Tony winner Reed Birney is tapped to star in a new film about the theatre world—currently in pre-production—from writer and director Robert Gomes and producer Dustin Shroff. Titled Standby, Birney will play a dispirited middle-aged actor working as the understudy for an Off-Broadway show.
Standby is inspired by Gomes' own experiences as a standby on and Off-Broadway. Facing financial woes and questioning his art, the character of Jerry (Birney) spends the day in rehearsal with his bored and uninspired fellow understudies—until his love for his art is reawakened with a jolt.
The film, which has Tony-winning producer Daryl Roth on board, will also star two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole, who will play leading lady Glenna; Obie winner Saidah Arrika Ekulona, who will play the stage manager; and Broadway veteran Pat Nesbit, who will play a fellow understudy. Broadway designer Rob Odorisio (The Sisters Rosenzweig, The Who's Tommy) is tapped to do the production design.
"My hope is to make a visually striking and heartfelt film about living a creative life," says director Gomes. "About holding onto hope, sometimes by a thread, about the possibility of rebirth through creativity and art, and with that, a recommitment to life. Every play, every musical you see has a team of hard-working standbys sitting backstage… Standby is my tribute to those unsung actors—my valentine to the theater."
A crowdfunding campaign for Standby is now live on SeedandSpark.com. Incentives include a chance to see Ebersole in concert, a walk-on role in the film, and visit to the set.