As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with Obie Award winner Darius de Haas, who has been seen on Broadway in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Rent, Carousel, Marie Christine, The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm, and Shuffle Along. His other theatrical credits include Children of Eden, an Obie-winning performance in Running Man, the first national tour of Once On This Island, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, and more. His recent TV credits include Dietland and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, while recordings include Quiet Please (Bridge Records), Day Dream: Variations on Strayhorn (PS Classics), and Ice On The Hudson. De Haas serves on the International Board of Directors for Covenant House serving homeless youth throughout the U.S. and South America.
What is your typical day like now?
I basically get up between 7:45 and 8 AM and walk my dog (if my husband Kyle, who rises much earlier to work from home, hasn't done it already). I go have my coffee and check the news briefly to see whatever has developed. I’ve generally set aside 10-11 AM for exercise time. Take a shower after, I eat, and then tackle whatever is on my agenda for the day, which, considering the time and profession we’re in, can vary. But at present I’ve been doing video/recordings for organizations I support (Covenant House, etc.). I also make sure I check in on my parents (currently at the Actors Fund Home—shout out to the wonderful staff there who are working so hard in the face of this horrible virus), Marco Polo’ing and FaceTiming with my sister and friends. I generally start prepping dinner around 5. I’m the cook of the household (which can have varying results). We sit down to eat generally between 6 and 7 PM. We unwind with the TV generally after that—thank God for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, and good old network TV.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I just got through reading The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America. I love reading more and more about specific periods in this country’s history and seeing the cyclical nature of how we as a nation have dealt with different issues—be it race, politics, equal rights, or what have you. I think everyone has to just allow themselves the time to find what they’re drawn to. I’ve also been loving Westworld, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sex Education, and looking forward to watching the next season of Killing Eve, among other things.
We’re all in this together. At different levels—but we’re all in it.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
I would say, I hear you. This time has been awful and challenging, and for most people who it's within their nature to connect in person, this is crazy. But I’ve been saying to people as of late, it's also an opportunity to re-assess and contemplate things we would normally say, “Oh, I’ll just get around to that later...” I know for me it's been a real challenge in terms of letting go of things and behaviors that are no longer useful or that are detrimental. Also, because we’ve been in isolation like this, I find myself appreciating things like nature and people much more. I’m very thankful for my husband, my sister, family, and good friends. I think also calling people and having planned “events” are good. I’ve been doing a weekly Zoom chat trivia game hour with a lot of the crew and cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (for those who don’t know, I supplied the singing voice of the character Shy Baldwin), and that has been good for my spirits. I’ve also been working on my family ancestry here and there. But I swing between feeling despondent and depressed to, “OK, how do I engage today?” We’re all in this together. At different levels—but we’re all in it.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
It varies. I naturally sing pretty much everyday. I do it unconsciously at times, but that is my “foundation,” I guess. I am extremely lucky in that I can call on certain talented friends who I had projects in the works with and brainstorm with them about next steps once we’re able to reconvene. Thankfully, a couple of people reached out and have asked me to speak to their classes or specific audiences about singing, theatre, my process, etc., and that works a different side of my brain, and I love to talk to students and arts enthusiasts!
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I was scheduled to be at the Delacorte this summer doing As You Like It, which I was really looking forward to. Sadly, it had to be canceled. I hope we still do it. We could really use this particular version of that show in this time. I was looking forward to doing one more Maisel-related event, but that was canceled, too. I will be doing an event for Covenant House on May 18 called A Night of Covenant House Stars, which will be streaming on Facebook Live and Twitch. I really hope people tune in, as our young people who are residents at Covenant Houses across the country and in Latin America could use all the help and financial support they can get. I know it's a lot to ask as we all are struggling, but I hope people can find a way to give. And for Mrs. Maisel fans, the Season 3 soundtrack is being released on CD and vinyl in May and June, respectively.