No Puppets, Please: Steven Boyer on Playing the Fool to John Lithgow's Madness in Central Park King Lear

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02 Aug 2014

Steven Boyer
Steven Boyer
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Playbill.com catches up with Steven Boyer, playing the Fool to John Lithgow's King Lear in the familial tragedy playing Central Park's Delacorte Theater. 

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In 30 years of reporting on the theatre, I’ve heard my share of casting stories. By that of Steven Boyer — who is currently following up his success in the Off-Broadway play Hand to God by playing the Fool in King Lear at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater — may be the most dramatic.

“I saw they were doing King Lear in the park,” told the actor, “and I thought to myself, ‘Oh, I would love to play to the Fool in that. Don’t know how that’s going to happen.’ Hand to God ended its run, I left the country and got married in Jamaica. Coming back, I was in a cab on the way from the airport, talking to my agent. He said, ‘We got you a wedding present when you were gone. You are going to be the Fool in King Lear.”

Hollywood couldn’t have plotted it any better.

With his wish fulfilled, Boyer had only one fear entering the rehearsal process.

“What if I show up and they’re like, ‘You’re great and everything, but we really wanted Tyrone to play the Fool. Where is he?’”

Tyrone is the ferocious Id of a sock puppet that took over Boyer’s Christian-soldier character in Robert Askins’ satiric comedy Hand to God. The play, which began life at the Ensemble Studio Theatre and then moved to MCC Theatre this past spring, won Boyer the best reviews of his career and a couple of awards to boot.

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