Tony Nominee Q&A with Douglas Carter Beane

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Nominated for Best Play for The Little Dog Laughed, and certainly hard at work on Xanadu, Playwright  Douglas Carter Beane is also the author of As Bees in Honey Drown, The Country Club, Music From a Sparkling Planet, Advice From a Caterpillar, White Lies and Devil May Care and Old Money. Director Christopher Ashley has directed All Shook Up, The Smell of the Kill, Voices in the Dark, Princesses, As Thousands Cheers, The Country Club, Rude Entertainment, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Jeffrey, Blown Sideways Through Life, Fires in the Mirror, Bunny Bunny and Das Barbecu.

Congratulations! How great was it to get the news about your nomination?

Amazing… Yesterday I got up and looked at my partner and our child, and we watched the nominations which were great and then I went off to rehearsals for Xanadu and Jerry Fallwell dropped dead. It was like perfect day! A career, a family and no oppressor! What a great day. I wish every day was Tony Nomination day! Lewis my partner said "go wake up poppy, he's a Tony nominee for the next 4 weeks and then it's over!"

How is Xanadu going?

Xanadu is going great, I just literally came from rehearsal, with 62 mirror balls dropping down on the "du" of Xanadu" – it was a gorgeous site.

Are rehearsals going well?

It's going great, but I am in a weird place now. In the rehearsal space we have seating on stage and we needed to play around with that, so we brought college kids to sit in on rehearsal and I got a real thrill out of that. Real energy and people really having a good time, and that was a comforting feeling because you do wonder around the 3rd week – am I the only one that's getting this? So it was great to see.

The show certainly has a great cast as well…

Marry and Jackie and Kerry, everyone's so great. They keep getting more and more to do because they're so hilarious. I wanted to encourage that vibe. I liked that always in Cinderella with those kinds of characters, where their ability is being these great character actors and we've given them moments on stage where it's just the two of them holding court there. There's this wonderful vibe of two actresses who dedicated their life to the theatre, and know exactly what it is to hold an audience in the palm of their hands and you just let them go.

So you've got the nomination for Little Dog Laughed, and Xanadu heading to Broadway, what's next?

I've got a new play which Scott Ellis is directing, which I wish I could tell you the title of, but I haven't decided on one yet. I've been switching back and forth between two titles, but one is too long, and the other is too bland so I'm hoping that a third one will come along. I'm actually showing it to my writer friends asking them – what would you name this? Scott Ellis is directing that now.

Next season, I'm doing a Broadway version of The Band Wagon which is another favorite of mine, and similar to Xanadu it involes conjuring these characters up and putting in the songs and music. I'm so lucky that Betty, before she passed, was nice enough to give me the notes for unused scenes from the movie and there's little bits of romance and some great moments for the Fred Astaire character and you can play with things like flashbacks and other devices to develop the relationship. Plus, the music is great.

After that I think I'm done for a while with finding situations for songs and next will have to be an original. I did an original last year, but it's like a different muscle to work and I don't want to look too steroidy on the jukebox muscle. It's still a lot of work. Right now though, I'm all about Xanadu and having a ball!

Photo by Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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