PLAYBILL BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Sharr White, Playwright of Broadway's The Other Place

By Mervyn Rothstein
19 Jan 2013

Laurie Metcalf in The Other Place.
Photo by Joan Marcus
What about other people in the role in other productions of the play?
SW: I've been lucky enough to see it two other times. The fortunate thing is that it works. It works beautifully. Everybody's going to bring their own personality to it. There was a wonderful production in San Francisco [at Magic Theatre] just before this production. Henny Russell starred. She's understudying in New York. She was wonderful in San Francisco. So I'm not concerned about it.

How did the play get to Broadway?
SW: Manhattan Theatre Club had seen the script in an earlier form and had always loved the play. And after the MCC run ended they felt that they wanted to bring the play to a larger audience. So I feel very fortunate about that too. Because the MCC run was difficult to end. We felt we had built a wonderful experience. We're all very happy that it has been able to have this much larger second life.

How do you feel about having a play on Broadway?
SW: It feels on one hand incredible and on the other hand unbelievable. I think every playwright ultimately wants a play on Broadway or wonders how it would be to have a play on Broadway. But few get the chance. So I just feel really fortunate to be involved with the people I've been involved with who've been such advocates of the play.

Were there many changes between MCC and Broadway?
SW: I did some changes. I would say there were few changes but crucial ones. There's a lot of medical language in the play, and after conversations with Joe [Mantello] and with Manhattan Theatre Club I did some trims on that medical language just to pull the medical aspect of the play back and pull Juliana's, the protagonist's, story forward. It's a very lean script. I think what occurred because of [the changes] was a very large result.