Art imitates life as married Broadway actors play husband and wife on stage too
Boyd Gaines, 59, and Kathleen McNenny, 50, met 20 years ago and are appearing together as a couple in Broadway's An Enemy of the People.
The new version of Henrik Ibsen's play, opening September 27, revolves around a married couple who have also been together for 20 years.
17:06 GMT, 11 September 2012
Few people will be able to accuse Boyd Gaines and Kathleen McNenny of not having any onstage chemistry.
The actors, who met 20 years ago and went on to marry and have a child, are appearing together as a couple for the first time in a serious case of art imitating life.
'The play is about a marriage that is at
least 20 years old. It's about a marriage that has children,' Ms NcNenny, 50, said of their respective parts, and instant intimacy. 'If we come in with people we didn't know, there's a
period of time before you even start to build with that. With us, a lot
of steps got cut out of the process.'
Chemistry: Boyd Gaines and Kathleen McNenny, who met 20 years ago and went on to marry and have a child, are appearing together as a couple for the first time in a serious case of art imitating life
New York theatergoers be
able to see the husband-and-wife team up close as they star in Manhattan
Theatre Club's An Enemy of the People, a new version of Henrik
Ibsen's play opening September 27 on Broadway.
Mr Gaines plays a public-minded doctor in a small town who discovers the
water supply for the public spa is contaminated and may have made
tourists – the community's economic lifeblood – ill.
But his efforts to
clean up the mess pit his ethics against political cowards and the
media. His family suffers – including his wife, played by Ms McNenny.
Ms McNenny said during a joint interview: 'You always want to work with people that are better than you. Not only do I get to work with someone who is better – who's really, really great to be onstage with – but I also feel safe. I don't feel intimidated by it because it's my husband.'
However her four-time Tony Award-winning husband, 59, takes issue with that. He said: 'I'm certainly not better than she is. God knows that is not true. I'm always dumbstruck by how creative Kathy is and how much she brings to the table.'
'I don't feel intimidated by it because it's my husband'
Fitting for a pair of actors, Gaines and McNenny first became smitten while onstage.
They had been paired as the lovers Luciana and Antipholus of Ephesus in the 1992 Public Theater production of William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors in Central Park.
They had briefly met before while shooting the 1991 miniseries A Woman Named Jackie, but it was really when The Comedy of Errors director Caca Rosset set up private meetings with his cast that they first connected.
Mr Gaines went first to meet Mr Rosset and when he came out, Ms McNenny was waiting her turn. The director reintroduced them and asked the pair, 'So, do you think you can fall in love'
Opening soon: The husband-and-wife team star in Manhattan Theatre Club's An Enemy of the People, a new version of Henrik Ibsen's play opening September 27 on Broadway
'We both shrugged our shoulders and went, “Well, sure. That's our job. We were going to act that,”' Mr Gaines recalled. Ms McNenny, too, was game: 'I said, “Sure, I'll fall in love with him. Fine.”'
And after the show ended, they began dating.
Over the years, they have shared a stage only rarely. There was a two-night benefit on Broadway in 2002 and a play at the Westport Country Playhouse a year later. They also were in A.R. Gurney's Sylvia in 2010 at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J. But that's about it, until now.
Why so few times sharing a stage 'First of all, Boyd can do musicals and I can't,' said Ms McNenny.
'Well, they let me do them occasionally. I don't know if I can do them,' says her husband, modestly. 'Certainly not well.