Dynamic Duo

Michael Crane & Michael Cumpsty On The Crazy Juggling Act That is The Body of An American

February 23rd, 2016 by

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Michael Crane & Michael Cumpsty On The Crazy Juggling Act...

Michael Crane (Gloria, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and Tony nominee Michael Cumpsty (End of the Rainbow, Copenhagen, Machinal) team up for Primary Stages' NYC premiere of the acclaimed war drama The Body of An American. The two-person play tells the extraordinary true story of a friendship between a war photojournalist and playwright.

The Body of An American- Michael Crane- Michael Cumpsty

Photo by James Leynse


BroadwayBox caught up with the dynamic duo to hear from each about working together, creating this powerful piece, and how their own friendship grew offstage.


My first impression of Michael was:

Crane:
I thought he seemed very intelligent and kind, and a very serious actor.

Cumpsty:
Oh I loved him; and my impression was supported because he had very recently worked with a director, and after the director said to me ‘he’s fantastic and he can turn on a dime.’ He’s a great person to play against—we are literally like juggling with each other.


The scene I look forward to playing in with him the most each night is:

Crane:
There are so many. Maybe the first one about the picture of the soldier.

Cumpsty:
Probably the dog sled ride.


I think our most memorable performance of The Body of an American at Hartford Stage had to have been:

Crane:
I think the last one was the most memorable for me—maybe because it’s most recent.

Cumpsty:
They got more and more comfortable and more and more looser and more fun, and I would say the very final Sunday matinee was the most satisfying. In part because it felt freest, and in part because this little old lady accosted me on the sidewalk as I was leaving the theatre and she just wouldn’t stop. She was just gushing about it.


I think our performances gel so well together because:

Crane:
Assuming they do gel, I would say it’s because we’ve really dug deep into the story together and tried to tell the story in a very clear way.

Cumpsty:
Honestly, we were blessed to have the opportunity to go to Hartford for four weeks and learn the rhythms with each other. That process of finding the groove in front of an audience was frankly horrifying to begin with then really thrilling. I do think of it as juggling—learning to throw these things back and forth at each other rapidly has been exhilarating.


Off-stage, Michael and I bond over:

Crane:
Our emotional health, or lack thereof.

Cumpsty:
We bond deeply around issues that may be too private to discuss but we’ve had deeper, richer, more connected. conversations. He drove me from Hartford to New York on a day off and it was one of the best conversations of my life.


I’m in awe of Michael’s ability to:

Crane:
A lot of things, but I’m in awe of the exacting detail of his acting.

Cumpsty:
Be charming without any discernable effort.

See Michael Crane & Michael Cumpsty in Primary Stages' acclaimed drama The Body of An American at the Cherry Lane Theatre.