Al Pacino returns to 'Glengarry Glen Ross'
|Al Pacino returns to 'Glengarry Glen Ross'|
by Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY
For six of the seven actors featured in a new Broadway production of Glengarry Glen Ross, a press conference on Wednesday was in part an opportunity to pay homage to Al Pacino. But Pacino, the seventh cast member, was a reluctant idol.
Asked at one point how it felt to be an icon, Pacino said, "I just don't take it seriously. But I think it's fine. Why not? Somebody's got to be me." The stage and screen veteran, a two-time Tony Award winner, apologized for his lack of eloquence in responding to another question: "I was trying to find my articulate vein, which is why I do theater -- because the playwright usually has it for me."
In the revival of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play -- which begins previews Oct. 16 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, in preparation for a Nov. 11 opening -- Pacino is cast as Shelly Levene, an aging real estate agent desperate to recapture a little of his past glory in an increasingly cutthroat business. Bobby Cannavale is cast as Ricky Roma, the current office hot shot, whom Pacino played memorably in a 1992 film version, also starring Jack Lemmon as Levene.
Pacino and Cannavale were joined by castmates David Harbour, Jeremy Shamos, Richard Schiff, John C. McGinley and Murphy Guyer, as well as director Daniel Sullivan -- who last directed Pacino on Broadway in an acclaimed 2010 staging of The Merchant of Venice -- and lead producer Jeffrey Richards.
Sullivan said that Pacino's interest in tackling Levene had intrigued him, but added that he had wanted to stage Glengarry for a long time. "It's one of the best plays I know, if not the best play, about business, and certainly about American business. It's a play that continues to change, as all great plays do, with the times."
The director noted that the last Broadway revival, in 2005, "took place during the real-estate bubble -- and we know what happened to that. The action of the play remains the same, but we see it through a different prism each time we do it."
Cannavale said he found it "fascinating" that the play -- first produced in 1982, in London, oddly enough -- was "never done in New York during the Clinton years. It was done during the Bush administration, and now it's being done in tough times as well. I think the play will resonate a lot. It's a perfect play -- there's not a spare word in it."
Of working with Pacino, Cannavale said, "It's like a dream come true. I had this guy's posters all over my wall."
Pacino quipped, "It's been a letdown ever since."
Harbour, who worked with Pacino in The Merchant of Venice, added, "More than anyone I know, he has this kind of childlike joy about creating characters."
The new Glengarry's biggest star also spoke admiringly of his colleagues, and of Mamet, whose work Pacino is very familiar with: "I did American Buffalo all over the world," he reminded reporters. "(Mamet) has a very specific style of writing. You can't say it's naturalism. It has its own pentameter, like Shakespeare. And it's just a joy."
Pacino also spoke enthusiastically about theater in general. "It's a joy to be on any stage, anywhere, but Broadway in particular, because it's my home -- it's where I started, and where I had my debut, where my life changed when I did a play called Does A Tiger Wear A Necktie many years ago." (It was in 1969, to be precise.)
Acting in front of a live audience "actually works on your adrenaline, those endorphins in your body," he noted. "It's in a way habit-forming. When you're away from the theater long enough, you feel the need to go back there."
Al Pacino returns to 'Glengarry Glen Ross' â€“ USATODAY.com
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