NR: What do you do when you come here and you're just not in the mood? You're just
having a bad day?
DS: No, that's not an excuse. No, you pull it together.
NR: So, how do you do that?
DS: You know how you feel when you work out - you've had a crummy day and you ride the
bike for a half hour? You get on the bike and you do it. And when you're done you feel better.
So, there is a sense that once you get into it you will feel better because you have a focused
activity that's constructive, that you're doing with a group of people whom you love. So you
know that whatever sensation you're having, you have this thing where you're going
to make magic together. So, that's very healing. And at the end you feel like you've made a
(To Alyce) Have you seen me come in in a bad mood? (She shakes her head no.) Oh, don't LIE.
Don't lie. She asked me how do I get it together when I'm not in the mood. How do I go out
there? How do I put it together if it's such a big deal - How can you possibly come here in a
lousy mood and still do it. What do you see?
AB: Well, you sit here and you focus. You put your makeup on and everything and you put
everything that happened before out, and you think about ...
DS: That sounds a little pat. I mean, is that what you see me doing?
AB: Yeah. You sit there very quiet. I do your hair and you don't say anything, and you
just try to push everything away.
DS: That's true.
NR: OK. I want to talk about the League. Why do you think they've been so loyal? And
what do you think their contribution's been?
DS: I guess they've been loyal because it's a product that they like and enjoy going to.
I mean, why do you order eggs benedict twice? Because you like it. So, they like it. And they
feel regarded. I think those two things are sort of important.
NR: How do they feel regarded?
DS: I don't know because I only see what I do with them. But, I assume they must feel
regarded, otherwise why would they come back? You don't go to someplace where you're being
disregarded or disrespected. So, I certainly try to regard them. And that means make time, if
someone has a special occasion and I know that person I'll try to make time for them backstage,
make exceptions to the rules, make the boundaries of my personal life flexible so
that I will talk to them afterwards, make eye contact, remember their names, remember what
they're doing in their lives - this person's going to graduate school, this person's selling
concessions over at Beauty and the Beast, this person's first Broadway show is Jekyll
and Hyde. You know, whatever it is. So, if you try and remember them as you would want to be
remembered if you were making repeat visits. I think that's why they come back.
And, what effect have they had on the show? Well, they've certainly kept our spirits up in
difficult times. They are the conduit through which the audience response is most easily
manifested so when people say "We're not closing the show because people that do come love it."
It's really them saying, you know, to me "It's my sixth time." "It takes me out of myself." "I'm
having a good time." "It takes me away from work." "It's a bit of a healing." They express what
the rest of the audience is trying to tell us but we don't talk to them. I think they've had
incredible word-of-mouth and I think the Internet has ... one of the most fundamental ways that
the Broadway geometry has shifted back to a more neutral place, and the power has shifted out of
the critics' hands and back into the producers' and the actors' hands, or the creators' hands.
The triangle is producers, creators, meaning creative team including actors, and critics. The
triangle had shifted too much to critics I think and the
Internet and the League was one way of circumventing that unbalanced geometry. Did that answer
DS: I think that's the main contribution. They showed other producers that you could
theoretically bypass the critics, not bypass, but you can have a show run in spite of.
NR: You can pick whatever order you want to answer these, but what's the best part and
the worst part of your job?
DS: The worst part of my job?
NR: Yeah. There's got to be something bad.
DS: Fatigue, drain, strain, the strain it has on my life, other than my professional
life. That I don't have time for my personal things. My personal relationships have suffered. My
relationship to my environment has suffered, if you want to call my spiritual relationship has
suffered. My health has suffered. My ability to encounter other professional projects has
suffered. All as a result of physical and mental strain just trying to keep up with the demands
of the piece. The best part of it is ... The best part of my job ... (laughs) Oh, God, that's
really tough. What do you guys think?
DS: Besides that. What's the best part of my job? What does it look like I enjoy most,
AB: Being out there.
