A Comic Relief Master Class: Bridges Cass Morgan and Michael X. Martin Share the Secret to Their Onstage Marriage
April 11th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
In the grand tradition of Bewitched, Three’s Company and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Broadway’s The Bridges of Madison County features two neighbors you just can’t get enough of. Cass Morgan plays Marge (the nosy neighbor with binoculars who ends up being a great friend to Kelli O’Hara’s Francesca) and Michael X. Martin plays Charlie (the lovable straight man to Marge’s more comic antics). Together the pair offers a comic relief master class: navigating audiences through this emotional piece without ever becoming untrue to the tone or their characters. BroadwayBox caught up with Morgan and Martin to find out the secret to this dynamic duet.
What was your first impression of your co-star?
Tall, dark, handsome and nice. A total professional.
Open, fun, diligent, genuine, zero-b.s.
What do you think it is that makes your performances gel so well together?
First of all, I'm glad to know you think we do gel well together. We really enjoy working together, and have since day one. Also, our Marge and Charlie scenes are so wonderfully written, that it's a joy to share it with the audience every night. And it would seem that we are both really well cast, so I have to think Bart Sher knew we would be a good team.
I think we both understand our characters better than anybody, and we are in total agreement (without having really talked it all over) about what our onstage marriage is. Also, we are both very open to, and in tune with, what the audience brings to the show each night.
My favorite moment on stage with him is
That is really hard, but it has to be our scene early in Act 2, when Charlie is eating his sandwich. Michael times it so perfectly, for optimum realism as well as comic effect. Really fun.
They are all pretty damn good, but our first scene in Act 2 is so much fun. The rhythm is very delicate (I can’t believe I said that), and it can vary from audience to audience. Regardless, Cass will always make it feel like a cross between Noel Coward, the Acrobats of China, and every good episode of Hee Haw.
The most memorable performance we shared has been
This would have to be our first preview, when we got to share what we'd been doing for weeks and weeks, in rehearsal. You think (and hope) what you are doing is funny, and real, but until your audience tells you, you don't really know.
I’m remembering the very first audience in Williamstown, prior to coming to New York. We came offstage after our first couple of scenes and sort of went, “Ooooh, so that’s who we are?” We immediately saw ourselves a little differently via the audience.
My co-star and I bond over
Well, we have a number of friends in common, and we are both very involved with our families. But we also love analyzing our results after each performance. Sort of like a play-by-play after a big game. It helps keep us sharp and creative and in tune with our audience. And it's fun!
Our opinions of the audience from night to night, and many of our opinions of what is right and wrong with the world. There’s no grey area in Marge and Charlie’s house.
I’m envious of my co-star’s ability to
Be comfortable and socially at ease in any situation. Michael is a very kind and genuinely friendly man.
Be nothing but 100% honest onstage, to constantly commit with boldness, and to continue to explore.
Don't miss Morgan and Martin in The Bridges of Madison County at Broadway's Schoenfeld Theatre.