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Manhattan Theatre Club, which could in good conscience trot out the slogan "Preserving the Best of Off-Broadway — on Broadway" after packing the Friedman with uptown stagings like Wit, Venus in Fur and Collected Stories, continues the trend with The Other Place, and Metcalf is a very willing accomplice. "I wanted more audience members to see the play," she said with a very believable altruism.
Of course, this reprise gives her a good shot at awards (like, say, the Tony) that she didn't pick off her first time around. The performance won her an Obie Award as well as nominations for a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award.
And how did she spend her summer vacation, resting up between Juliana meltdowns? Disney World, perhaps? Hardly. She went to London to play the unhinged Mary Tyrone, opposite David Suchet, in Long Day's Journey Into Night.
"They're all parts I just can't pass up," she shrugged helplessly. And no, a little Tyrone didn't creep into this performance. "I don't think I can find any overlap."
One of the perks of this particular reprise is the chance to play scenes with Perry, who, from certain angles when the light is right, looks like she could be Metcalf's daughter. In point of fact, she is Metcalf's daughter. "We acted together a long time ago, in Chicago, when she was 15. It was play by Justin Tanner called Pot Mom." It was staged at Steppenwolf where Metcalf's then-husband, Jeff Perry, is a co-founder. Most recently, he appeared Off-Broadway as the father in Tribes.
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So what is it like having to share the stage with your mom at the same time you're trying to make your Broadway debut? "Really wonderful," Perry shot back succinctly. "I knew, going into this, what a beautiful performance she had crafted and what Joe Mantello had created the first time around and what Danny would bring to the play, so I thought it was just a really fun, freeing kind of experience."
Stern, an old kid of 55 who is only now getting around to his Broadway debut, is a bit of a shock to find in such a heavy-duty dramatic role. "They saw 'Home Alone 2,' and said, 'Yeah, that's the guy I want,'" he jested. "I've done dramas before, believe it or not — when I was a kid doing theatre here. I lived here for about 12 years and did some really great dramatic parts — True West, for instance. Then, that comedy thing sorta took over in the movies, so it's fun for me to get back to all of that. I'm really not that funny or silly in my real life. Joe Mantello knows who I am. He called me to do the play. Then, I read it, and I was so flattered he thought of me. He knows I'm not funny and silly all the time, so it's good to get to show off this side of me."
His role of Metcalf's long-suffering husband resembles Jim Broadbent's truly supporting and Oscar-winning performance, opposite Judi Dench's "Iris." "I'll try to catch it — I may steal some stuff from him," he cracked. Then, seriously: "I love this part. It's an important part in that he keeps on witnessing this loss. Between her and the production, you really get inside what that fracturing mind feels like. The other thing that happens with this disease is what it does to the people left standing."
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