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Nathan Lane had a deja vu moment on Thursday. On the opening night of It’s Only a Play, he told The Hollywood Reporter that his favorite opening-night memory ever was another he shared with co-star Matthew Broderick: The Producers.
“Harvey Weinstein running in with the New York Times and giving it to us and reading it at the party — it was very nice,” he recalled at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. It’s a moment eerily similar to one in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play, which takes place above a post-premiere bash as producers await the reviews for a fictional show called The Golden Egg.
Lane is the first castmember to arrive at the party for the play, which ran Off-Broadway in 1986 and has been updated with references to Kelly Ripa, Harvey Fierstein, James Franco and Hillary Clinton, to name a few.
“It’s naughty because all those names are named, but that’s just the way we talk,” said director Jack O’Brien before ducking into the West Side Ballroom for a well-deserved drink. “In spite of what you think, it’s not a play for insiders. It’s a play basically for people who wonder if we’re really human, and it shows the human side of our industry.”
Broderick arrived with wife Sarah Jessica Parker (in an Elie Saab Haute Couture lace dress), who wouldn’t take any credit for Broderick’s work onstage. “I did nothing! Absolutely nothing! I’m a mere audience member. I didn’t help you learn one line,” she exclaimed, adding that their 11-year-old son James Wilkie “was disappointed to not come tonight, but he, on his own, decided that his science and math homework was more important. That’s the truth! And he said, ‘I’m sad to miss it because I’d love to cause a controversy if I get the chance to be interviewed.'”
What makes Broderick’s onstage partnership with Lane so successful? “We really like each other, and we laugh at the same things,” he told THR, as Parker added that they’re “as different as can be.”
Marisa Tomei, Anna Wintour, Zachary Quinto, Kristin Chenoweth, Eddie Izzard, Jason Patric, Louis C.K. and Angela Lansbury also celebrated the Broadway show’s opening with the show’s stars F. Murray Abraham and Stockard Channing. “I block the whole thing out,” Channing said of opening nights altogether. “I’m glad when it’s over.”
Rupert Grint, making his Broadway debut and spending the evening surrounding by fans, was somewhat uncertain about what to expect. “Hopefully this will be a very different opening night,” he said, comparing it to the show’s plot, and joking that he may have “blacked out briefly” during the performance.
Once the craziness slightly subsided, Megan Mullally made a fashionably late entrance with husband Nick Offerman. “It’s like being in one of those mirror funhouses at the county fair,” she said of the “surreal” nature of the evening compared to the show’s chaotic plot, as an admiring party guest reached over the velvet rope to say, “Hysterical, and you look beautiful,” to the actress. “Opening nights are always exciting,” Mullally continued. “On the other hand, you kind of wish you didn’t have to do them.”
Inside, John Slattery said of the show, “I loved it. It was great. Terrence McNally’s writing, those guys doing it, everybody in it; it was great,” Slattery said, as he quickly points out, “That’s Maura Tierney from ER — look! You should ask her a question!”
Tierney ducked away, passing by Mullally and Offerman posing for photos, though Bravo’s Andy Cohen was eager to share his thoughts. “I loved it — the 10 minutes of all of them reading the Times review and their reactions to it was just great. Hilarious perfect moment in the theater.”
Just before heading out, Lane was pulled into a group shot with McNally, Grint and newcomer Micah Stock, who plays the coat check boy in the show, and was in McNally’s And Away We Go last season. When Lane saw that Off-Broadway production, he told Stock, “Well, you’re a star!”
“I’m really just pinching myself every second,” said Stock, who wore a double-breasted navy tuxedo that admittedly wasn’t his and stayed until around 1 a.m., when the venue turned on its lights. “Even right now, I’m mentally pinching myself.”
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