Metrofocus: May 11, 2022

After a long, 15 months of darkness, the lights of Broadway are shining bright, once again. And tonight, Broadway’s biggest night is back. We’ll tell you which nominees for the 75th Annual Tony Awards are favored to win with editor in chief of Broadway.com, Paul Wontorek.

We’ll introduce you to the stars of the hit show “Company” that’s gotten 9 Tony nods including best musical revival. The musical written over 50 years ago, pays homage to its creator, the late Stephen Sondheim, who attended the show just days before he passed away. Tonight, two of the show’s stars, Christopher Fitzgerald and Nikki Renée Daniels join us.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, BROADWAY'S BIGGEST NIGHT IS BACK AND WE'RE BREAKING T DOWN THE NOMINEES FOR THE 75th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS.

AND MEET THE STARS OF 'COMPANY,' THE RECIPIENT OF NINE TONY NOMINATIONS, AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

AFTER A LONG 15 MONTHS OF DARKNESS, THE LIGHTS OF BROADWAY ARE SHINING BRIGHT ONCE AGAIN.

NOW, BROADWAY'S BIGGEST AWARD SHOW IS ALSO RETURNING TO HONOR THE PERFORMERS AND THE CREW MEMBERS WHO BROUGHT THE THEATER BACK TO LIFE.

THE 75th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS WILL TAKE PLACE AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL IN JUNE.

AND WILL BE HOSTED BY AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS ARIANA DuBOSE.

THEY WILL BE THE FIRST TONYS TO HONOR THE SHOWS THAT OPENED AND REOPENED FOLLOWING THE INDUSTRY SHUTDOWN CAUSED BID THE PANDEMIC.

THE NOMINEES FOR THE AWARDS WERE JUST ANNOUNCED WITH A STRANGE LOOP LEADING THE PACK, RECEIVING 11 NOMINATIONS INCLUDING BEST NEW MUSICAL.

SO, NOW TO BREAK DOWN THIS YEAR'S TONY NOMINATIONS AND PROVIDE ALSO AN UPDATE ON HOW THE PANDEMIC IS STILL IMPACTING BROADWAY, WE'RE JOINED BY THE EDITOR IN CHIEF OF BROADWAY.COM, PAUL WONTOREK.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

YOU DO SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB OF CHRONICLING BROADWAY AND IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU, GET YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT ALL OF THIS.

SO, LET'S START OUT WITH THE TIME FRAME INVOLVED HERE, BECAUSE, AGAIN, FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC, SO MUCH IS DIFFERENT HERE.

GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF THE TIME FRAME FOR THESE NOMINEES.

WELL, SO, THIS IS AS CLOSE TO NORMAL AS WE'VE GOTTEN WITH THE TONY AWARDS IN AWHILE, SO, WE ALL APPRECIATE THAT.

BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, SO -- SOME OF THE SHOWS THAT ARE ELIGIBLE THAT WERE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS YEAR'S ACTUALLY OPENED RIGHT BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, LIKE, GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, THE BOB DYLAN MUSICAL, AND HAD TO WAIT TO BE ELIGIBLE UNTIL NOW, SO, IT'S SUCH AN INTERESTING YEAR, BECAUSE WE HAD THE 2020 TONY AWARDS IN THE FALL OF 2021, A VERY STRANGE SITUATION, BECAUSE THE NOMINEES HAD TO WAIT UNTIL A YEAR TO FIND OUT IF THEY WON.

SO, THIS IS MOSTLY NORMAL, AND WE'RE VERY HAPPY TO HAVE THAT, BECAUSE IT IS MOSTLY SHOWS THAT HAVE OPENED SINCE BROADWAY REOPENED AND -- A COUPLE STRAGGLERS FROM BEFORE AND IT'S PRETTY MUCH A NORMAL BROADWAY SEASON.

AND WE WILL EMBRACE THE CONCEPT OF MOSTLY NORMAL.

EXACTLY I.

I'LL TAKE IT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CATEGORIES HERE.

I MENTIONED FOR BEST NEW MUSICAL AND IT'S INTERESTING, I THINK, BECAUSE THERE'S ALMOST SORT OF TWO CATEGORIES.

THERE'S WHO RECEIVED NOMINATIONS, WHICH IS A BIG DEAL TO BE NOMINATED, AND ULTIMATELY, WELL, WHO WON.

