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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance

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NameGreg
Understudy
joined:12/27/20
Understudy | Joined: 12/27/20
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#1
Posted: 1/6/21 at 7:21pm
Given Nathan Lane is widely seen as one of the theatres all time greats, what would you point to as his best performance?

My choice would have to be Angels in America. He dove headfirst into that role and the results were frighteningly magnificent.
“Somebody stop me before I sing again” - Bazzard
JGPR2
Understudy
joined:2/18/17
Understudy | Joined: 2/18/17
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#2
Posted: 1/6/21 at 7:28pm

I only saw him in "Guys And Dolls" and "The Producers and he was wonderful in both shows but I would give slight edge to "The Producers".

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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
Broadway Legend | Joined: 7/20/13
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#3
Posted: 1/6/21 at 7:37pm

His Roy Cohn was absolutely brilliant. He was astounding in the role and his Tony was well deserved. I love listening to the audio book of that show. 

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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 10/9/05
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#4
Posted: 1/6/21 at 7:47pm
Ever? “The Birdcage”.
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JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend | Joined: 4/6/12
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#5
Posted: 1/6/21 at 8:48pm

Comedically, it's gotta be "The Producers." As for his more recent dramatic work...I would've said "The Iceman Cometh" except that his otherwise-fantastic performance devolved into mindless screaming in Act 4, which was such a disappointment. So I'd probably go with Angels as well. 

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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
Broadway Legend | Joined: 2/27/06
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#6
Posted: 1/6/21 at 10:00pm

 

 

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DramaTeach
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joined:3/17/13
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#7
Posted: 1/6/21 at 10:18pm
Nathan Detroit. Period.
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Wee Thomas2
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joined:2/28/12
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#8
Posted: 1/7/21 at 8:50am

Definitely NOT Gary

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Smaxie
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joined:9/26/05
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#9
Posted: 1/7/21 at 8:56am

Far and away - The Lisbon Traviata,

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
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PutonyourWarPaint
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joined:8/14/19
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#10
Posted: 1/7/21 at 11:19am

Hand in a toilet, Difficult People 

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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#11
Posted: 1/7/21 at 12:13pm

 

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jv92
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joined:11/4/05
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#12
Posted: 1/7/21 at 2:16pm

The press clips of that stunning “happy endings in musicals” alone leads me to believe that, historically, it probably was LOVE! VALOR! COMPASSION!, but of the ones I’ve seen, THE NANCE. 

BTW, he was excellent in GARY, which is a worthy play I’m glad was seen on Broadway. What Lane does really well is turning emotion on a dime— going from funny to suddenly devastatingly sad. There was a moment in THE NANCE where he did that, and he did that in the LVC monologue, too. 
 

 

NJGUY
Understudy
joined:10/31/11
Understudy | Joined: 10/31/11
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#13
Posted: 1/7/21 at 3:19pm

Having seen him about 11-12 times on Broadway/Off-Broadway, I would say Angels in America for dramatic acting and The Producers for musical comedy.  Yet I enjoyed Gary; for me, just to watch him perform on stage is a treat,

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castlestreet
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joined:7/2/10
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#14
Posted: 1/7/21 at 5:13pm
His performance in Love! Valor! Compassion! for me ranks as his greatest stage role ever. He was equally funny and heartbreaking in a role that was written for him. To this day his major monologue brings tears to my eyes.

I also believe his screen role as Albert in The Birdcage is a triumph. There are so many moments in that movie where he alone finds the heart of the piece-my favorite being right after he discovers that it is in fact Val who is home, and goes into his room to check on him - pure quiet brilliance. He obviously nails the comedy and it was casting genius to have Williams play the more subdued of the two leads because everyone at that point was used to his over the top performances. Lane again is equally funny as he is poignant and the movie for all of its many laughs has real heart - mostly due to his very touching performance.
Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#15
Posted: 1/7/21 at 6:17pm

On stage, I have seen Lane in A Funny Thing, Guys and Dolls, The Producers, It's Only a Play, Butley, The Front Page, The Nance, November, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Odd Couple, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Love Valor Compassion, and Gary. Even given that I HATED Gary, I have never seen him give a lee-than-wonderful performance,

 

I did not see the  Angels in America revival, nor was I able to see Waiting for Godot, as neither worked with my out-of-towner calendar.

