The new revival of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, directed by Michael Mayer, officially opens April 16. But the cast celebrated a night early, greeting the press April 15 to talk about the heated exchanges happening nightly on the stage of the Hudson Theatre.
The play stars Keri Russell as Anna—a dancer and aspiring choreographer dating a successful screenwriter, Burton—who lives with her two roommates Larry and Robbie. When Robbie, her friend and muse, is killed in a freak accident, his brother Pale barrels into her life as they all figure out how to grieve.
As Anna, Russell gets to find her stage chemistry with three leading men in three very different relationships. That’s her favorite part of the show—which marks her Broadway debut. “That's what's so fun about this play. That’s what Lanford created so well. That idea of your chosen family and Anna, and I think people who live in really big cities have that,” Russell said “There’s a New Year’s Eve scene and she has the boyfriend and she has her best friend and that's home to her, that's all she needs, all she thinks she needs until this animal of a force comes into her life."
Russell also relishes working with her friend Adam Driver, who plays Pale: “Working with Adam is just fun, because it's present every time and it's different every night.”
Driver made his Broadway debut in 2010 and returns to the stage for the first time since his star has risen with Girls, Star Wars, and an Oscar nomination for BlacKkKlansman. “The idea of not being able to articulate grief was something that I thought was obvious to me about what I understood about him," he says of Pale.
But Driver also confessed that he’s found a secondary message in the play. (Watch the full video above.)
Russell and Driver are joined by two-time Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz as Larry and Tony nominee David Furr as Burton. Uranowitz confesses that Larry may be the character he’s played that resonates most with who he is. “It's a very liberating thing to do,” he said. “I always feel like all of the characters that I play all come from me, obviously, it's just about digging deep into my existence and my humanity to find whoever these characters are. Larry exists closer to the surface for me.”
As for Furr, Burn This is a far cry from his previous Broadway credits which range from King Lear to Noises Off. “That’s one reason I really wanted to do it because so much of what I've done in New York City is high British comedy or style or Shakespeare,” he said. “I think it's been since I took over in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? back in 2005 that I've just gotten to sit around and talk to people, and this is one of the reasons I wanted to do this play.”
Watch the full interviews from the opening celebration above. Follow Playbill on Facebook to watch all of our live from the red carpet specials each opening night on Broadway.