SO, LET'S FOCUS ON WHO RECEIVED THE NOMINATIONS HERE AND TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BEST NEW MUSICAL, WHICH IS USUALLY -- NOT TO DIMINISH ANYTHING ELSE, BUT USUALLY THAT GETS THE TOP BILLING, IF YOU WILL, HERE.

TALK ABOUT THOSE NOMINEES, IF YOU WILL.

WELL, SO, THE BIG STORY IS A STRANGE LOOP.

AND I DON'T THINK ANYONE THAT FOLLOWS THEATER IS REALLY SURPRISED BY ALL OF THIS LOVE FOR IT.

IT'S A PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING SHOW.

IT WON AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC.

IT WAS OFF BROADWAY AND IT WAS A SORT OF A SLOW BUILD TO BROADWAY.

WE ALL SAW IT COMING.

IT IS A VERY PERSONAL WORK BY MICHAEL R. JACKSON, A VERY EXCITING, YOUNG WRITER, I MEAN, HE'S IN HIS EARLY 40s, I BELIEVE, BUT HE'S TELLING THE STORY OF -- IT'S A BLACK QUEER MUSICAL, IT'S HIS OWN STORY FROM WHEN HE WAS IN HIS 20s.

HE WOULD TELL YOU IT'S SLIGHTLY ALL BIOGRAPHICAL, BUT IT'S BASICALLY ABOUT A GUY THAT IS AN USHER AT 'THE LION KING' WHO STARTS WRITING A MUSICAL ABOUT AN USHER AT 'THE LION KING' ON BROADWAY.

SO, IT'S VERY PERSONAL.

IT'S KIND OF ADULT.

IT'S VERY RAW.

IT'S VERY REAL.

AND IT GOT -- IT GOT THE CRITICS REALLY EXCITED AND IT'S -- IT'S JUST A REALLY FRESH, YOUNG VOICE.

I ALSO LOVE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE M.J., A MICHAEL JACKSON MUSICAL AND WE HAVE A STRANGE LOOP, WHICH IS WRITTEN BY MIKE JACKSON.

M.J. HAS GOT TEN NOMINATIONS AND SO DID PARADISE SQUARE, SO, STRANGE LOOP GOT 11.

M.J., YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE SORT OFNER VOUS ABOUT BRINGING MICHAEL JACKSON'S STORY TO BROADWAY AND HOW WE WOULD TELL THAT STORY, HIS TROUBLES ARE MORE HINTED AT THAN DEALT WITH, IT'S A VERY SPECIFIC PERIOD OF HIS LIFE.

SO, THIS IS NOT A TRUE BIOGRAPHY OF MICHAEL JACKSON.

NO, IT HAS ELEMENTS OF HIS STORY, YOU KNOW, THERE'S TALK ABOUT SORT OF THE GOSSIP ABOUT HIM WITHIN THE SHOW, BUT IT'S REALLY A CELEBRATION OF HIS MUSIC.

AMAZING MUSIC AND CHOREOGRAPHY BY CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON.

VERY EXCITING CRAY TOIR.

AND SO THAT -- IT'S INTERESTING THAT MICHAEL R. JACKSON IS UP AGAINST MICHAEL JACKSON.

AND PARADISE SQUARE IS THIS BIG MUSICAL THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED, IT HAD A REALLY BIG SHOWING WITH TEN NOMINATIONS.

IT'S A MUSICAL THAT HAS BEEN IN DEVELOPMENT FOR A LONG TIME, IT'S ABOUT FIVE CORNERS, IT'S ABOUT THE IRISH AND THE BLACKS AND THAT PIECE OF NEW YORK HISTORY.

THAT DID VERY WELL AND IT'S UP AGAINST SIXTH, THE MUSICAL, WHICH IS A HUGE HIT.

AND HONESTLY, COULD BE KIND OF LIKE THE EASY FRONT-RUNNER, I MEAN, HONESTLY, IT HAS A LOT OF FUNS, IT'S SLIGHTLY MORE CLOSER TO A POP CONCERT THAN A TRADITIONAL MUSICAL ABOUT THE EX-WIVES OF HENRY VIII.

AND MR. SATURDAY NIGHT AND GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY.

