Thinking about who should play Gary, the titular street clown at the center of Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, playwright Taylor Mac had not thought of Nathan Lane. But when Broadway producer Scott Rudin suggested him, Mac immediately said yes.
Not just because you need a big name star to sell a black comedy sequel to Shakespeare’s goriest work that features three characters Mac named Gary, Janice, and Carol, but because the writer needed someone who could carry the optimism and moroseness, the comedy and intensity of the lead role. The collaboration led Mac to a Tony Award nomination for Best Play—his Broadway debut.
Mac molded the role for Lane, but not morseo than any previous works. “My theory of writing is that everybody changes for the art,” Mac tells Playbill. “So I changed my own vision for the art and I expect other people to change their vision for the art.”
READ: Why Nathan Lane Follows Up Angels in America With Taylor Mac’s Gary
On May 14, Mac was able to honor Lane’s uncanny ability to always morph for the sake of the art. The New Dramatists, a seven-year fellowship program established to help new writers and of which Mac is an alum, honored Nathan Lane at their annual luncheon_and Mac was on hand to deliver a very special toast to Lane, the New Dramatists, and how “downtown” theatre is taking over uptown! Listen to the speech below!