PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Dividing the Plantation, With Scarlett Claws

By Harry Haun
18 Jan 2013

Ciaran Hinds and Debra Monk
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Benjamin Walker has landed from his recent Presidencies (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer") on crutches and in a stupor as the tormented Brick but is happy to be here. "I like him because he struggles with communication and affection," the actor said. "I think everybody can relate to that, and he struggles with it in a very genuine way. He's not self-conscious. He's just trying to connect the same way we all do. It's a very complicated character and a very beautiful, complicated play, but I am surrounded by an amazing cast, with Rob Ashford at the helm. I get my towel on, and my job's pretty much not to screw it up."

From the Devil in The Seafarer to Big Daddy, Ciarán Hinds seems be stuck in the D's on Broadway. "Yeah, absolutely — like Desperate," he cracked. It must have been a pretty wide net that Ashford threw to come up with an Irishman for Big Daddy. "We met in London about a possible job there two years ago, and I was committed to something else, and he very kindly asked me to step up again, and I was free. It's great to be asked up to it, but you have to step up to it and do it. In the end, you have to just put everything away and go to work. So I got to work, and I worked and worked and worked, and so, when something releases, you get comfortable with everybody else together. It's about the whole. It's not about the individual but the whole."


Rob Ashford
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Big Mama literally stumbles into the play, but Debra Monk can't remember who came up with that hilarious bit of business. "I think it was all of us. You know, you try these things out." She has done a remarkable job of physicalizing the character, moving about the stage like a rough, rural woman, which Big Mama is, of course. "You put the heels on, you walk around in them — we worked on a raked stage from the very beginning. Part of it was all that and the words and the room and all that."

Meryl Streep topped an exceedingly starry night in the theatre, but, being mother-in-law to the leading man, kept her usual low profile and skipped the party at Chelsea Piers. Refugees from a sweltering Southern drama were welcomed with mint juleps.

The chef there had laid out quite an extensive Southern spread: barbequed pulled pork, cornbread, blackened catfish, Cajun bayou chicken, southern peach chutney, collard greens, corn pudding, fried green tomatoes, all-American salad. For dessert: lemon squares, apple cobbler, Mississippi mud chocolate, banana pudding parfait.

I thought I saw Ghost Skipper wafting about the party, but it was Harvey Evans, still riding a cloud from his 75th birthday, showing no signs of showing down.

Death of a Salesman Tony nominee Linda Emond gave Hinds a big hello after the show. They were Texas marrieds in a 2008 movie called "Stop-Loss" and developed a mutual fondness for tequila. She also said attention must be paid to who she's been filmmaking with of late. Heads up, Mr. Ripley: "I just did two films back-to-back with — are you ready? — Spike Lee and Terrence Malick. How cool is that? One in New Orleans ['Old Boy'], and one in Austin, TX ['Project 5'] — one week and then the next week." "Do the Right Thing" v. "The Tree of Life" — they don't come much more polar.