BILLY CRYSTAL DOING THIS VERY PERSONAL -- HE DID THIS MOVIE IN THE '90s, WHICH WAS SO FUNNY, BECAUSE IT WAS ABOUT AN AGING CAT SKILLS PERFORMER, SO, AT THE TIME, BILLY CRYSTAL WAS MOSTLY THE YOUNGER VERSION AND THEN HE PUT ON OLD AGE MAKE UP.

REMEMBER IN THE '90s HOW BAD THE OLD AGE MAKEUP WAS?

IT WAS TERRIBLE.

IT'S SO BAD.

BUT NOW, HE'S OLD ENOUGH TO PLAY THE OLDER VERSION.

I SAW HIM SAY, I DON'T NEED THAT ANYMORE.

EXACTLY.

WE DON'T NEED THE BAD MAKEUP.

IT WOULD BE ALL CGI NOW IF THEY DID.

PROBABLY.

AND SO HE'S BEEN WANTING TO MAKE THIS A MUSICAL FOR A LONG TIME.

HE'S BEEN HONORED WITH A NOMINATION, AS WELL.

AND THEN GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, VERY ACCLAIMED, YOU KNOW, BOB DYLAN MUSICAL THAT OPENED BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, BUT THEY COULDN'T MAKE IT ELIGIBLE FOR THE LAST TONYS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, TO MAKE SOMETHING ELIGIBLE, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO OPEN IT UP FOR NOMINE OR THES TO SEE IT AND THE TIMING WAS OFF.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE NOMINEES FOR THE BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL.

AND I ALWAYS FIND THIS INTERESTING WHEN THEY GET NOMINATED AGAIN BECAUSE, IN THIS INSTANCE, AND WE'VE SEEN IN THE PAST, SOME OF THEM WON TONYS BACK WHEN THEY WERE INITIALLY ROLLED OUT.

AND IT'S SORT OF FUNNY TO SAY, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO BRING IT OUT AGAIN, BUT EVERYBODY WHO WON TONYS THE LAST TIME CAN'T POSSIBLY WIN THEM AGAIN THIS TIME, BUT JUST -- THAT BEING SAID, JUST GIVE ME A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IN TERMS OF THE SHOWS.

WELL, YEAH, A REVIVAL IS A VERY INTERESTING SKILL, BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE SAME -- IT'S NOT THE ORIGINAL.

IF YOU LOOK AT SOMETHING LIKE BEETLEJUICE JUST CAME BACK TO BROADWAY, THAT'S NOT A REVIVAL.

IT'S BACK, IT'S THE SAME PRODUCTION AS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC.

REVIVALS, THEY ARE LOOKED AT WITH FRESH EYES, NEW DIRECTORS, NEW DIRECTORS.

IT'S A VERY BIG CATEGORY.

COMPANY IS LEADING AND OBV OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW, WE LOST STEPHEN SONDHEIM THIS SEASON AND HE WAS AT THE SHOW, JUST A FEW DAYS PRIOR TO DYING.

IT WAS A HUGE LOSS FOR THE COMMUNITY AND PATTY LA PONE IS BACK ON BROADWAY.

IT WAS A '70s MUSICAL ABOUT A SWINGING BA ING BACHELOR, AND T CAME BACK WITH MAKING THE LEAD A WOMAN, MAKING THE HARRIED BRIDE AMY INTO A GAY MAN ABOUT TO GET MARRIED, MATT DOYLE IS PLAYING THAT ROLE, SO THAT'S DEFINITELY A FRESH -- THAT'S VERY DEFINITELY THAN THE MUSICAL THAT WON IN THE '70s.

BUT THERE WERE ONLY FOUR MUSICALS ELIGIBLE THIS YEAR.

IT'S AN INTERESTING CATEGORY BECAUSE IT'S THE MUSING MAN, FUNNY GIRL, COMPANY, AND THEY ONLY NOMINATED THREE, OBVIOUSLY, THEY COULD HAVE NOMINATED FOUR, BUT FUNNY GIRL KIND OF HAD A ROUGH GO AT IT, SO IT'S ALWAYS INTERESTING, THE CATEGORIES, BECAUSE THE TONYS ESPECIALLY, SOME OF THE ACTING CATEGORIES HAVE SEVEN PEOPLE IN THEM AND OTHERS HAVE FOUR OR FIVE.

