cover art for James Shapiro

Stage Door Jonny

James Shapiro

Season 3, Ep. 9

This week’s guest is a man of many talents. James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia university, he is the Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at the Public Theater in New York and he is the author of the mighty 1599, Baillie Gifford Award Winner for the best non-fiction book of the last 25 years. Jim has spent his life making Shakespeare come alive- on the page, in the rehearsal room and the lecture hall and no one does it better. This is a conversation that takes in: judging the Booker Prize; Hamilton’s 50 foot wave; working on the scary and tempestuous production of a Trump-imitating Julius Caesar; being Shakespeare’s agent and the director’s waiter; what stops you feeling the great plays as you once did and the erosion of democracy and its inextricable link to theatre.

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  • 11. Matthew Broderick (Act II)

    After the interval, Jonny hears how Matthew Broderick was pulled out of depression by a play from an unknown writer called Harvey Fierstein; doing things his own way as a young actor; the incredible story of the day his life changed forever- and the sadness underneath it; the last conversation he ever had with his father and how his dad’s example revisits him onstage; why he can drive directors mad; why Nathan Lane thinks he’s like the Warner Bros frog; the pressure to be funny; his love for Neil Simon and the failure that seems to always await the giants of American theatre; the rollercoaster of a life in American theatre and getting together with Robert de Niro to fight Donald Trump.
  • 11. Matthew Broderick (Act I)

    In the last double episode of the current season, Jonny rounds off by talking to a bona fide star who’s been one almost all his acting life: two time Tony Award winner and, for a generation of movie-goers, the patron saint of being young- Matthew Broderick. Matthew is the star of movies like Ferris Bueller, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Election, You Can Count on Me and The Producers, but his career in the theatre has been immense, not least the five plays of his great mentor and collaborator Neil Simon. The last of these, Plaza Suite, with his wife Sarah Jessica Parker has brought him to London and in his dressing room at the Savoy Theatre, he tells Jonny about the magic of the magic of stage doors, reveals intimate details of his dressing room, the enduring fascination of Joan Collins, doing two shows on his birthday, Ferris Bueller and the pain of growing up, getting the silent treatment from John Hughes, acting with his dad, his triumph as Wall in Midsummer Night’s Dream and the tragic story of the big break that nearly broke him.
  • 10. Sir Sam Mendes & Alison Balsom - Live At Jermyn Street Theatre (Act II)

    In the second half of their live chat, Alison Balsom and Sam Mendes discuss what it’s like for him to have been everyone’s Dad professionally since he was 24 (just don’t take his sausage roll); being a woman in a predominantly male art form, changing the paradigm of the trumpet and the spirituality of playing music in church; Sam’s transformative memory of Jackson Pollock in Venice and the joy of throwing paint; where emotion lives in their work; the trumpet piece that reflects who you are at any stage of your life; being uningratiating onstage; why Sam was in a kind of dream-state directing Hills of California and what auditioning new-born babies taught him about performers.
  • 10. Sir Sam Mendes & Alison Balsom - Live At Jermyn Street Theatre (Act I)

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  • 8. Jez Butterworth & Laura Donnelly - Live At Jermyn Street Theatre (Act II)

    The second half of Jonny’s chat with actress Laura Donnelly and playwright Jez Butterworth, recorded live at Jermyn Street Theatre, delves into the twelve endings Jonny had to learn and perform for Jez’s play Parlour Song at Atlantic Theatre in New York; writing for the person you’re in love with; an actors contract with the audience and Sam Mendes’s opinion on Laura’s; what Jez believes is the foundation of drama; the ease of acting Butterworth; having daughters and writing women when you’re not one; Laura Donnelly’s locked door and Jez’s knack for finding the numinous in his everyday life; engineering an emergency in the theatre- and Hugh Jackman splitting his trousers.
  • 8. Jez Butterworth & Laura Donnelly - Live At Jermyn Street Theatre (Act I)

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  • 7. Simon Godwin (Act II)

    In Act II of Jonny’s chat with Simon they discuss the difference between immersion and identification; how much mystery Simon leaves in his understanding of a play; the director’s 3am thinks; why Simon has no problem with leaving a show; how directing can be like working in HR, his love of first days; Shakespeare’s school of life; what Simon fears most in the theatre- and why A Christmas Carol at The Tabard theatre is so special to him.
  • 7. Simon Godwin (Act I)

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