Tony Award Winner Joanna Gleason in Boston for World Premiere of Karam Play
Joanna Gleason originates role in World Premiere of Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet, directed by Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter DuBois at the Wimberly Theatre at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts through May 1, 2011 www.huntingtontheatre.org
Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason is undeniably a Broadway luminary, as evidenced by the three word qualifier placed before her name for her Best Actress performance as the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods in 1987, as well as receiving acclaim for I Love My Wife, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Having moved from California back to the east coast for the latter in 2005, Gleason and husband actor Chris Sarandon now reside in Connecticut which makes doing a show in Boston far more realistic. The actress joins the ensemble of Sons of the Prophet, the new play by Stephen Karam. We met one night after rehearsal for this interview.
BWW: Have you done anything at the Huntington Theatre Company before?
JG: Never. It's quite simply one of the most beautiful plants I've ever worked in, one of the most beautiful theaters and rehearsal spaces and all of that.
BWW: Tell me how you got involved with Sons of the Prophet.
JG: How did I get involved? A year ago, I got a call from my agent, would I like to do a reading - one day's involvement - and I read it and I thought, yeah - I get a million of these offers.
BWW: Had you heard of (Stephen) Karam before?
JG: I had seen Speech & Debate and loved it, and I had heard of Peter DuBois. He had directed something that was a very big hit in New York, Becky Shaw (Note: produced at HTC in April, 2010), and I said, well, these are two names I can trust and I read the piece and I thought this is delicious and I said yes. Also, I was very blue at the time, I was kind of thinking I don't know what opportunities more I will have to do in the theater because the climate has changed and the kind of things that are being done has changed. And also, I'm aging out of a certain, you know...
BWW: Well, you're not going to be asked to do Spiderman, but clearly when you see someone like Vanessa Redgrave (Driving Miss Daisy)...
JG: Yes! Things that you sort of wait around long enough, then you'll do the Jessica Tandy .... So, somewhere between Scoundrels and Miss Daisy, I start to wonder what are the roles and what are my opportunities going to be for doing live theatre. And then this sort of just went "plunk," you know, right when I needed it. I have other projects, I'm a writer, so I have two projects very exciting going on, but that actor thing, that pilot light hadn't really gone out. And you just think...and then this came and I said I want to do this reading and the reading was quite successful. On the basis of that, the Roundabout got excited about it.