I WAS SURPRISED AT THAT, HOW MANY ARE LOADED UP AND HOW MANY ARE A LITTLE BIT LESS.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TIME TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THE NOMINEES AND OBVIOUSLY SOME WONDERFUL NOMINEES FOR PLAYS, BUT PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN, WHO ARE THE INDIVIDUALS THAT GET NOMINATED?

AND MANY RECOGNIZABLE BIG NAMES.

HUE JACKSON, SUTTON FOSTER FOR THE MUSIC MAN, YOU MENTIONED PATTY LA PONE.

HOW ABOUT OTHER NAMES THAT GOT NOMINATED?

YOU HAVE MATTHEW BRODERICK AND SARA YESH JESSICA PARKER, Y HAVE DEBRA MESSING, DANIEL CRAIG.

Y THERE'S -- YOU KNOW, I MEAN, IT HAPPENS EVERY TIME, IT'S ALWAYS SORT OF SURPRISING, BUT IT'S PART OF SHOW BUSINESS, ISN'T IT?

YEAH XASH, EXACTLY, EXACTLY.

GO AHEAD.

ONE THING I WOULD LOVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE ACTING CATEGORIES, AS THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF REPRESENTATION, A LOT OF -- FOR BLACK VOICES AND PERFORMERS.

I WAS JUST ABOUT TO ASK YOU THAT, WHAT WE'RE SEEING.

I READ YOUR MIND.

NOT ONLY, YOU KNOW, WITH MANY PLAYS FROM BLACK VOICES, SO MANY BROADWAY DEBUTS OF PLAYWRIGHTS.

WE'VE ALSO -- IT'S ALSO A SEEN WHERE WE SAW SOME CLASSIC ROLES, YOU KNOW, BROADWAY HAS ALWAYS HAD A LOT OF DIVERSITY IN ITS CASTING ON STAGE, BUT WE'VE SEEN SOME CLASSIC ROLES LIKE CHRISTINE IN PHANTOM OF THE OPERA PLAYED BY A TALENTED BLACK PERFORMER.

BUT WITH THE ACTING NOMINEES, I BELIEVE IT'S 20 OUT OF 45 OF THE ACTING NOMINEES ARE BLACK PERFORMERS.

IT'S VERY EXCITING.

I'M VERY EXCITED FOR THE COMMUNITY THAT WE'RE ABLE TO SORT OF, YOU KNOW, SHOW THAT THAT DIVERSITY IS THERE AND NOW, OF COURSE, THERE'S A REAL MOVEMENT TO GET MORE DIVERSITY BEHIND THE SCENES ON BROADWAY AND I ALSO WANT TO SHOUTOUT L.

MORGAN LEE, ONE OF THE STARS OF 'STRANGE LOOP' WHO IS THE FIRST OPENLY TRANS ACTRESS TO BE NOMINATED FOR A TONY AWARD.

THE STAGE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FORMAL WELCOMING PLACE AND IT'S LOVELY TO SEE NOW THAT BEING RECOGNIZED.

GOT ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF HERE LEFT, SO, LET ME ASK YOU, HOW IS BROADWAY LOOKING AND FEELING NOW AFTER THE PANDEMIC?

AND WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE AS WE GET INTO THE MAJOR SUMMERTIME BROADWAY GOING SEASON?

I'M VERY HOPEFUL.

I FEEL LIKE IT'S, YOU KNOW, THE VACCINATION MANDATE ARE BEING REMOVED, THE MASK MANDATES ARE CONTINUING FOR NOW.

I THINK AUDIENCES HAVE JUST SORT OF BECOME USED TO IT.

I THINK AT FIRST IT WAS -- FELT ODD TO SIT THERE IN A MASKS RIGHT NOW, IT'S SORT OF OKAY.

IT'S INTERESTING FOR PERFORMERS, I INTERVIEWED SUTTON FOSTER YESTERDAY AND OBVIOUSLY 'THE MUSIC MAN' IS A BIG MUSICAL COMEDY AND YOU CAN'T HEAR SMILES, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

YOU CAN HEAR LAUGHTER, YOU DON'T SEE THE AUDIENCE ALL SORT OF SMILING.

SHE TOLD ME REALLY AMUSINGLY THAT A FEW OF THE PERFORMERS HAVE WALKED ON STAGE WITH THEIR MASKS ON BY ACCIDENT AND JUST HAD TO, LIKE, SLOWLY REMOVE THEM, WHICH I NEVER EVEN --

YOU SEE HOW GOOD THEY ARE TO HANDLE THIS VERY SLIGHT OF HAND AND IT'S GONE.