JG: (teasing) Having a room full of burgeoning actors and actresses sitting at your
feet ... and pontificating a sermon on the mount.
DS: Mm hm.
JG: I mean that's flattering. I know you enjoy that. I know you like sharing. I know you
like having the chance to speak to people and maybe give them a little guidance 'cause you've
often mentioned, "I wish there was someone in my past like me who said 'OK, here's a pitfall and
here's a good way to go.'" I think it's kind of nice that you're in a position to do that.
DS: That's true. Yes, that's probably true. The nicest thing is helping friends, and new
friends, but mostly old friends succeed, get work, get out of debt, whatever it is I can help
people do as a result of this position that I've been put in for a little while. That's probably
the best part. But there's many things that run a very close second.
NR: What Jennifer said segues nicely into my next question. What's the best advice you
DS: "Don't show, just be." Which goes for rehearsals, which goes for people. Don't worry
about showing someone. In other words, on stage, don't show that you're angry, just be angry.
Just be in the moment. Be in the scene. Don't worry about showing somebody. In rehearsals, don't
show someone you ... just be there. Don't make a show of it. Let your work speak for itself.
Don't talk too much. Don't make a show of it. Just be it. That's probably the best ... I don't
know who said that.
Oh, I take that back. There is one other thing I used to follow a lot, which guided me through a
lot. Which is ... Lawrence Olivier said ... I used to follow this a lot. This was a big thing
for me. (Laughing) I told you I like a dare. It's a good thing. I like a dare. Lawrence Olivier
said, "If you want to be an actor, you should astound yourself with your personal courage every
day." Which to me meant once a day, at least once a day. Astound yourself with your personal
courage, which means do something you weren't going to do, or were too frightened to do, and if
you can't, you weren't meant to be an actor, 'cause it's too tough a row to hoe. And I used that
a lot to get through hesitant situations. Like, if you can't do this, you're not going to be an
actor. If you can't pretend you're a beggar in the subway with a cup in your hand, and whatever
it is that you have to do for this role, or whatever. I use that all the time. That's probably
the best advice because it made me very daring.
NR: What do you do when you're completely off or on vacation?
NR: Well, what would you do if you had vacation? What do you wish you had more time for?
DS: Reading and the gym. And travel. But I sort of don't think I can travel while this
show's going on so I don't think of that as concurrent activities. You know, when it's over then
I'll go. What was the other part of the question?
NR: What do you do when you're off, or on vacation, if that ever happens?
DS: Well, I try to regenerate but I also have to take care of my life. It's hard. I just
try and keep up without drowning - whether it's taxes or returning phone calls or whatever it is
I just don't seem to have enough time in the day to even get the little, just the minimum done.
I'm drowning usually - drowning in paperwork, drowning in scripts to read, drowning in
rehearsals or publicity events to go to.
NR: If you had something to do over again what would it be?
DS: Yeah, when I wrote those Ten Commandments on the tablets, I probably would have done
three tablets, I think it's easier to read.
NR: OK. That's it? So, you've done every single thing the way you've wanted to do it.
DS: No, but I don't think that way. That's not my paradigm. I don't look at them as
balls in a pinball - "I want another shot at that if I can just hit that flipper faster." That's
not the paradigm for life for me. Things occur, you encounter them as best you can and they
inform the next thing that comes along. If you were to go back and change them then you wouldn't
be so informed to encounter that next event that way. I mean, you're talking about changing
fundamental dynamism of how events occur. It's just not how I think.
Would I do things over again? Would I have loved to have been there to keep my brother from
being killed? Sure, I mean how silly can that question get? But, I just don't encounter it that
way. I don't think of things that way. Things happen and you do the best you can. I don't think
of it that way. I also don't think that that's a healthful way. I don't think that that is
informative or in any way shape or form will help you encounter your environment or existence.
So I don't think it's even good to think that way.