Interview with Tony nominee Danny DeVito
Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Danny DeVito is currently nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway debut as Gregory Solomon in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Arthur Miller's The Price at Broadway's American Airlines Theatre.
He previously made his West End debut in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys in 2012.
Predominantly known for his Hollywood Heavyweight career on both the big and small screen, including such notable credits as Taxi, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, L.A. Confidential, Matilda, Batman Returns and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, we caught up with Danny to talk about the joys of playing the 90-year old Gregory Solomon on stage and the main draws of performing in live theatre...
Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations on a terrific performance in your Broadway debut, Danny, and on all your Awards nominations! I won’t soon forget the last image of The Price where we fade to black and your character is all alone and laughing to himself. Is it a case of “He who laughs last, laughs loudest” for Gregory Solomon?
Danny DeVito: Well, you know Solomon is probably the only one in the play who has a direct bounce. He’s coming back into his life at 90 years old and bouncing back. He’s been up and down and all over the world. He’s fought and risked his life. He’s done everything. He has the attitude of “Well, if the opportunity is there, take it!” And he does. I feel that’s part of that last laugh. There’s also a bitter sweetness to it, when I think of the fact that the other two characters are leaving and I’m left alone with all that furniture, it’s a bit of a daunting experience… even with my 90 years of experience of being a furniture dealer. But there is a joy to the fact that I did answer the phone, I did come and see it and I did make a good deal.
THM: Well, the price was right, Danny! In terms of your Broadway debut, what were your expectations beforehand and have they been met?
DDV: Oh, yes! They’ve been met over and over again. I love doing theatre! I also loved doing it in London’s West End with ‘The Sunshine Boys.’ That was great. And the main thing is that when you have a play like ‘The Sunshine Boys’ or ‘The Price’ written by masters like Neil Simon and Arthur Miller, you’re way ahead of the game. I love being there – being with the audience and working with the actors. Jessica Hecht, Tony Shalhoub and Mark Ruffalo are all really fine actors. You feel like you’re in good company. I’m basically in good hands! When you have a good play like that – and then add the fact that you’re in New York to it – it sends it through the roof!
THM: When you are so used to performing in front of a camera, what are the main draws for you about performing in front of a live audience?
DDV: Well, the good things are the synergy and the camaraderie between the audience and the actors, especially in a play like this… Well, any play really. The comedic parts are obvious because we surf with each other. The audience comes with you and once they are with you, you can play around and have some fun. It is improvising, but within the confines of what Arthur Miller has written. We don’t change the words, but still every day is different. Every audience is different and sometimes the rainy day audiences are the best. You really don’t know. It’s the unknown – that’s what I like about it.