JUST WORK IT INTO THE CHOREOGRAPHY.

THAT'S GREAT.

YEAH.

AGAIN, AS I MENTIONED, IT'S THE 75th TONY AWARDS TAKING PLACE, RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, SUNDAY, JUNE 12th, AND AGAIN, PAUL WON OR THE ECK, BROADWAY.COM, YOU DO SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB CHRONICLING BROADWAY AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

AND WE'LL LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU AGAIN DOWN THE ROAD.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

IT'S BEEN MORE THAN 50 YEARS SINCE THE ICONIC STEPHEN SONDHEIM SHOW 'COMPANY' OPENED ON BROADWAY.

NOW, THE TONY AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL IS BACK ON THE GREAT WHITE WAY AND IT'S STILL BRILLIANT.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

♪ IN COMES COMPANY ♪ GOOD TIMES ♪ COMPANY ♪ LATE NIGHTS ♪ QUICK BITES ♪ LONG WALKS ♪ TELEPHONE CALLS ♪ ALL THOSE PHOTOS ♪ UP ON THE WALLS ♪ WITH LOVE ♪ WITH LOVE ♪ FILLING THE DAY ♪ WITH LOVE ♪ 70 WAYSS ♪ ♪ GOOD AND CRAZY PEOPLE YOUR FRIENDS ♪ ♪ GOOD AND CRAZY PEOPLE YOUR MARRIED FRIENDS ♪ ♪ THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT ISN'T IT ♪ ♪ THAT'S WHAT IT'S REALLY ABOUT ♪ ♪ ISN'T IT ♪ THAT'S WHAT IT'S REALLY ABOUT ♪ ♪ REALLY ABOUT ♪ COMPANY ♪ COMPANY ♪ COMPANY ♪ LOVE IS COMPANY

AND WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE TWO OF THE STARS OF 'COMPANY' JOINING US NOW.

TALENTED BROADWAY VETERANS CHRISTOPHER FITZGERALD AND NIKKI RENEE DANIELS.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

YES, LOVELY TO BE HERE.

SO, AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE SHOW WAS BRILLIANT.

THE TWO OF YOU ARE MARVELOUS.

YOU PLAY A VERY INTERESTING COUPLE AND WE'LL GET TO SOME OF THE DETAILS OF THAT IN A MOMENT.

BUT I DO FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO START BY ASKING YOU ABOUT -- ABOUT THE SPIRIT OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM.

HE WAS AT YOUR OPENING PRODUCTION BACK IN NOVEMBER AND IT WAS SADLY, LITERALLIES LESS THAN TWO WEEKS BEFORE HE SUDDENLY PASSED AWAY.

MY QUESTION TO YOU, AS ACTORS, WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE THE CREATOR OF YOUR SHOW -- AND NOT JUST ANY CREATOR, STEPHEN SONDHEIM, THE CREATOR, IN THE AUDIENCE, FOR THAT PERFORMANCE?

LET ME ASK YOU BOTH THE SAME QUESTION AND NIKKI, START OFF WITH YOU, IF I COULD.

WELL, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, STEPHEN SONDHEIM IS LIKE THE SHAKESPEARE OF MUSICAL THEATER.

I JUST WATCHED THE 'WEST SIDE STORY' MOVIE LAST NIGHT AND JUST WATCHING IT, I COULDN'T BELIEVE THAT THIS PERSON WROTE THESE LYRICS, YOU KNOW, 60 YEARS AGO, WAS THERE FOR OUR REHEARSAL PROCESS, WAS A PART OF US SORT OF TWEAKING LITTLE TWEAKS IN THE SCRIPT AND THE LYRICS AND TO HAVE HIM IN THE REHEARSAL ROOM AND IN THE AUDIENCE WHEN WE DID THE SHOW IS JUST AN AMAZING THING.

I MEAN, IT'S AN HONOR, REALLY, TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PERFORM FOR HIM WHILE HE WAS HERE WITH US.

CHRIS, HOW ABOUT YOU?

