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December 29, 2008


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Though I'm rarely one to be especially kind to actors, especially major stars who haul in a bunch of bucks (which fits Piven, Macy and certainly Butz), or even to care too much about the vicissitudes of Broadway, I kind of come down on the side of putting him on not fully off-book and that that's what makes him a "hero." Such as there are. Listen, of course all actors have tricks to get themselves off-book and everything, but I think you're right Isaac: most of those tricks are put in place in the rehearsal hall. NLB is kind of a big star and probably pulled out of a bunch of other smaller things to do this on really short notice. Yes, there are theatre gigs with short turnaround time, but not one that he's been doing lately (or Macy for that matter, but Macy's got a longer lead time). It is ballsy to go out on stage, in a three-character play where you're playing the central character without the benefit of rehearsal. And the producers are wise to captialize on it. People love stunts, they love tricks, they love to watch it all almost crash and burn. That's part of the fun of live theater, or, really, of any live event.

It's totally every day and it's totally their job, and we should still cheer them along. The way we cheer along with Mariano Rivera when he comes into a game that had a big lead and is now teetering on the brink because the wheels came off of the star pitcher and he loads the bases, but gets that last out. Yeah, he's doing his job, but his job is exciting. (Okay, got my obligatory sports reference and I'm out!)


Ha! Good point, 99. My goal was not to piss on NLB's wheeties or anything (as I said, I like the guy and I think it's great he's coming in and, if I could afford it, I might even go see him in it) I just don't know how *grateful* to WHM and NLB we should be as opposed to excited, enthused, on their side etc.


Quick correction, I believe, Isaac. Seems to me Butz was only on stage script in hand after ONE week's rehearsal, not two.

And I concur Butz & Macy are no "heroes." And I'm sure they're handsomely compensated. But there's a difference between heroes and just "good sports" or just expressing admiration. If you're getting the feeling some of the press is calling them heroes (and I'm not sure which you're referring to) maybe it's because they sure ARE heroes to the producers! Who are surely the main source for these kinds of stories, as usual.

Finaly: thanks for alerting me to Mike D's point. But aren't both you and he leaving out something, um, glaringly relevant to his commenting on this? Namely, that Mike Daisey--fab performer that he is--NEVER goes out on stage "off-book."
Yes, it's an outline, but still, is this not analogous?

(That piece of paper of his has even gotten him in some trouble, I recall...)


PS. Mike, I kid!

It's just hard for me not to think of that when reading you diss Butz.

But perhaps you can take this opportunity again to describe your process, your relation to your on stage notes, and why you don't see that as "on book".

Mike Daisey

"Quick correction, I believe, Isaac. Seems to me Butz was only on stage script in hand after ONE week's rehearsal, not two."

He had a week from being asked til rehearsals started, and then a week of rehearsals. That is two weeks.

"Namely, that Mike Daisey--fab performer that he is--NEVER goes out on stage "off-book." Yes, it's an outline, but still, is this not analogous?"

Not really--I don't use a script of any kind, so there's no real corollary. It'd be more accurate to say that I'm off-book forever, from inception, but basically the analogy falls apart either way.

Besides, I intentionally didn't draw on my monologue experience--I've played the role he's playing as a traditional actor, and I know, from experience, how much work is needed to make it happen. He should have been more diligent.

James Urbaniak

Man, Daisey really poured cold water over the guy. So to speak.

Mike Daisey

Ba-dum PAH!

Yeah, I was pretty harsh. I think I'll do a follow-up, as I think I should clarify that I am being harsh because it is called for--it's standards. But I do hope he kicks ass, and that he does a great job.


I think the rush to get Butz in seats is really a shame. I've followed u/s Jordan Lage's work since our nyu days, and he's as fine an actor as you'll find. The need for name cred' is such a bitch, and ya wonder why we'll never have a rep' company on Bway.

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