Exclusive! Audra McDonald & Will Swenson on Sharing the Stage Again

first_imgBroadway power couple Audra McDonald and Will Swenson met during the 2007 revival of 110 in the Shade. Eight years, a wedding, two Tonys and several starring roles later, the couple shares the stage once again in A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The production, directed by Gordon Edelstein, begins on August 5.“We’re getting to know each other in a completely different way,” McDonald told Broadway.com of collaborating on the Eugene O’Neill drama. Though Swenson understudied Bill Starbuck in 110 in the Shade and did go on opposite McDonald’s Lizzie, they never rehearsed together. “We’re learning who we are in the creative process. It’s a new experience to get to know someone you think you already know so well, but in a different light.”“I’m just learning so much from her,” said Swenson. “It’s such a gigantic intimidating piece. I hope I can keep up.” While Swenson boasts an impressive musical theater résumé (including a Tony-nominated turn in Hair and—most recently—Les Miserables), a straight play is a far less common undertaking for him.It’s a “new experience” not just to share the stage, but also to deviate from the roles of husband and wife. The play tells the story of Josie (McDonald), who seduces her family’s landlord (Swenson) out of fear that she and her father will lose their property. Not exactly stuff that comes with raising a family together at Eggfartopia.“It’s great to have your scene partner come home so you can continue to work,” said McDonald, “but we’re not taking the drama home.” Swenson added: “It helps once you have kids. You leave the drama from work and you come home to new drama.”Appropriately, as working together is a novel experience, tackling O’Neill is equally new territory for both. McDonald, a six-time Tony Award winner who will return to Broadway next year in Shuffle Along…, revealed that starring opposite one another was always on the wish list, though timing prevented it. But now, “It’s come together in this fantastic, kismet way.”And while it won’t include the O’Neill prose, you might also catch them together at Swenson’s 54 Below solo show debut. He’s still working on the set list, which will include personal favorites, tunes from his past and special guest. “Hopefully Audra won’t be too busy. I think I’ve gotten her OK to come in and sing a song with me.”A Moon for the Misbegotten will play the Williamstown Theatre Festival Main Stage through August 23. The production also features Glynn Turman, Howard W. Overshown and Aaron Costa Ganis. View Commentslast_img

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