WELL, HE HAD, YOU KNOW, BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, WE HAD BEGUN PREVIEWS AND HE WAS -- HAD COME SEVERAL TIMES DURING THAT PROCESS TO SOME REHEARSALS AND WHEN HE -- WE HAD A RECEPTION AFTER ONE OF THE PREVIEWS, NIKKI, I DON'T REMEMBER IF YOU WERE THERE, REMEMBER, WE HAD DRINKS --

YEAH, YEAH.

AND HE KIND OF PARKED HIMSELF AT A SEAT AND ALMOST ONE AT A TIME, WE ALL WENT OVER AND HAD SOME TIME JUST TO SPEND WITH HIM ONE-ON-ONE AND IT WAS REALLY -- I -- HE ALWAYS LOVES TO TALK ABOUT HIS COLLABORATORS, SO GEORGE FIRTH WAS IN HIS MIND AS HE WAS SPEAKING, TALKING ABOUT HIS BRILLIANT AND WHAT HE BROUGHT TO THE SHOW ITSELF.

AND THEN COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC, THE IDEA THAT HE WAS STILL ABLE TO COME AND BE APART OF THE EXPERIENCE AGAIN -- HE WASN'T ABLE TO COME TO REHEARSALS, BUT HAVING HIM THERE AT THAT FIRST PREVIEW, IT WAS -- YOU KNOW, IT'S SO INTERESTING TO TALK ABOUT IT IN HINDSIGHT, BECAUSE TWO WEEKS LATER, HE PASSED AWAY, BUT I CAN JUST SAY THAT THE ENERGY AND THE ELECTRICITY FROM THE CAST, FROM THE AUDIENCE, IT WAS SUCH A MOMENTOUS MOMENT ANYWAY, BUT TO HAVE HIM PRESENT JUST MADE IT KIND OF ALMOST LIKE THEATER LORE, THE IDEA THAT HE WAS THERE TWO WEEKS BEFORE OR SO THAT HE PASSED.

AND I JUST REMEMBER -- WE WERE ALWAYS NERVOUS.

I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT.

I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT.

I SAW A VIDEO SOMEBODY HAD TAPED OF HIM COMING INTO THE THEATER AND EVERYBODY -- THEY REALIZED WHO HE WAS AND THEY STAND UP, A STANDING OVATION, THE CAST COMES OUT AND SAYS, THIS IS DEDICATED TO YOU AND -- BUT I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT.

YOU KNOW, YOU'RE VETERANS.

THE TWO OF YOU HAVE DONE A LOT OF STUFF.

A LOT OF REAL HIGH QUALITY WORK.

DO YOU GET NERVOUS, DO YOU PEEK OVER AND SAY, IS HE LATCHING?

WHAT IS HE DOING OVER THERE?

THAT'S ALL YOU'RE DOING.

THAT'S ALL LITERALLY ALL I WAS THINKING ABOUT WAS HIM THAT NIGHT.

I DON'T NOTE ABOUT YOU, NIKKI, WERE YOU?

ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY.

JUST THE IDEA THAT HE'S SITTING SIX ROWS BACK --

WHAT A GREAT --

YEAH.

WHAT AN EXPERIENCE FOR YOU.

I CAN'T IMAGINE FOR HIM WHAT IT MUST FEEL LIKE TO HAVE SUCH REVERENCE PLACED UPON YOU, I MEAN, HE HAD SO MANY WAYS OF DEFLECTING IT WITH JOKES AND WITH STORIES AND ANECDOTES A AND -- BUT IT WAS, YOU KNOW, TO SEE HIM AFTER THAT EVENING AT THE PREVIEW, HE CAME BACK INTO THE LOBBY AND WE ALL WENT AND HUNG OUT WITH HIM THERE.

WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY, RIGHT?

WE ALL SURROUND HIM AND WE'RE ALL, YOU KNOW, STARING AT HIM, WAITING FOR THE NEXT WORD HE SAYS, AND HERE HE IS TRYING TO KIND OF THROW IT OFF AND -- BUT HE WAS JUST SO GENEROUS AND I JUST -- MY MEMORY IS THAT HE WAS SO HAPPY THAT NIGHT.

HE JUST WAS --

AND WHAT A GREAT MEMORY TO HAVE OF HIM.

I'VE INTERVIEWED HIM IN THE PAST AND HE WAS ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU SAID.

LET ME ASK YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SHOW ITSELF.

