PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: The Bridges of Madison County — Caught Between a Hard Rock and a Place

By Harry Haun
21 Feb 2014

Marsha Norman
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Next up for Norman, on March 31, is an anniversary — her 20th year of co-chairing, with Christopher Durang, the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School. "We've been kept in complete darkness about this," she admitted, "but I know all the alums are coming. Maybe it'll be like a roast. I really just don't know what will happen."

Hunter Foster, who has the thankless role of the blank-but-loving husband, brings his down-home agrarian authority to the character. "It seems to be a theme," Foster conceded slyly. "This is my third character in a row who has been sorta rural-based: I did Million Dollar Quartet, Hands on a Hardbody and now this." (His sister, Sutton Foster, also Georgia-born, is good about working the region as well; next: Violet.)

In praise of playing the cuckold, he said, "It was a very small role in the picture, but in this production, you see more of her home life. You see more of her husband and her kids. It actually makes it more of a struggle for her, because you know who the husband is and who the kids are. I think it was important they do that, dramatically."

Vocally, he gets some rough-hewn licks in with a bar song ("Something From a Dream") and a gospel-eque number ("When I'm Gone"). The latter song is started on its rough road by Michael X. Martin, the next door neighbor, and it's his big musical moment. "What a beautiful song! It rings deep, and it comes at a great time in the show. I think this is a song that's going to be done at memorials because it's just a beautiful, hopeful kind of song. If I could sing it at my own memorial, I would."