Broadway.com #LiveatFive with Walter Bobbie of SAINT JOAN
Hello. Everyone, welcome to, Broadway comes live at 5:00 it's Tuesday May 15th. I'm Beth Stephen and I'm Paul, one turret and we are here with social, media maven Caitlyn, gala hi everyone. And. Mr. Walter Bobby is here, Bobby is here I'm, st. Joan yes after turned director. Turned actor, still, director, he just does it all and he's here and. We're not wearing the same shirt and different shades of blue but we kind of are you going checked it's not the same shirt. All. Right so it's, award season did you know that you probably knew that if you watch live at 5:00 every day so we got the Helen Hayes Award winners. Today right, so Helen, Hayes is the Washington DC fancy, Washington, DC, right, every, every sit well many. Major, cities have their own awards it's not we don't cover them all like we do the Helen Hayes though Wow for some reason the hell in here I mean it's very Broadway, adjacent. And. Especially. Of note this year is that Mean Girls are one. And of course Mean Girls was nominated for a bunch of Tony's and romantic comedy tours, yeah and, it won outstanding, visiting production. Of course it played there last fall just, visiting though. And. Then Dennis, Jones won. A Helen Hayes Award for, choreographing. Crazy, for you that's signature theater and. Louis. Salgado who was in in the heights one also for Direction choreography, of in, the heights at gala, Hispanic, theatre and if you look at the site will, tell you all the winners, yes. All, right it's, also award season did you know because frozen, is going on tour and we're very excited about it, I don't. Know what that has to do with the words but thank you for saying yeah because we talked about this yesterday yes, all the shows announced their tours now because it helps get Tony votes that's, correct that's what she means B Bob. They call it the road preciate a Koi surprise. Absolutely, no one frozen is going on tour it, will launch its North American touring, production in the fall of 2019. So, just you gotta wait a little while it's. Kicking off this is always fun it's kicking off in a it's connected to that and I said it's connected II and I can spell it - they, always correctly, because the theater there's like really big and they can be properly everything they get it right and then it will officially, open in. LA they, have it in Hollywood, at the Pantages Theatre in la tour. City's casting, all of that will be announced later so, if you're huntin and get ready it's. Gonna be an Elsa yeah learn. The songs. Stop. Just came out, exactly. All, right. Speaking, of really great casting, we just got complete, casting, for gypsy, at the Muni, so we're kind of obsessed, with duck love totally, obsessed here at the Broadway. And. Beth of course is playing rose in gypsy which is. Aka. Mama Rose, at. The Muni and we've been talking feel, like we always talk about things happening at the immunity that would make us wish we were in st. Louis in, their but we're not we I've never been there either please, but I want them to do like a remember I said they should do a New York concert, of MIDI highlights at the end of the summer.
Anyway. So, Beth. Level is not the only good casting in this show Adam Heller who's fantastic. Is playing her be Juliette, middle who I don't know is Louise Haley petunias dainty June and. Oh, and Harada is Elektra Allen Harvey's Mazeppa and Jennifer, Cody this is such great kids playing the dual roles of Tessie Tura and Miss crotchet and I saw her play these roles in Cape Cod last summer and she's, worth the flight to st. Louis alone, anyway. It's playing from July 27th, to August 2nd. Gotta. Go see that alright. This is leading, odds and ends today but, Neil, Patrick Harris and a bunch of other fancy people are celebrating, the. 20th anniversary of, The Laramie Project. Right. So the Laramie Project I can't believe it's been 20 years but. This, honors, the life and legacy of Matthew, Shepard who, was killed in Laramie Wyoming and. It's. Kind. Of amazing it's gonna be on Monday September 24th. At the, Gerald Lynch theater at John Jay College listen to, who's doing this Neil Patrick Harris mary-louise. Parker, Billy, Porter and then, original. Members of The Laramie, Project company, and this tectonic. Theater project. And that's the founder and director of that is Moises Kaufman who will be, directing. Again and he. Has, a. Theater group by doing interviews together I didn't, dial. Telling. Matthew, Shepard story right very moving and and. Very important I'm, excited for that yeah me too, alright. And last but certainly not least we have new casting, and Iravan Hanson tonight yes, so congratulations. Alex Boniello, you have taken over the role Connor Murphy I don't know if you knew that but you are you got the theater because you're in it now of. Course Mike Feist left the production Tony nominee Mike find Tony nominee Mike fiers I didn't want to put the pressure on Alex, but. Right. There of, course Connor Murphy very mysterious, important, role in the show. Anyway. Of course Alex was recently and Cruel Intentions he. Made probably debut as Moritz, in the way Michael.
