Theatre World Award Winner Andrea Riseborough Rises to the Occasion

PlayBlog   Theatre World Award Winner Andrea Riseborough Rises to the Occasion
Since Andrea Riseborough had receded back into the world from which she came — British cinema — the Theatre World Award for her New York bow in Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride was collected by Robert LuPone, the Manhattan Class Company co-founder who hired her and then developed serious second thoughts.

Director Joe Mantello felt that the play — a contrasting look at English homosexual life in 1958 and 2008 — needed an all-British cast. To that end, LuPone and Bernard Telsey went into nine months of negotiations with Actors' Equity to get the Brits.

"Equity was very supportive, and Joe was right," LuPone recalled at the Theatre World Awards ceremony at Studio 54 earlier this month. "We found that out the very first rehearsal with four wonderful actors, Andrea being one of them. The day before we were to have the meet 'n' greet, Bernie and I get a call. 'It's not too serious. Just be prepared. Andrea hurt herself.' That's all we got. So we go in at ten o'clock the next day with our 'Hello, everyone. Welcome to the show.' Andrea was sitting at the table with crutches, and she was walking with a huge limp. We found out that, earlier in the day, she had fractured her hip in two places."

LuPone admitted he panicked and immediately started thinking of replacing her. "With four weeks of rehearsals, we're going in front of an audience. Now I, being the ex-dancer that I was, said, 'There's no way that hip's going to heal in four weeks.'"

After some desperate rethinking, "we decided to keep the actress and went into rehearsal with her. The cast bonded around her, and she did four weeks of rehearsal in crutches. When we get to the first preview, she's still on crutches — much better but she's still on crutches. When it's her turn, she goes on stage, does her work — without crutches but with a limp. And the limp proceeds through two weeks of previews, and, as we fast approach opening night, there goes the limp, there goes the crutches, and the performance was awesome. She was absolutely magnificent."

— Harry Haun

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