I MENTIONED, IT'S MORE THAN 50 YEARS OLD.

I -- WE HAD NOT SEEN IT BEFORE LAST WEEK.

I SAW CLIPS OF IT, WE KNEW THE MUSIC, BUT I WAS STRUCK BY A COUPLE OF THINGS.

IT DIDN'T SEEM DATED AT ALL.

SOMETIMES WHEN YOU SEE A SHOW FROM A HALF OF CENTURY AGO, YOU SAY, THIS IS WONDERFUL, BUT I CAN TELL IT WAS WRITTEN HALF A CENTURY AGO.

WHY DO YOU THINK THIS REMAINS SO TIMELY?

NIKKI, YOU FIRST.

WELL, I THINK ANY WELL-WRITTEN PIECE CAN WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME.

I REFERENCED SHAKESPEARE BEFORE, WE STILL RELATE TO THOSE PIECES.

I THINK IT'S A WELL-WRITTEN PIECE, NUMBER ONE, AND NUMBER TWO, WE MADE A FEW TWEAKS TO MAKE IT MORE 2020 WITH A FEMALE BOBBY INSTEAD OF A MALE BOBBY AND, YOU KNOW, WITH THE CELL PHONES AND ALL THE SORTS OF THINGS THAT WE DID TO SORT OF BRING IT INTO TODAY, BUT WE REALLY DIDN'T CHANGE A HUGE AMOUNT AS FAR AS THE WORLDS WOR THE PAGE.

I THINK THE WRITING WAS JUST SO GOOD WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE IT WORK FOR TODAY.

AND YOUR CHARACTER, THE TWO OF YOU, IS A LITTLE BIT OF A TWIST FROM THE FIRST ONE, IN THAT NIKKI, YOU'RE THE OUT THERE WORKING PART OF THE COUPLE, RIGHT?

AND CHRIS, YOU'RE THE HOME AND YOU'VE GOT YOUR SHORTS ON AND YOUR POLO SHIRT AND YOU DO A REALLY FUNNY THING WITH YOUR SHORTS, I WILL JUST LEAVE IT OUT THERE AT THAT.

AND CHRIS, LET ME ASK YOU THIS -- I WAS STRUCK BY HOW FUNNY THIS SHOW IS.

I DON'T KNOW WHY, WHAT I EXPECTED, BUT I WAS STRUCK BY HOW FUNNY IT IS.

HAVE YOU GOTTEN THAT REACTION FROM PEOPLE?

YES.

AUDIENCES SEEM, LIKE, ARE LAUGHING FROM THE MOMENT WE START, ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

TO, LIKE, THE HOME RUNS FROM PATTY AT THE END, LIKE HAVING YOUR CLEANUP HITTER AT THE END OF THE SHOW JUST KIND OF KNOCK THE AUDIENCE JUST INTO THE STREET WITH JUST, YOU KNOW, IN A DAZE OF GOODNESS.

BUT IT IS SO FUNNY AND GEORGE FIRTH, I THINK, WAS A BIG PART OF THAT.

JUST SUCH -- THE STORY, I FEEL LIKE IT'S SO TIMELESS BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, IT'S ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS, IT'S ABOUT OF, YOU KNOW, FIND ING YOUR COMMUNITY, FINDING HOW YOU FIT IN THE WORLD IN THIS CONTEMPORARY WORLD, AND SO ALL OF THOSE THEMES ARE JUST SO PRESENCE NOW, I MEAN, THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE TALK ABOUT ALL THE TIME, I MEAN, WE'RE ALL STILL GOING THROUGH IT.

AND WITH NIKKI AND I, IT'S FUN.

MY CHARACTER WAS ORIGINALLY PLAYED BY A WOMAN AND THERE ARE SOME TROPES IN THERE WHERE SOME OF THE FEMALE CHARACTERS JUST KIND OF -- THE WAY THEY WERE WRITING, WERE, YOU KNOW, KIND OF -- THEY WERE VERY DITSY, KIND OF YOUR STANDARD SUBURBAN TYPE TROPY CHARACTER AND I DON'T BLAME THEM FOR WRITING THOSE KINDS OF CHARACTERS AT THAT TIME, BUT WE HAVE ALL EVOLVED SO MUCH, SO IT'S SO FUN TO KIND OF FLIP IT ON ITS HEAD AND LOOK AT THOSE ANGLES NOW WHERE YOU COULD SEE IT AND KIND OF SAY -- I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS WAS WRITTEN AT THAT TIME.

