BWW Interviews: Denver Center's Mike Hartman and Lauren Klein on Happiness, Marriage, and Death (of a Salesman)...
Mike and Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me and Broadwayworld.com. Are you based in Denver, or where do you consider home?
M: We have an apartment in New York City. I work here a lot.
L: And I work here when they hire me (laughs).
Which it's great that we're utilizing you more because you're so wonderful onstage.
L: Oh, thank you very much.
Absolutely. So do you have a company you work with in New York more?
L: No, I just take jobs...sometimes I audition, still. And sometimes they hire me. And at this time in both Mike and my careers, a lot of the work that comes, comes because of people that we know or getting a call or something like that. But I rely heavily, still, on auditions and meeting new people and doing new projects that way. Mike is much more solid and secure. I think we would say...
M: Solid and secure?
L: I think you solidified, let's say, to use a phrase from the play.
M: I'm a member of the company here.
How long have you been a member?
M: I think I've been a member now 14 seasons...I've done over 50 plays here, and they keep asking me back. What can I say?
Well, for good reason.
M: Thank you.
I want to talk about Other Desert Cities. I noticed that there was a comfortability onstage when you were performing in Other Desert Cities that made me ponder "Is there something going on there?". So do you enjoy getting cast together?
M: Yeah, we've done it ...this is our 8th or 9th play together. We met doing a play at the Cleveland Playhouse around 2000/1999.
What play was it?
M: It was Last Night in Ballyhoo.
L: We were not cast as a couple that time. We were brother-in-law and sister-in-law. But we added a little extra dimension to the relationship.
M: We blushed when we saw each other.
That's so funny. So I have to ask. I added in my review of Other Desert Cities the relationship to the bombings in Boston because I felt it was important and it tied in with the pertinence of the play. So how was that, especially since you were doing the run during that event. How did that affect you?
L: For me, it made it very immediate. It really brought it right up to the very top, the front, and I knew when we were doing those monologues at the end - I don't want to give it away to anyone that hasn't seen it and might still be seeing the play - it made it very pertinent and very clear that the issues involved in the play never go away. I thought that was really interesting when that happened. As it is any time that you're doing a play that is about big issues and then something happens in real life while you're working on it, or while it's being performed, that reverberate and it just shows how really what we do in theatre is not irrelevant. It's extremely relevant and very topical and very live.