PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Glengarry Glen Ross; Hey, Who Killed the Klieg Lights?

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09 Dec 2012

John C. McGinley and Richard Schiff
Photo by Scott Landis

Among the backstage visitors was Elliot Martin, who produced the first Glengarry Glen Ross and several American Buffalo (including Pacino's and the original). He was in awe of Big Al's performance. "Oh, God, he was just incredible. I know it was an entirely different tone than what he took when he played Richard Roma. Entirely."

Zach Braff, who was there supporting his co-stars from stage (Cannavale from Trust) and small screen (John C. McGinley from "Scrubs"), was singing a similar Pacino song: "I can't believe it. His Richard Roma is burned in my brain, and now he comes up with this. A living legend! He's extraordinary. They're all extraordinary."

McGinley puts on quite a fire-and-light show of rage himself. When complimented, he quickly concurred. "I was radioactive!" he said, as he went for the stage door.

Yet another bombastic display — it goes with the territory, evidently — comes from Richard Schiff in an impressive Broadway debut. "I had a blast," said the man who actually had quite a few of them during the course of the play. It all seemed to come quite easily to this seasoned veteran of "The West Wing," and he loved the media switch: "I loved the process, working with these guys and Al. I've worked with Al before [the 2002 Jon Robin Baitz-scripted flick, "People I Know"], but never in rehearsal for five weeks and then on stage every night. It has been fantastic!"

Cannavale added, "Love it. Great play," as he rushed out into the real word. It was four more words than Pacino had for the lurking press. A throng awaited both.

As the buttoned-down office manager, David Harbour is hammered on all evening by the help. "It's sorta humiliating, I have to say," he said of his nightly hour-and-a-half on the rack. "I have to go in front of a mirror and say, 'I'm a good person' after every show."

He added, "What I like revealing about this guy is that he has a heart. I feel in this production he has some humanity to him. He's just trying to do his job the best he can, and he is surrounded and undermined by a bunch of narcissists."

His agonies begin the second the curtain rises — a Chinese restaurant scene with a pleading, pathetic Pacino trying to get some good leads from his boss. "Al likes to find new stuff all the time, and that's exactly right. It's fun, and it keeps you on your toes. It's been a great experience — Al, Bobby, everybody. It's like a rock concert."

The ever-employed Jeremy Shamos makes his mark as the easy mark that Roma tricks into a deal: "I think my character brings a different energy to the play," he beamed proudly. "A lack of testosterone is important in a play, sometimes."

Like Cannavale, Shamos has a spring date back on Broadway. "I'm doing Richard Greenberg's new play at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Assembled Parties, with the wonderful Judith Light and the wonderful Jessica Hecht." It opens April 17.

I gave up trying to find the party site and retired to my own personal Schwab's — the West Bank Café, at 42nd and 9th — where the aforementioned parties had already assembled. Owner Steve Olsen arranged the glassed-in room at the back for them.

Pacino had cased the place earlier in the week and deemed it perfect. It's the definitive hangout for the Off-Broadway crowd. Who'd expect the uptown set there?

The opening-night celebs didn't go much beyond Faye Dunaway and Joe Franklin.

Watch a press conference featuring the stars of Glengarry Glen Ross.


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