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Roundabout Theatre Company’s A Man for All Seasons, starring Frank Langella opens tomorrow on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre.


The New York Times 

Arts & Leisure 

October 5, 2008




The Grinch Meets Sir Thomas More



LAST year, the director Doug Hughes took his nephew to see “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” on Broadway. Mr. Hughes was simply looking for some holiday fun, but he rediscovered, beneath the Grinch’s furry green costume, a fondly remembered Shakespearean actor.


Since coming to New York in 1993, Patrick Page has been known mostly for cartoonish roles, including more than three years as Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast” and three more as Scar in “The Lion King.” But in regional theater he is known as a Shakespearean leading man.


“I had met him years ago at Seattle Rep,” Mr. Hughes said, “and seeing him as the Grinch helped me connect the dots and realize that this was that fantastic actor who had played Hamlet, Claudius, Iago, Brutus, Antony and the Scottish king.”


So when time came to cast his revival of Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for All Seasons,” Mr. Hughes said, he knew exactly who he wanted to play Henry VIII opposite Frank Langella’s Sir Thomas More. “It is just one big scene, but it is crucial to the play, so I asked Patrick,” he said. “Whether it’s the Grinch or Iago or Henry, he has the imagination and skill to portray a character of this size that becomes a living, breathing, walking metaphor, and he could absolutely match up with Langella.”


Mr. Langella, by contrast, had never seen Mr. Page’s work. But, he wrote in an e-mail message: “The role of Henry was his four lines into his audition. Unmistakable gifts. The single most intelligent, beautifully prepared and excitingly acted audition I have ever seen an actor give.”


Mr. Page, 46, agrees that there is a through line from Macbeth and Iago to Scar and the Grinch to Henry: “a long line of egotists.” Whether it’s committing murder to ascend to the throne (in Shakespeare or Disney), or stopping Christmas and all that noise, noise, noise, or ditching one wife for another no matter the consequences, “these characters all have very strong desires and a ruthlessness about achieving them,” he said. “That, of course, is very fun to play.”


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