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Victoria Clark -- Mrs. Beane
Victoria Clark and Bill Buell in the opening scene of Titanic
Victoria Clark and Bill Buell in the opening scene of Titanic Photo by Production photo credit: Joan Marcus

Victoria Clark -- Mrs. Beane

Titanic's Victoria Clark has certainly seen her share of major musical revivals (Guys And Dolls, How To Succeed In Business) and Broadway tours Cats, Les Miz, but how is she managing in a brand new musical being readied for Broadway, on Broadway?

"Our stage manager, Susan Green, has done a fantastic job. She's been calm and very relaxed and kept us all sane through the process." Clark was relieved to hear that the show is now officially frozen. "We're still getting notes, but the final curtain call went in yesterday (April 17) and a couple of little changes were made in the final scenes."

Clark, who was spunky, wisecracking Smitty in Succeed, plays Alice Beane, a passenger traveling with her husband, Edgar (Bill Buell). "They're from Indianapolis," Clark told Playbill On-Line, "so they're a way into the story for an American audience. She's in second class but would prefer to travel first class. They do get to see the VIPs. In fact, I introduce all the millionaires to the audience."

"It's a fantastic role," said Clark, "and they added a song, "I Have Danced," at the end of the first act, for Bill [Buell] and me." Asked about the show's huge technical demands, Clark said, "The set is very Jules Verne-ish, with a lot left to the audience's imagination. The sinking is done more event-by-event in the lives of the characters than as one big crash." Clark's 2 1/2-year old son, Thomas Luke Guest, will not be at the opening night, even though "he's sort of the mascot of the company. He knows all the characters and the actors." Clark's husband, Ken, will be there on the big night.

"I just try to get as much rest as possible," said Clark of her preparations for April 23. "I don't have an opening night ritual, my life's too hectic for that. There's this frantic, craziness feeling that comes over you. But it's still easier than in the old days, when the opening nights were for critics. Now the pressure's off because most of the major papers have come and gone. It's more relaxed, more of a party for invited friends. I do say thank you prayers for the blessing of being able to work."

--By David Lefkowitz

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