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ELLING featured in the New York Times & New York Magazine

New Broadway Comedy


Featured in the New York Times

and New York Magazine

The stars of ELLING, the new Broadway comedy, are featured in the news this week.  Denis O’Hare was profiled in Sunday’s New York Times, while Jennifer Coolidge was featured in New York Magazine. Directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes, ELLING also stars Brendan Fraser, Richard Easton and Jeremy ShamosELLING is currently in previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street), will open this Sunday, November 21 and will play a strictly limited engagement through March 20, 2011.

A Character He Can Sink His Phobias Into


The New York Times

November 14, 2010

NEXT weekend the Tony Award-winning actor Denis O’Hare opens on Broadway in “Elling,” playing an anxious mental patient trying to re-enter society. But if you’re a fan of the HBO series “True Blood,” in which he plays the arrogant and acerbic Russell Edgington, the vampire king of Mississippi, what you no doubt want to hear about are his fangs.

Mr. O’Hare has two sets, hard and soft. The soft are used in bite scenes, so he does not hurt anyone. He does not keep fangs around the house; they’re the property of the show. He did get a pair made up for his longtime partner, whose dream is to slip them on while traveling in a plane first class and order a martini.

The blood on “True Blood” is both edible and nonedible. The edible tastes minty. Confections vary, but a popular mix is pomegranate juice mixed with cornstarch to make it gelatinous. For one scene, in which Mr. O’Hare tossed back a goblet’s worth, there were 15 takes, and he got extremely sick.

And no, Mr. O’Hare, who seized on his role with the mad glee of a dog in a sausage factory, did not go out in character on Halloween.

“Amateur night,” he said. “I don’t dress up unless I’m getting paid.”

A character actor has many faces, and none. Onstage Mr. O’Hare has played an accountant who falls in love with a gay baseball player in “Take Me Out,” which won him his Tony; a homophobic senator in “Milk”; and the usual array of characters (killer priest, rapist delivery guy) on “Law & Order.”


Weird Science


New York Magazine

November 14, 2010

Jennifer Coolidge has just breezed through the stage door of the Barrymore Theatre—where she is appearing in the black comedy Elling with Denis O’Hare and Brendan Fraser—carrying a peacock-plumed purse that is only slightly less ostentatious than the feather-and-faux-fur bags her heartbroken Sex and the City character might have made. Coolidge is in pursuit of dental floss (she’s just eaten a mango) and the New York Post: Bad news, she jokes, makes her feel better about herself. This is only her second time on Broadway, after the 2001 production of The Women, and she’s nervous. Coolidge leans in, half-whispering, “You get very paranoid on these jobs. There was one day when I was going out the door and [the director] Doug said, ‘Good night,’ and I saw Brendan still in the rehearsal room, and Denis, and everyone there, and I thought, I wonder if they’re all still in the room because they’re telling them that there’s a new actress coming in to replace me, and they haven’t let me know yet.”

Coolidge is famous for playing kindhearted, ditzy sexpots of a certain age: Paulette the manicurist in Legally Blonde, Stifler’s mom in American Pie, and, most memorably, Sherri Ann Cabot, the Anna Nicole Smith–esque poodle owner in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Best in Show. Sometimes just looking at her face or hearing her voice (which can sound not unlike having an inflated balloon in your throat) can provoke laughs. This is not because she’s unattractive; there just aren’t many women who can, or are willing to, contort their faces into something approximating Jocelyn Wildenstein. It’s a gift that she claims she doesn’t have much control over. “When I was in the Groundlings, you’d see these girls, and their faces just don’t go weird, as much as they tried to be the old lady or the retarded homeless woman,” says Coolidge. “I think you have to have kind of a weird face, or a face that makes weird expressions.”


ELLING is based on the popular original novels by Ingvar Ambjørnsen and adapted for the Oscar nominated film and the stage by Axel Hellstenius and Petter Næss, in a new English adaptation by critically hailed writer Simon Bent.  ELLING played the West End and was nominated for the Lawrence Olivier Award for Comedy of the Year.

Set in the current day, ELLING is a comedy about a wildly mismatched pair of roommates trying to embrace life, love, friendship, pizza, poetry and women.  Denis O’Hare plays obsessive/compulsive Elling.  Brendan Fraser, plays the wildly enthusiastic gentle giant Kjell. Jennifer Coolidge plays Reidun, the object of Kjell’s considerable affection, Richard Easton plays Alfons, Elling’s unlikely poet mentor and Jeremy Shamos plays Frank, an inquisitive social worker.

The design team is comprised of Scott Pask (set), Kenneth Posner (lighting), Catherine Zuber (costumes) and David Van Tieghem (composer/sound designer).

Tickets are available through Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200, or in person at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th Street.  Ticket prices range from $46.50 to $126.50 (all prices include $1.50 facilities fee).

The performance schedule is Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 3pm.  Beginning, Tuesday, November 23, all Tuesday performances will begin at 7pm.  Thanksgiving week, there will be no performance on Thursday, November 25 and, an additional performance on Monday, November 22 at 7pm.

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