Lady Parts, Sundays with Sondheim & Game Dames: The Cast of Act One Imagines Their Own Memoirs

Last updated March 12th, 2014 by Josh Ferri
Lady Parts, Sundays with Sondheim & Game Dames: The Cast of…

This spring, Tony-winning director and playwright James Lapine transforms Moss Hart’s Act One (the Bible of theatrical memoirs) into a soaring new stage play. Like Hart's New York Times best-selling autobiography, Act One charts legendary writer/director Moss Hart’s journey from impoverished child to the toast of New York society and sheds new light on his famous collaboration with George S. Kaufman. BroadwayBox caught up with the starry cast recently to find out: what would a memoir about your life in the theater be titled?

James Lapine (Playwright & Director)

James Lapine Act One
Photo by Bruce Glikas

“I have no desire to write an autobiography about the theatre. I think what I might do is Sunday in the Park with Steve, and I’d write about the making of that show [Sunday in the Park with George with collaborator Stephen Sondheim].”

Andrea Martin (Actress)

Andrea Martin- Act One
Photo by Bruce Glikas

“I am writing a book and it’s called Andrea Martin’s Lady Parts. I got the title from Nathan Lane because I was really stuck. I think the title encompasses everything: it’s parts of my life, parts that I’ve played, parts of the book. It’s funny. And I’m a lady and I’ve got parts.”

Chuck Cooper (Actor)

Chuck Cooper Act One
Photo by Bruce Glikas

Hi Diddle Dee. There’s a song in Pinocchio where the actors talk Pinocchio into joining a theatrical group, and they sing the song ‘Hi diddle dee, the actor’s life for me,’ so that’s what I would title my book.”

Mimi Lieber (Actress/Choreographer)

MiMi Act One
Photo by Bruce Glikas

“The first thing that comes to mind is She Was a Game Dame, because I have had a ‘Sure, I’ll do that’ kind of approach. I have done such a range of things. I was in extremely experimental theatre for a long time, and in the middle of all that I kept getting dance jobs in rock and roll movies; then that took me somewhere I never meant to go. And I’ve ended up choreographing a lot (in this show and in Shakespeare in the Park). So as an actor and choreographer, I’d say, She Was a Game Dame.”

Matthew Schechter (Moss Hart)

Matt Act One
Photo by Bruce Glikas

“The title would be The Lessons I Have Learned, and it would be about the things the theatre has taught me—much more than I thought it would.”

Tony Shalhoub (Moss Hart)

Tony Act one
Photo by Bruce Glikas

“I would have to call it Wrestling with Demons, because there’s this thing that the theatre does to you. As much fun and as exhilarating as it can be (and most times is), it takes a lot of mind control to keep yourself sane during the process. If the material is really good, if you’re working with good people and an enormous challenge is presented—which is certainly the case in Act One—you have to fight your insecurities and that’s half the battle, I think.”

Santino Fontana (Moss Hart)

Santino Act one
Photo by Bruce Glikas

The Demons Within? No. Why Didn’t Someone Stop Me? Red Curtains and Black Mold. I’m kidding! I joke! Those are all jokes. I don’t know what I’d name it. I doubt I would write a book. Santino’s Stories? I do not know. In the Glow of the Ghost Light. I have no idea…”

Act One begins performances at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 20 and continues through June 15.