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BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Gregory Linington

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Gregory Linington
Gregory Linington

Today's subject, Gregory Linington, is currently living his theatre life onstage at Theater J playing Harry Hyman, the doctor with a big heart and strong attraction to one of his patients, in Arthur Miller's rarely produced Broken Glass. The production has been extended and now runs through July 16th.

2017 alone has been nonstop for Gregory. He started things off with George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Ford's Theatre playing opposite Holly Twyford. He then followed Twyford over to Round House Theatre for the comedy OR. Those two shows and Broken Glass have something else in common too. Read on to see what it is.

Gregory's extensive theatre credits include everything from Shakespeare to modern comedies and dramas.

His local credits include The Tempest, Othello, and The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare Theatre Company; The Little Foxes at Arena Stage; and The Night Alive at Round House Theatre.

On the West Coast, he has been seen at Seattle Repertory in Equivocation and many productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) including The Merchant of Venice, Throne of Blood, and Love's Labor's Lost. Other regional credits include American Night: The Ballad of Juan José at Yale Repertory, Cyrano de Bergerac at Independent Shakespeare Company, and Tartuffe at South Coast Repertory.

Greogry was a company member of Misery Loves Company for five years in Prague, Czech Republic in such plays as Cloud Nine and Angels in America.

TV and film credits include Grey's Anatomy, Shameless, The West Wing, and Innocent Sleep.

Gregory is one of those actors whose performances are something you always remember for all the right reasons. His performance in Broken Glass is no exception. I urge you to come and see Gregory and a cast that is second to none. That would be Lise Bruneau, Kimberly Gilbert, Michelle Osherow, Stephen Patrick Martin, and Paul Morella. It's a chance to see a lesser produced play by one of the greats, directed by Aaron Posner. For those who want an alternative to Capital Fringe this July, you can't lose. Gregory Linington, a fine actor indeed.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Gregory Linington
Gregory Linington as Ferdinand in the 2001 Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of The Tempest. Photo by David Cooper.

At what age did it hit you that you wanted to become a performer or do something in the arts for a career? Was it a particular production you saw?

I saw Peter Pan on Broadway when I was five years old, and the notion of flying onstage was a major impetus for becoming an actor. I have been doing this since I was eight years old, and have been in either a play or a class (first as a student and now as a teacher) every year since. This is the only thing I have ever wanted to do.

Where did you receive your training?

I've spent most of my life on the boards. Chatsworth High School, in the San Fernando Valley, was an amazing training ground, we did shows like Sweeney Todd, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. I then went to Pacific Conservatory Theatre on the Central Coast of California, and got some terrific Shakespeare, Movement and Musical Theater training. That was the beginning of my professional career, working in smaller regional theaters in California. I then spent five years abroad, most of it in Prague, Czech Republic, with Misery Loves Company, an English Language Theater Company. After that, I was very lucky to be get cast at OSF, where most of my training comes from. I thought I'd spend three or four seasons there, and wound up staying for twelve seasons. They entrusted me with a lot of large roles and gave me exquisite opportunities. It was a fantastic place to learn and grow as an actor.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Gregory Linington
Gregory Linington and Lise Bruneau in Theater J's production of Broken Glass. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Broken Glass is one of Arthur Miller's lesser known and less performed plays. Can you please tell us a little something about your character in the show and about the show in general?

I play Dr. Harry Hyman, a GP who is struggling with his own fascination with psychology, and his attraction to Sylvia Gellburg. Aaron [Posner's] insistence on focusing on Hyman's various intentions through the play help drive the plot, and I serve as a soundboard and investigator throughout the play.

Broken Glass is just as rich of a script as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. Why do you think more companies don't produce it?

It's a very difficult play, both for the audience and any team producing it. We struggled and wrestled with Miller's dialogue and themes, and I think the audience must do the same. It's a tough sell, to ask an audience to witness and participate in the two lead characters' journeys to the truth.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Gregory Linington
Gregory Linington and Holly Twyford in the Ford's Theatre production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Photo by Scott Suchman.

This is your third time in succession this season working with Director Aaron Posner. What is it for you as an actor that made the last six months so enriching following Aaron Posner around from Ford's Theatre in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, to Round House Theatre in OR, and now Theater J in Broken Glass?

This has been a very productive year for me, and Aaron has been the reason why. George, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, is the largest role I've ever played, and getting to work with Aaron and the cast (Holly Twyford, Danny Gavigan, and Maggie Wilder) on that piece helped me create the best work I've ever done.

Aaron and I get along very well, personally. In the room, we argue like brothers about the work! We really challenge one another to do our very best for each other. And that creates some very good work for the audience. Aaron is one of the great American theater directors. His attention to detail, his rabid specificity, his willingness to share and give all of himself serve as lodestars for my work.

And, in truth, Aaron has been following me around, and I wish he'd stop it. It's getting a bit embarrassing...

Your credits include Shakespeare, modern comedies and dramas. Have you ever wanted to perform in a musical? If so, what would it be?

I did tons of musical theater in my early career, I had done four productions of Jesus Christ Superstar before I was 20. The last time I sang in a play was when I played Proteus in Two Gentleman of Verona at OSF in 2006. I do miss it, and wish I could do more.

And I've always wanted to return to Sweeney Todd. I played the role when I was seventeen, back at Chatsworth, and I just love Sondheim and the play!

After Broken Glass concludes its run at Theater J, where can we find you next?

I'll be back at Shakespeare Theatre Company, doing the Free for All remount of Othello, then I'll be in Northlight Theatre's production of The Book of Will, in the Chicago area...

Special Thanks to Theatre J's Director of Marketing and Communications Laurie Levy-Page for her assistance in coordinating this interview.

Theatre Life logo designed by Kevin Laughon.

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