 

With that background, the decision is very easy for me.  I think Lane gave the greatest musical performance I have ever seen by a actor, with Christopher Plummer in Cyrano being second.  I know that people like to diss The Producers now, but they need to remember that they are dissing it because they feel it is not as good as they thought because Nathan Lane left.

My second favorite Lane performance: The Nance or The Man Who Came to Dinner, two wildly different roles.

Jarethan
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joined:2/10/11
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#16
Posted: 1/7/21 at 6:19pm

On stage, I have seen Lane in A Funny Thing, Guys and Dolls, The Producers, It's Only a Play, Butley, The Front Page, The Nance, November, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Odd Couple, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Love Valor Compassion, and Gary. Even given that I HATED Gary, I have never seen him give a lee-than-wonderful performance,

 

I did not see the  Angels in America revival, nor was I able to see Waiting for Godot, as neither worked with my out-of-towner calendar.

 

With that background, the decision is very easy for me.  I think Lane gave the greatest musical performance I have ever seen by a actor, with Christopher Plummer in Cyrano being second.  I know that people like to diss The Producers now, but they need to remember that they are dissing it because they feel it is not as good as they thought because Nathan Lane left.

My second favorite Lane performance: The Nance or The Man Who Came to Dinner, two wildly different roles.

brian1973
Leading Actor
joined:2/1/14
Leading Actor | Joined: 2/1/14
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#17
Posted: 1/8/21 at 10:05am
He’s pretty much just Nathan Lane in everything though so not sure I could single out one performance.

I guess The Producers at a push.
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Kad
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joined:11/5/05
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#18
Posted: 1/8/21 at 1:08pm
I don't think Lane has ever given a bad performance. But for his screen work, Birdcage for sure. For stage, hard to say, as I didn't get to see him live when he was at his peak for musical comedy (Guys and Dolls, Forum, The Producers). His performance in Angels was exceptional, an unexpected masterstroke of casting.

Even at his worst (which, in his case, would be at his most schticky and self-indulgent), he ends up elevating a production.
"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
Updated On: 1/8/21 at 01:08 PM
brian1973
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joined:2/1/14
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#19
Posted: 1/8/21 at 4:22pm
He is always very good. But he’s always the same too.
Mitch101
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joined:4/15/18
Chorus Member | Joined: 4/15/18
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#20
Posted: 1/8/21 at 4:32pm

I happen to be one of the lucky few who saw Nathan Lane play Mr. Toad in Wind in the Willows.  It was a case of a star is born. He stole the show with his brilliant comic antics.  I seem to recall he borrowed liberally when he created Max.  He did it first as Toad.  

ViniFromBrazil
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joined:1/26/16
Understudy | Joined: 1/26/16
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#21
Posted: 1/8/21 at 8:09pm
Lips Together, Teeth Apart!
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broadwaybabywannabe2
Broadway Star
joined:11/9/11
Broadway Star | Joined: 11/9/11
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#22
Posted: 1/9/21 at 11:44am

Smaxie said: "Far and away -The Lisbon Traviata,"

i saw this production when it came to Los Angeles, and fell in love with Nathan Lane at that point!!...i totally agree...

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devonian.t
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joined:7/26/04
Broadway Legend | Joined: 7/26/04
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#23
Posted: 1/11/21 at 10:03am

Here to kiss ass, since I can't think of a bad performance.  Loved him most in Forum, though.

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MCW1227
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joined:2/6/20
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Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#24
Posted: 1/11/21 at 10:04pm

I’ve seen him several times and he’s always outstanding but I think my favorite performance was the Nance. He had to switch gears constantly to portray a terribly tormented man while also being a hilarious vaudevillian performer.. Very different and very powerful.  

Be Kind
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rosscoe(au)
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joined:8/20/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 8/20/05
Nathan Lane’s Greatest Performance#25
Posted: 1/11/21 at 10:23pm
I only had the pleasure of seeing him in The Addams Family , I was one of the few who absolutely loved that show ( was it perfect. Far from it. Was it an enjoyable entertaining night of theatre. F**K Yes )

Lane performance of Happy Sad from that above mentioned show was beautiful heartbreaking.

How I wished I had the chance to see Angels.

How I wish that the Birdcage was a musical ( well I wish they just did La Cage )
Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian