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Now Opening: ‘Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus’ Starring Nathan Lane

Category Broadway

|by Ron Fassler |

The new play is a comic continuation of Shakespeare’s bloodiest work

There will probably be no more challenging play opening on Broadway to the general theatergoing public this season than Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. Kudos must be given in advance to the most prolific producer in town, Scott Rudin, who is taking a considerable risk by exposing the renowned playwright and performance artist Taylor Mac to Broadway audiences. And a shoutout is also due to the play’s star, three-time Tony Award winner Nathan Lane, who never once appears to rest on his laurels, and is forever seeking new ways to broaden his already proven considerable range. Under the direction of five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, who last season brought new depths to Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh with Denzel Washington, Gary has given all involved a run for their money. “We’re doing a downtown show uptown,” Lane told Playbill. “That’s either going to be refreshing to people or bewildering. It’s always a gamble on Broadway no matter what. But I think it’s worth it.”

Nathan Lane stars in ‘Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus’ on Broadway (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

Nathan Lane stars in ‘Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus’ on Broadway (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

For anyone interested in Gary, it might be wise to brush up on their Shakespeare. The play is set in ancient Rome in the aftermath of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, which includes an inordinate amount of dead bodies that need tidying up (and burying) after battle. It falls upon the character of Gary, one of the clowns Shakespeare mentions almost in an aside, to clean up the mess – a mess made by a general such as Titus in the first place, as well as politicians – none of whom ever seem to take responsibility for cleaning things up themselves. “I’m really interested in – especially right now – cycles of mess, cycles of revenge,” the playwright told Howlround last year. “That cycle is fascinating, and it seems we need a play about it from the perspective of people who are responsible for the cleanup, but who don’t get any of the benefits of the mess or the cleanup.”

Later in the three-character play, Gary is joined on stage by two women. “They’re not even onstage characters (in Titus),” says Lane, “and (Taylor) made them the stars of this so-called sequel and named them Gary, Janice and Carol, which makes me laugh.” And as played by such sparkling talents as Julie White (Tony Award winner for The Little Dog Laughed) and Kristine Nielsen (Tony-nominated for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), guaranteed laughs will indeed be had. 

For the uninitiated, who is Taylor Mac, author of Gary? A Guggenheim fellow and a self-described “American actor, playwright, performance artist, director, producer and singer-songwriter,” as well as a 2017 Genius Grant recipient, Mac (who prefers using the pronoun “judy”) was also a finalist that same year for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the massive work A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Mac has performed the world over, and is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the Resident playwright at the Here Arts Center.

The masterful design team behind Gary includes Santo Loquasto (set), Ann Roth (costumes) and Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting), who have 18 Tony Awards between them. Bloody, but unbowed, all involved will hopefully be taking onstage bows to cheering crowds once Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus opens April 21st at the Booth Theatre.

For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in April 2019.

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