Arden And production of Spring Awakening he was also in the. Film's This American Life Jessica Oh TV show Jessica and, happiest, anyway congratulations, I have a first good show, good, first show have, a good first shot take your time really Paul. That's. My cue that's your cue it's been wonderful seeing you but. We are going to be right back with mr. Walter Bobby and. Let's. Do it if you don't already know Walter. Bobby is both an actor and a director of, plays and musicals whose recent directing and credits include bright star we love bright star here and Venus, infer also love that his acting, career began in the original cast of grease and spans, Shahs getting, married at the Circle in the Square Theatre to, nicely nicely, nicely, in Guys, and Dolls, he is formerly the artistic director of the city centers encores, and mr. Bobby directed, the international, hit Chicago right, next door and he. Is the board member of the stage directors, and choreographers Society, and a recent in a recipient, of Drama Desk Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards, send in your questions if you have them please do and please. Welcome Beth, and Walter, hello. To. Talk to you I'm a huge fan of yours, and. You're, back on stage at MTC, doing Saint Joan okay. Caitlyn, just told everyone who you are, but that doesn't even like, doesn't. Mean cup of service of it so tell us about. Returning, to the stage it's been 20-something, years, since. You were rocking the boat yeah. Well. 1992. 92, the arrival of Guys and Dolls Jerry's ex directed, Nathan and faith Prince and, I had the privilege. Of playing sit nicely nicely done Johnson, and. Yes. Surely. And during that time I really some wonderful directing, opportunities, came to me and actually Jerry, in, the middle of that. Great success, gave, me a leave of absence to do a directing, gig that came my way and, so I knew that I wasn't sort of an. Out-of-work, actor who wanted a direct I really wanted to. For. A few weeks I took it yes, I was. Offered an opportunity to do a grand night for singing which is Rodgers and Hammerstein revue at, Rainbow, and stars and. And. You left this gigantic hit well, I Jerry. Gave me a three-week leave of absence, because, Jerry you know I've known Jerry since Greece we were both actors, yeah, so. We've known each other since early, 70s, and I think he knew how. Important, this was to me and, he gave me as. An actor turned director, and these opportunities, it's, hard to reify. Yourself, the business gets used to who you are and, four. And. Juried. Very generously gave me a leave of absence for, some reason every major critic came to that review and said oh he's, a director, and, suddenly I was the. Artistic director of encores, and Jerry Sachs was started, my first production Fiorello. And, so. It happened when it when my directing, career happened, although it was long for for a while.
It. Happened, in New York with the very best people and, it was a very privileged. Evolution. I think for me so what made you want to get back on stage as an actor. I've. Been thinking in. Recent, years she, I'd like to try it again to see what it's like and I let, casting, directors, know that I'm. Not dying. To get back but if something came up and, out. Of the blue Dan Sullivan and, Lynn meadow called, me which, is a very good combination. Very good call it with Shaw's Saint, Joan so it wasn't you, know some other things have come along the way but I, wasn't. Gonna move my schedule to do them. This. Was it was perfect timing I'm gonna sublime, I look I read the cast list oh yeah headed by canola versa and. I've. Directed some of the actors in the show I've worked with both of the designers, Jade Greenwood, and Scott. So. And. I've, had great success at, the last, time actually was on stage was in david ives polish, joke at, Manhattan. Theatre Club Wow and then you directed, Venus, infer oh I've directed a lot with David eyes but, we. That. Was a wonderful John Rando called and they had lost somebody and I was free and I came down and had a ball. Play. Since then so, tell me about Stephanie on stage again in those red, robes you get to wear in the beautiful costume, I wanted, to see if I could do it again and I thought if Dan Sullivan thinks, I can I should I should, say yes to this opportunity, it seemed to me great and I love, Shaw and it was an opportunity to do a. Really. Muscular, play. Filled. With ideas and, wit, with. An extraordinary, cast, everywhere, you look on that stage and most. Of my stuff is with Patrick. Paige Bob. Stanton, and my, dear new friend Jack Davenport who's making his debut he's making it along. The UK yes so. It. Seemed, it, seemed a gift. Yes. It does I I think I, wouldn't, have done it if it was a musical, for some reason but this seemed, like a great opportunity to see if I can memorize again. Let's. Talk about you're at the beginning of your interest. In theater so, I read that you didn't, see a lot of theater growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. What is what sparked your interest. You. Know we I was a group in Scranton, and then we moved to New Jersey and I remember. That my dad. Got me a high-five, stereo. For. I was in the eighth grade for. Christmas and along, with it three albums one, of them was Oklahoma and, I, had no idea why I played, it over and over, was the soundtrack I wasn't the original cast down and I, played it over and over and over and I just thought what is this and I started to get more cast to help and I found myself really, you. Know you. Put three different toys on the floor and you watch which one the child picks up and, I picked them, and. Then. When. I was in college, I came to New York to see the World's Fair and while I was in town I saw two Broadway, shows in one, day I saw. How. To Succeed in Business Without, Really Trying and, I practically, had to hold, myself I was, excited and then I saw the Glass Menagerie with Maureen Stapleton well that's a range right there and, I just went this is it you, know as I was a business. And then English, philosophy. Major in college in the life but that day I just went that's what I want to do and I'm. Gonna go to New York and naively, and do. That and then I went to graduate school. In. Theater. At, Catholic University of America and, I came to New York and I just started auditioning so. Having been at Catholic University of America and, being in st. Joan tell me how that matches up if anything, well. I know how to wear the gown I was like and. Also I went to a Jesuit school so putting on a cassock, account anything in fact the last time I did Shaw I did an optically. Good show up late called getting married, at Circle in the Square Bank, 1980. I believe and I, was also a cleric, in that so I'm either you, know in a plaid suit singing, and dancing, or. Or. A greaser, it's. From. Yes. From, the moaning champ of Rydell High to the Bishop, of, Beauvais in. Medieval. France it's, quite a race I mean really that's, amazing, now of course everyone. Who talks to you has to talk about Chicago yes, some monster, head has been out over, 20 years now yes. We're. Right next door in Chicago we watched them line up for it every day why.
Do You think it's such a big hit because the original production was not I, think. I, remember I was reading I, was the artistic director at the time and, I was reading like a long course yes, and I was reading about what I wanted to do in the next season. And, watching. The OJ, trial at the same time and going oh my god this feels like, you. Know was murder, yeah, it. Felt it felt newly-minted. And I think what Fauci, and candor originally. Wrote as, an. Indictment. And, of. The. American of, America, basically and. Turned into a documentary, and so. I. Felt. That it it felt fresh to me and it felt current, and I think that's the enduring, interesting, part, of the show is, it it is not only a seductive. Toe-tapper. With a glorious. Score but, it's about something and, it's about you. Know the abuse of celebrity. In, America, it's about getting away with murder basically, one of our favorite. Topics in a topic that internationally. Has it's. Worked everywhere it resonates everywhere yes, because people get and. It's very sexy, yeah because, Fosse, and this will, he might be long barely their costume yes we got rid of all that stuff cuz William, IV law I said I want you to dress everybody. Said. Let's celebrate dancers. Because Fosse loved dancers, he. Was the first one to make dancers, sing, and carry all the lines and you know beckon, us in the 60s there was a singing course there was a dancing horse and a fossa show you how to be able to do everything triple. Threats and I, said let's just put, them dress them as dances and put them in for these two favorite, colors which, are black and flesh. And. They never leave the stage they never leave the stage they never dress up like lawyers. Or journal. Which is you. Know footage of the original production they're out there in there we. Just we just wish, took everything, away and and, I just and and, and all of us gianni bini is where we just took everything away and what was left, was what's, plenty. Yeah. And. You've had Bebe Neuwirth in three different roles as a baby nowhere else and, now we have a Ruthie, Henshall. A. Job and yes, I really, think that these ladies could do Billy Flynn just consider it think, about it you, know there was a there, was a mama where we thought of putting a rather famous celebrity, in in, the role of Billy Flynn and red arrow to lyric. Called. We want Billy from course of men singing to a female, Billy that's hilarious aye. Well. We're gonna take some questions, from, from you guys yes we are now because I know you have a lot of them so let's start all, right Abby. Wants to know how has directing, changed, your perspective as an actor you. Know, I don't the, interesting thing is once I say that I'm going to act I forget, about directing.
