PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder — Die! Die! My D'Ysquiths!

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18 Nov 2013

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Pinkham and Mays, the killer and the killed, again demonstrated their social manners by letting their lady cast members to have the first crack at the press.

Pinkham waited his turn and worked at not looking weary. "Yes, it's very draining," he allowed. "I used to play soccer as a kid. It's a little like playing a full soccer game. By the end of it, I'm pretty worn out — but in a way I love. It's a real blast for me. It really is. It's sort of where theatre and athletics meet. To prepare for it, I take a lot of naps, drink a lot of water and say my prayers. You go into this somewhat hermit-like existence when you do a Broadway show eight times a week. You just kinda go home at night and go to bed. It's easy to fall asleep, I'll say that much!"

It wasn't until the show went into its Broadway homestretch that Pinkham took over the lead. "It's not lost on me that there have been many actors who had their hands on this role over the course of the ten years that this has been in development, and it's certainly not lost on me that I'm the lucky one to take it across the finish line."

As the manically moving targets that Pinkham has his "sites" on, Mays has an even more strenuous, and nonstop, workout, punctuated by a colorful backstage life. "My dressers, I often say, are my true scene partners," he cracked. "I don't go to the gym. This — the theatre — is my gym. I call it The D'Ysquith Weight Loss Program.

"I must say it's such fun to vault from one character to the next in the same play. I know lots of actors like to settle down — I do, too — and spend the entire evening, and, of course, months as one character, exploring every nook and cranny of your psyche. Being constantly on the run is a great thing for the nerves. There's nothing worse for an actor than sitting back in his dressing room, waiting for that scene in Act Two. Here there are tons of scenes in Act Two and there are tons of scenes in Act One, so there's no time to reflect. It's all completely active, and then it's over."

The addition of music to the mania is quite welcoming for him. "Doing a play, there's a lot of heavy lifting involved in which you come on in Act One, Scene One and have to launch into lengthy exposition to get the audience into the world of the play. Doing a musical is like stepping aboard a magic carpet. The orchestra tunes up and launches into the overture, and, all of a sudden, you're aloft in this glorious music that carries you along and sustains you through the course of the whole evening."

This is the voice of limited musical experience speaking. Mays snagged the lead in an Encores! presentation of Of Thee I Sing (vice president Throttlebottom, the forgotten man), and a Broadway gig as Henry Higgins in Pygmalion got him the musical Higgins in My Fair Lady in summer stock at the Maine Ogunquit Playhouse. That's it. Now he's making his Broadway musical debut — perfectly cast, all the same.


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