The Rains Came, and Keep Coming, for Michael Siberry

PlayBlog   The Rains Came, and Keep Coming, for Michael Siberry
"I'm right as rain," Michael Siberry is required to say in On the Levee, Marcus Gardley's "play with music" about the Biblical-dimension rains that swamped Mississippi and Louisiana in 1927 in the worst flood in U.S. history before Katrina.

The remark is ruefully ironic, coming from him and considering where he's coming from — specifically, from Andrew Bovell's recent downpour of a play at the Mitzi Newhouse, When the Rain Stops Falling. It was in a perpetual state of plunk-plunk-plunking and performed by black trench-coated actors with umbrellas. In fact, Siberry’s lengthy opening speech is terminated when a fish falls from the cloudy sky.

“Yeah, I know,” the British actor concedes, only too aware. “Everything that I do these days seems to have a raining soundtrack. It must be some kind of theme.”

In LCT3's On the Levee, which runs till July 10 at The Duke on 42nd, Siberry plays a former Southern senator and cotton-plantation owner waterlogged by the crisis.

However, he will be taking the high (and dry) ground Sept. 3 when he moves into the American Airlines Theatre, next door to The Duke. “I’m doing Mrs. Warren’s Profession at Roundabout with Cherry Jones,” he says. “I’m the reverend in it.”

Milo O’Shea was Reverend Samuel Gardner in the last Broadway go-around of that Shaw play — in 1976 with Ruth Gordon, Lynn Redgrave and Edward Herrmann.

Siberry made his Broadway bow in the title role of the 1986 revival of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and played Gratiano to Dustin Hoffman’s 1989 Merchant of Venice, Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, William Shakespeare in The Frogs and King Arthur in Spamalot.

If you think you’re seeing him more these days in New York theatre, it’s because “I live here now. I still go back and forth, but New York is kinda my base right now.”

— Harry Haun

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