Once I say I'm you. Know Dan Sullivan's, in charge I. Don't. Have a directors mind no I let, it go I think it's important to let it go and also there's so much your, job as a director is very why. You have to deal with the with. The themes the, the the setting, the costumes, our lighting and and. As a very big, job but your job as an actor is narrow. But deep, and. Your, job, is to dive and to trust everything else is going on I, remember when I was doing Polish joke I, david. Ives and John, Rando are friends of mine the writer and the director I wouldn't even go to lunch with him I said you have to go and talk about me and talk about what I'm doing you know you I just I let, it go and I learned that actually from Jerry Jerry was a four, time Tony, award-winning. Director, and. When he did Fiorello for me he dropped all, of that and I remember after the first day of the race rehearsal, he said. It's. A have. That facility. To be a director, and then be an actor and then go back to directing yes it's not something, everyone can do nowhere. I you know I'm very, privileged, in that regard and that people have, in, the business have allowed that at a very very. High. Level I have to say did Jerry give you any, advice. When, you started to direct because he had directed, before you did. No. I think I've, had the good fortune to work with. Very good directors. As. An actor, so I was always in class you know with, Jerry. Gutierrez, so Jerry's acts or Dan. Sullivan I, mean the list is quite, extraordinary. So, you're taking notes I was I was I, was, watching, I mean one of my first jobs in the city was the understudy, of the, grass Hartman, barber cook and there was Ellis Rabb and. I was understudying. So all I could do is watch this master, of American, directing, and acting. So. I've always been in class without having to pay for. Something. That might be a sore spot write your Broadway debut. It's, part of, you. Closed an opening night it is the only theater poster I have I have.
I Don't I. Was. Called Frank marry Marilyn it. Opened it closed in one night and it's the only theater poster I I did, a ton. Of not. Terrible, not, terrible, but, unsuccessful. Shows back. In the 70s. And I, remember walking into my apartment when I didn't see it looked like Joe Allen's wall, and. I just took, them all off the wall and I threw them in the garbage I thought I don't want to celebrate I. Kept. Getting jobs, right, but, my first Broadway show was called Frank Merriwell, and, it. Lasted one night and I was not in fact my first off-broadway, show, was, called drat, me, and Bonnie Franklin Wow, the late dear Bonnie Franklin. In. A show. Produced. By. Barn. Woodward, who, were at the same time you know doing Sweeney Todd and grace anyway, and, it, closed in one night in fact the producers, came to me. Wednesday. Before we opened, and they said we're, gonna close the show on opening, and it's not your fault oh you knew ahead of time and they. Offered me another job that night so I closed, contract. And I. Became the understudy, for for. The grass harp a day, later. So this doesn't happen that often anymore doesn't happen that often anymore no but. You know I'm sorry go on we have more questions I just we, have great questions, um Elise. Wants to know what is the most challenging, part about being, in st. Joan. The. Most challenging, part, I find. It all very. Invigorating. The. Challenge, for me was. Memorizing. The script, so that I could get to Shaw's, ideas. There's no way to act, it's. You, know Shakespeare or any kind of muscular, language that you you can't really get to what the play is about what the ideas, are until, you have ownership of the words you can do contemporary play and improvise. Your way through, but, when you get lost if you have a sentence, that goes on and on endlessly, with subordinate, clauses and God knows what and you go you're good and you go I know there's a verb coming up here somewhere but. Unless you have ownership, of that you can't begin, to. Deal. With the. The very, vigorous, debate that happens between most especially Jack Davenport and, myself and the, ideas that Shaw is bringing, into incredible. Collision. In. This play so I think the, big hurdle, for me. Not. Having memorized a dense, text. In a while was, getting past, that so, that I could actually get to my acting, and and. As, I like to say, listen. Better mm-hmm. You know or. Listen faster, I. Supposed, to thinking of what I have to say next all, right David wants to know if you have a dream, role to perform and a dream script, to direct excellent. Questions you. Know my dream role and I'm sorry I never went somewhere, I should have just gone to you. Know. Anywhere. At some point and just gotten. Music man out of my system. Cuz, that was one of those albums when I got it I just I destroyed. It putting the needle back on trouble, you know just trying to memorize that and did. My, jury I don't uh, I, don't know what I think the the dream, project for, me is what, I is, always, been what I need to learn next I've, had. The opportunity to eat just like doing this is so, so. Unusual, I I. Couldn't. Have, imagined. Something. Like bright star coming into my life and, the, idea of spending several. Years with Steve Martin and Evie Raquel even. Though the show wasn't a commercial, sex success. Creatively. And as. A piece of development, it was so, deeply. Satisfying. So. That's. What, I'm looking for, us and as the next. There's. A lot of stuff out there a lot of sense that comes my way that doesn't really interest. Me Anna. Anna and frankly, at my age I, try. To choose wisely because, especially.
