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Final Bow

Final Bow: Uma Thurman's Broadway Debut Involved Hard Work and "Locker Room Talk"

Beau Willimon's The Parisian Woman takes a hard look at the dark side of politics.

Uma Thurman chose to make her Broadway debut at a politically and emotionally charged moment in our national narrative, and she picked a new play with an equally charged narrative as her vehicle. Since November, Thurman has been starring in The Parisian Woman, a new work from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, based on an old French play by Henri Becque. In it, she plays Chloe, a charming modern-day Washington socialite who is forced to reckon with ambition, politics, marriage, and an uncertain political future.

As the show reaches the end of its limited term on Broadway, Thurman stopped to look back on four "all-consuming" months spent steeping herself in a behind-the-scenes world of cutthroat Washington dealings while learning the in-and-outs of New York theater.

Uma Thurman is currently making her Broadway debut in The Parisian Woman.
(© David Gordon)

1. What is your favorite line that you get to say?
"Just a little locker room talk."

2. Everyone loves inside jokes. What is the best one from your show?
No real inside jokes. However, on opening night, I did receive a lot of Eiffel Tower souvenirs.

3. Every show experiences technical difficulties. What was the worst technical difficulty experienced during your show and how was it handled?
I am the one who is at greatest risk to create a technical difficulty in the show — given I never leave the stage and have 40-second quick changes. My backstage crew, Kim and Sara, have been stars and never caused a delay in 137 performances so far, and it seems like a mini miracle every show, at least to me — a novice in this medium.

4. What was the most "interesting" present someone gave you at the stage door?
A creepy model of the Pussy Wagon from Kill Bill.

5. Who is the coolest person that came to see your show? (You can't say your family!) Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Natalie Portman, Annie Hathaway, and [R.E.M.'s] Michael Stipe.

Uma Thurman with costar Marton Csokas in a scene from The Parisian Woman.
(© Matthew Murphy)

6. What backstory do you imagine gave Chloe such a unique perspective on ambition and power?
Necessity, lack of options, and survival.

7. What have you been most surprised by about the experience of doing a Broadway play?
How hard the work is and how all-consuming it is to present the show eight times a week with total commitment and no forgiveness.

8. The Parisian Woman has a lot of references to current events. What is the most memorable audience reaction you've gotten to one of them?
"Locker room talk" always brings the house down without fail.

9. If you could steal one piece from Derek McLane's lavish set, what would it be and why? I never steal.

10. What will you miss most about spending time with the character of Chloe every day? Her empowerment and encouragement for me to be as strong as possible during trying times. It's an enormous gift.

The Parisian Woman plays its final performance on March 11.
(© Matthew Murphy)

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