IT ALL SEEMS SO, LIKE IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

I WENT BACK TO LOOK AT THE 1970-71 PRODUSHGS BECAUSE I WANTED TO SEE HOW DIFFERENT IT WAS AFTER I SAW YOU ALL PERFORMING AND I WAS STRUCK BY YOUR CHARACTERS.

THERE ARE SOME OTHER COUPLES THAT THINGS HAVE BEEN FLIPPED AROUND A BIT TO MAKE THEM MORE TIMELY AND MEANINGFUL FOR US.

WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IN TERMS OF THE AUDIENCE REACTION, YOU KNOW, GETTING BACK INTO LIVE THEATER AND SEEING THIS?

NIKKI, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SEEING?

I WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY SURPRISED, YOU KNOW, I THOUGHT WITH AN AUDIENCE OF PEOPLE MASKED, ARE THEY NOT GOING TO RESPOND AS MUCH, ARE THEY GOING TO SCREAM AND CLAP AND DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS AND I HAVE TO SAY, IT'S BEEN PRETTY NORMAL OF AN EXPERIENCE AS FAR AS PERFORMING AND GETTING THE REACTION FROM THE AUDIENCE, WHICH HAS BEEN REALLY GREAT.

I MEAN, WE'VE HAD -- WE'VE BEEN LUCKY TO HAVE REALLY FULL HOUSES LATELY AND THEY SEEM TO REALLY BE ENJOYING IT AND WE'VE BEEN GETTING LOTS OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA, SO -- IN THAT WAY, I FEEL LIKE BROADWAY REALLY IS BACK AND WE FOUND A WAY TO SURVIVE IN THIS PANDEMIC.

CHRIS, I HAD MENTIONED TO YOU WHEN WE WERE TALKING BEFORE WE STARTED THIS, THE PERFORMANCE THAT WE SAW LAST WEEK WAS A MATINEE AND LITERALLY AS THE CURTAIN CAME UP, THE CROWD WENT CRAZY.

NOBODY STEPPED ON STAGE, NOBODY HAD DONE ANYTHING YET AND THE CROWD WENT CRAZY.

AND THE SENSE WAS, YOU KNOW, IT'S BACK.

WE'RE BACK.

YEAH.

THERE'S AN IMPLIED -- I BELIEVE THERE'S LIKE A -- IT FEELS LIKE THIS IMPLIED IN THOSE OF US WHO ARE PRESENTING THE EVENING OF ENTERTAINMENT AND THOSE WHO ARE WATCHING IT THAT WE ARE DOING SOMETHING IN SPITE OF.

WE ARE ALL KIND OF -- AND SO THERE'S THIS MOMENT ALMOST THAT WHEN THE CURTAIN, WHEN WE START, THAT I FEEL LIKE THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF A CELEBRATION OF THE FACT THAT WE'RE ACTUALLY DOING THIS THING TOGETHER, BECAUSE THAT'S THE THEATER, THE THEATER IS TOGETHER.

IT'S LIVE, IT'S NEVER THE SAME ON ANY GIVEN NIGHT AND YOU MAKE THIS CONTRACT WITH EACH OTHER THAT WE'RE GOING TO SIT HERE FOR 2 1/2 HOURS, MAYBE A LITTLE BIT LONGER, JUST A TAD LONGER, AND WE'RE ALL GOING TO KIND OF MAKE THIS CONTRACT TOGETHER --

RIGHT.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THIS EXPERIENCE TOGETHER AND REALLY YOU DO AS AN ACTOR HAVE -- YOU'RE HAVING AN EXPERIENCE, THE AUDIENCE IS HAVING AN EXPERIENCE --

IT HAPPENS.

IT HAPPENS.

YEAH.

AND I WISH WE HAD MORE TIME TO TALK, BECAUSE IT'S GREAT, BECAUSE AS YOU SAID THEATER IS WHAT WE LOOK TO WHEN WE NEED MEANING AND HELP AND THAT'S WHAT THIS SHOW DOES.

ONCE AGAIN, IT'S 'COMPANY,' IT'S BRILLIANT.

THANK YOU NIKKI AND CHRIS, SO MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

YOU ALL BE WELL NOW.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

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