The eighties

In 1982 director John Madden (MRS. BROWN) was casting for a Broadway revival of Henrik Ibsen's “Ghosts.” They were having difficulty filling the role of Oswald when I was recommended to John by a wonderful casting director, Mary Calhoun, and ended up getting the part. Liv Ullman was cast as Oswald’s mother. This was to be the performance that got me my Equity card so it was a pretty serious production. I was 20 years old and already on Broadway, barely a year after leaving Juilliard. At the same time that I was rehearsing “Ghosts” during the day, I was playing Paul in a play called “Barbarians” by British playwright Barrie Keefe at the Soho Repertory Theater at night.

After my Broadway debut, I spent a few years doing regional theater anywhere I could; I did a production of “The Mousetrap” for the Barter Theater at their winter home at the University of Virginia; I was the understudy for Brad Davis, who was starring opposite Kathleen Turner in a play called “Toyer,” directed by the great Tony Richardson at the Kennedy Center; I portrayed Philinte in Molière’s “The Misanthrope” at the Seattle Repertory Theater; I played Jack in “Real Dreams,” written & directed by Trevor Griffiths, at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.

My first big break came when I returned to New York and got an audition for the Tom Stoppard play “The Real Thing,” directed by Mike Nichols. After this audition I was approached by Nichols himself, who asked me to audition to be the understudy for his other Broadway production, David Rabe's “Hurlyburly.” Mike then gave me a choice: to either go on the road with “The Real Thing” or to stay in New York and cover all the male roles in “Hurlyburly.” I decided to stay and started out by playing Phil, which was Harvey Keitel's part, and eventually played three out of the four roles. My stint as Mickey was the longest, when star Ron Silver was shooting a film in Canada for six weeks.

I later had a great experience playing Konstantin in Anton Chekhov's “The Seagull,” directed by Peter Sellers, opposite the supreme Colleen Dewhurst, at the Kennedy Center. I adored being on stage with her! I then I did a production of “Sleuth” at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. It was the last production at the theater's site, which was a converted supermarket, before it relocated to the New Brunswick Cultural Center.  

In 1986 Mike Nichols cast me in my first movie role in his film HEARTBURN, co-starring Jack Nicholson. The film was about the marriage between Nora Ephron and Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. I was cast in a small role, as a thief who mugs Meryl Streep's entire group therapy class, but it was a funny and enjoyable part.

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