Rose Byrne and the 'You Can't Take It With You' Cast on Crazy Family Memories
"You know what else James Earl Jones said? He said, 'Farts are funny. There’s no getting around it' "
Rose Byrne's first Broadway opening night was "a blur."
"At one point, something fell down the stairs during this big confronting scene I had," says Byrne, who stars alongside James Earl Jones in the Broadway revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's You Can't Take It With You, which opened at the Longacre Theatre on Sunday night. "Anyway, we pushed on, and I made it through. Opening is always surreal. I haven't done a play for many years so I'm taking it one day at a time."
Byrne celebrated the special night alongside many celebrity guests, including her boyfriend Bobby Cannavale, Victor Garber, John Lithgow, Glenn Close, Carrie Preston, Billy Magnussen, Mary Louise Parker, David Hyde Pierce, and her co-stars Annaleigh Ashford, Fran Kranz, Kristine Nielsen, Elizabeth Ashley, Julie Halston, Byron Jennings, Reg Rogers, Johanna Day, Marc Damon Johnson, Will Brill, Mark Linn-Baker, Patrick Kerr, Joe Tapper, Karl Kenzler, Austin Durant, Nick Corley and Crystal A. Dickinson.
"Opening nights are really weird. You can't deny it. Anyone that says otherwise I think is full of it," Kranz told The Hollywood Reporter before the party at Brasserie 8 1/2. "This my second Broadway show and the last show I did [Death of a Salesman with Andrew Garfield and Philip Seymour Hoffman], I remember coming to the theater Tuesday after opening and just feeling like a great weight was lifted."
Hart and Kaufman's 1936 play, which won the Pulitzer Prize, centers on the eccentric Sycamores. The family's antics amp up when their daughter Alice becomes engaged to Tony Kirby, her boss' son from Manhattan's upper echelon.
Byrne remembered one of her favorite memories spent with her family. "My father bets on horses, and he won a quinella once, and he took us all to New York for the first time when I was 18," she said. "And we stayed at The Mark, and it was snowing when we arrived and Frank Sinatra was playing at the hotel. That was an amazing trip."
Nielsen plays the quirky family matriarch, Penelope. She says she derives "more than a little" inspiration from her own mother. "My mother was very much like a Penelope," Nielsen said. "I've done a lot of crazy things with my mother. My mother used to be a big historian, and she loved to go to Salem and to Concord and Lexington. And she would go up to homes and knock on their door if she thought they were nice homes. The person would answer the door, and she would go, 'I think you have a beautiful home.' They'd invite us in, and we'd have tea with them and then we'd become friends. And as a child, I would be horrified that we were knocking on these strangers' doors."
Ashford, who plays Alice's quirky, ballet-obsessed sister Essie, remembered her grandmother's wackiness. "When things got awkward, she would just say, 'Pull my finger,' and I would and then she'd fart," Ashford recalled. "When you were little, that was the most fabulous thing that ever happened."
"I told James [Earl Jones] this the other day," continued Ashford. "I said, 'My grandma used to say "Pull my finger" and then she'd fart.' And he went, 'What?' And I said, 'She used to say "Pull my finger." ' And he went, 'Oh good. I thought she said "Pull my wiener." ' You know what else James Earl Jones said? He said, 'Farts are funny. There's no getting around it.' "