"Don't Speak!": Tony Nominee Marin Mazzie Takes On Bullets Over Broadway's Diva Helen Sinclair

By Harry Haun
31 Mar 2014

William Ivey Long
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

William Ivey Long, the show's costumer, has apparently fallen under Helen's spell as well.

"The role is also what I wear: nothing frumpy. You see in her costumes how she manipulates. She looks like the ingénue, and the ingénue looks like the frump." True to the 1994 Woody Allen antic it's based on, this musical is a broad-stroked, brightly colored Valentine to the Roaring Twenties when mobsters muscled in on the Great White Way and, more or less, "bought shows" to give their girls a break.

It has Zach Braff, Betsy Wolfe, Brooks Ashmanskas, Karen Ziemba, Lenny Wolpe, Nick Cordero, Helena York and Vincent Pastore singing the roles that were previously played on film by John Cusack, Mary-Louise Parker, Jim Broadbent, Tracey Ullman, Jack Warden, Chazz Palminteri, Jennifer Tilly and Joe Viterelli.

The musical score is a parade of 1920s-vintage ditties, selected by Allen, Stroman, and Kelly for specific characters and situations. They range from jazz standards like Cole Porter's "Let's Misbehave," and "I've Found a New Baby," to more obscure titles like Butterbeans and Susie's "I Want a Hot Dog for My Roll" and "I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle," a duet for Mazzie and Braff. Mazzie's numbers have been selected to perfectly fit her character's fragile, fractured psyche. "These songs were deeply thought about in that respect — in fact, [they were] carefully picked for everyone." The '20s are especially up Allen's alley. "The music of that period obviously is one of his passions and something he's quite knowledgeable about."

It's not Mazzie's first time at the rodeo playing an actress. Her specialty is the stage spitfire at war with her ex: Lily Garland in a 2005 Actors Fund benefit performance of On the Twentieth Century, and a Tony-nominated Lilli Vanessi in the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate. "I don't think they were as delusional as Helen," she said. "Helen is pretty over-the-top insane. I mean, the woman drinks paint remover."