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 physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with Tony Shalhoub, a Tony winner for his performance in the Tony-winning Itamar Moses–David Yazbek musical The Band's Visit. The stage and screen star was also Tony-nominated for his work in Conversations With My Father, Golden Boy, and Act One. The latter, James Lapine's play about the life of Moss Hart for Lincoln Center Theater, is now streaming through July 3 as part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' new Broadway Fridays series, featuring free digital streams of past Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts. Shalhoub, who has also been seen on Broadway in The Price, Lend Me a Tenor, The Heidi Chronicles, and The Odd Couple, is the recipient of four Emmy Awards for his performances in Monk and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
What is your typical day like now?
Well, it seems there are no typical days any longer. The challenge now for each of us is to learn how to let go of our outmoded habits and patterns of thinking—and open ourselves to the inevitable and long overdue changes taking place.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I just finished a brilliant and compelling novel by Jan Eliasberg titled Hannah’s War. It’s a book of historical fiction based on an extraordinary female nuclear physicist prior to—and during—WWII.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
My only advice would be: surprise yourself! Try pursuing something you’ve secretly always dreamed of doing—but were either too busy or too afraid to attempt. Learning a language (there are a million online programs), or taking up an instrument, or drawing/painting, writing, cooking, three-dimensional chess, whatever! Go crazy... so as not to go crazy.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
I’ve been lucky to have been given the chance to do a couple of Zoom play readings... And... some friends and I have been writing monologues for each other, then recording and sharing them with each other.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
Right now I’m prepping to do an Audible recording of a new play by Daniel Goldfarb called Men’s Health.
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
The organization I would most want folks to check out at this time is Union of Minority Neighborhoods... and specifically, their program targeting the November election called "Black Ballot Power.” They do great work. Please visit UnionofMinorityNeighborhoods.org and give generously.