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Talking with Broadway Star, Brian d'Arcy James

Posted: 05/29/10 10:34 AM ET

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Two-time Tony Award nominee, Brian d'Arcy was kind enough to spend a few moments out of his hectic schedule with me to discuss his latest Broadway project, Next to Normal. D'Arcy has been lighting up the stage for years and it looks like his latest role is no different.

You are a two-time Tony nominee, how does it feel?
It's always very touching and exciting to be acknowledged for the work you've done. The communal sense of participating with many others who are so gifted, many of whom you've held in high regard for a long time, is really the best feeling.


Growing up as a little boy, did you ever think you would become such a huge success in the Broadway world?
No. I knew that theater was something I always loved seeing and doing. It wasn't until I started studying theater at Northwestern University that I realized I could pursue acting as a profession.


For those who haven't seen Next to Normal, tell us what it is about and about your role?
In Next to Normal I play Dan Goodman, the father and husband in a family dealing with the challenges of living with mental illness. Ultimately, I think the play is about not only family and how people function individually in the face of challenge or overwhelming circumstances, but also the way a unit is tested as a whole. While the play on the surface does in fact address the realities of mental illness, it expands to a larger level of how we all need to address the events in our lives, good and bad, that define us as individuals. Easier said than done.


Why did you decide to revisit Next to Normal? Was it a challenge to step back into this role?
It was an easy decision made possible by the generous invitation from David Stone (the producer) and Michael Grief (the director). The timing was perfect and it worked out beautifully. It was a bit daunting to be re-inserted into such a tightly woven fabric of a family that had been created for over a period of almost 2 years. But having done it originally at Second Stage, I knew what the terrain was and how the cogs turned so I was attracted to stepping back in. Having said that, it's been extraordinary to experience the differences that have evolved in the writing (both music and book), and how that has influenced me as the character in new ways.


You previously were in Time Stands Stills. What was it like working with Laura Linney and Alicia Silverstone?
Laura and Alicia are both highly accomplished, extremely talented and extraordinarily generous women. They're serious about what they do, they are kind, they are funny and fun to be around.


Do you think you'll consider producing in the future?
I'd like to. I produced a TV pilot that I created last summer called SHINY PEOPLE about my travails in the world of corporate entertainment...industrials, as they're known in the business. It was very empowering to be the catalyst in the process of developing an idea into a reality. I enjoyed the all encompassing aspect of putting it together. It reminded me of when I was in 8th grade and was on student council and had to organize the class trips: find the best bus company, hire the right caterer to provide the lunches (usually someone's mother), collect the permission slips...it's all the same.

Are you excited about this year's Tony Awards? Will you be attending?
I am excited as Time Stands Still is nominated for best play as is Laura Linney for best leading actress in a play. I will be attending as Laura and I will be presenters for the best play category. Couldn't be more excited.

What's next for Brian d'Arcy James?
I'm in the unusual position to know what's coming next with Time Stands Still in the Fall. I am earnestly developing many different projects which will hopefully come to fruition in some form, TV and Film related. But as those wheels turn, I'm going to enjoy what's happening right now.


 

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