With New musicals, it's three or four years you have to leave you have to say you mean it and. For. Quite some time is there an actor you'd like to direct oh there's so many oh there, are so many actors that I love and admire. And. Actors I've worked with before that I'd love to work with again you. Know I want, to work with the the, entire cast of st. Joe and I want to direct yeah all of them they're all so good I'm, so happy that I have directed. You know John Glover that. Mu and, Adam, Chandler who was splendid. We did a concert of Ozora but of course their company using he's a superb. Actor, and, and. A good fellow, so. It's. Hard to name names because, I'm, surrounded. By such great. Talent all the time so to say who's my favorite who's the best, yeah. Everyone's. Great in fact you know what happened to me I always, wanted to direct and. People. Said oh you should direct shudra and then when armed chorus came to me and offered me the first show I, called. All those people, because I had been that my my. Good fortune was when they offered me a Fiorello, I had been working on the Broadway theatre for 25 years so. I, opened. The phone book, and I called Phil, Bosco and Donna. McKechnie, I called everybody and I said would, you show up for me and they did so, I was. Blessed with having a. Phonebook, that was 25, years old, on Broadway, and a career so, that when the opportunity to direct came, my way, I, was. Working very I was ready and I was working with the very best piece I was working with William Ivey well you, know Johnny. Beatty and and, I was, I was showcasing. Does. The original cast of grease we're. Still in to get together you. Know I think that any of those companies. What. That's true that original cast in general will well original. Yeah and there's something about you know I bet, the entire original. Cast of, Natasha. And Pierre will never lose track. They. All got their. Cards. Together and. And. When, you're in a show where everybody's, appear, there. Are no senior. Actors, there's no stars you're. A gang and we're, still in touch, with each other I mean I was at Tom Moore the directors lake house with Jim canning, last summer wife. And Adrienne, Barbeau came, over all the greasers are together yeah dinner. With Barry Bostwick, when I was out in LA it you. Can't lose, there's, something you bond in a way I bet all the gods field people know Godspell, do you know where they are. In. The heights I'm sure all those Chorus. Line it's. A bonding, thing especially. When they're young people together young people together we're all the same age where none of us are stars and we're in it this giant, hit no one's calling you and asking you to direct them in something now what, are they calling you and asking you to direct them in something, my. Job but I've called them. Okay. We have time for one more question Kaitlin all right last question you, have such great stories any plans, to, write them down in a biography or autobiography, oh. I. Don't. Think so. But. If I do it'll. Be called I wish. I had moisturised. Moisturise. I don't, know I I make, little notes in my head I enjoyed, I enjoyed passing. Things along stories. Along I don't. Know if I write, anything. Well. You've already thought appetite also I think yeah. That was a joke. Thank. You for coming thanks for inviting me see st. Joan at the Samuel Freeman theatre starring can deliver shots, markable. Young wonderful, condolence, shot Tony nominee Jodie. Nominate fourth time. Child. About, four of them god, oh. It's. Wonderful and. All. Right thank you all so much for watching live at five today as always you can listen to this wonderful interview as well as all of our others, on the live at five podcast, just go to Apple search live at five you'll find us I'm join us tomorrow as we are joined by another amazing, guest. You.