On April 1, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert welcomed one of Broadway’s most beloved performers, Nathan Lane.
Lane returns to Broadway this season—after winning a Tony last year for Angels in America—with Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. Written by MacArthur Genius recipient Taylor Mac, who uses the preferred pronoun Judy, Gary is currently in previews at the Booth Theatre—starring Lane, Kristine Nielsen, and Julie White—and picks up where The Bard’s Titus Andronicus left off.
“It was Shakespeare's first tragedy and it's famous for being over-the-top, bloody, gory, violent, and in fact seemingly a parody of the Jacobian revenge tragedies,” Lane explained.
“Taylor seems to feel we're living through a revenge comedy right now, so the premise is that [Judy's] taken these three minor characters from Titus the clown, the maid, and the midwife and [Judy]'s named them Gary, Janice, and Carol and they're starring in this so-called sequel,” he continued. “Gary and Janice are assigned the job of cleaning up the aftermath of the Titus Andronicus [mess]. She and I are in a room filled with hundreds and hundreds of dead bodies. The question Taylor is posing is, ‘Why do we always have to clean up the messes that people in power make, and by cleaning them up are we enabling them and enabling history to repeat itself?‘”
The play marks Mac’s Broadway debut and demonstrates his desire to ask tough questions: “The bigger question is, ‘What is the role of the artist in all of this? Can we take all the bad and turn it into something good or in Gary can we take the tragedy and turn it into comedy?'”
Speaking of Broadway debuts, Lane recalled The New Yorker's Brendan Gill raking him over the coals in print for Lane's performance in Present Laughter with George C. Scott: “Then I met him at an American Theater Wing seminar and he told me he was a big fan.”
Gary is currently in previews at Broadway’s Booth Theatre with an official opening scheduled for April 21.