in which that has meaning for them in one way or another. It's a very human struggle and a very human failing. It's part of what contributes to the universality of this play.

"Tennessee describes Tom as someone who is not remorseless but, to survive, must act without pity. That, for me, was a clear start for my relationship to this character. I understand that. We all have ways in which that resonates for the rest of our lives."

Quinto jump-started his career by guest-starring on numerous television series, eventually wrangling some recurring roles. He did 23 episodes on the third season of Fox's "24," and recently logged ten of the 12 installments of FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum."

For the latter, he could nab an Emmy on Sept. 22, as could his series co-stars, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson. "I was glad I got to share my excitement about The Glass Menagerie with them because they really knew what it's about. We didn't have any specific conversations, other than [talking] lovingly about Tennessee. I think we talked about how bizarre—what a small world it is—that I'm doing this [television] show with them, then heading off to do a play [that] starred them the last time it was on Broadway."

The Glass Menagerie will be Quinto's first time on Broadway; he previously made his Off-Broadway bow as the lost Louis Ironson in the 2011 revival of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. His feature-film debut was as Spock in J.J. Abrams's 2009 reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise, and recently reprised in the sequel, "Star Trek: Into Darkness." Leonard Nimoy, 82, who originated the role and had casting approval, personally picked Quinto to go where only a few men have gone before.

A little time-travel plot-twisting allowed both—Nimoy as Spock Prime and Quinto as his younger self—to go along on these screen rides. "I think we have a strong physical resemblance, which, on some level or another, had to do with my getting cast, but now my connection with Leonard is much more emotional. I have great respect for him. We're close friends. He'll be at the opening of The Glass Menagerie."

A third "Star Trek"—the 13th feature—is in the works. "I don't have any information about if or when it will happen," says Quinto. "We all signed up for three when we signed up for the first, so I imagine it'll happen sometime after The Glass Menagerie."

(This feature appears in the September 2013 issue of Playbill.)