Final Bow: Colin Donnell Approaches the End of the Line With Broadway's Violet
The star of stage and screen shares memories of the acclaimed revival, his latest collaboration with Sutton Foster.
Colin Donnell is getting ready to say goodbye to the American Airlines Theatre. The actor plays Monty in Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori's Violet, which is set to play its final performance on August 10. Starring Sutton Foster, Violet is the story of a young woman who suffered a terrible accident as a child, resulting in a disfiguring facial scar. Monty is one of the two soldiers Violet befriends on her cross-country bus trip to visit a televangelist she believes can heal her.
This is Donnell's second time appearing opposite Foster on Broadway. Both starred in the 2011 revival of Anything Goes, which was also produced by Roundabout Theatre Company.
Donnell told TheaterMania about the overwhelming audience response to the show, the kind fans that brought him junk food, and the time he found himself singin' in the rain in the wrong musical.
1. What is your favorite line in the show that you deliver?
Doesn't everyone like to drop an "F" bomb onstage?? Close second: "We'll go get throw-a-baby-to-the-hogs-drunk."
2. Everyone loves inside jokes. So tell us, what is the best one from your show?
There's a part of the show that Josh [Henry] and I call the "pants hike." Try and spot it. I dare you.
3. Every show experiences technical difficulties. What was the worst technical difficulty experienced during your show and how was it handled?
Because our show is pretty simple, our technical difficulties are thankfully limited. The thing about working at any older theater in New York, even one as wonderfully renovated and beautiful as the American Airlines, is that they have their quirks. One special quirk of the AA is that during a particularly rainy afternoon, Sutton and I got rained on onstage a tiny lil' bit. Unexpected showers are appreciated.
4. What was the most "interesting" present someone gave you at the stage door?
Thanks to social media, most people know about Patti Murin and my Lay's potato chip obsession. Two fans were kind enough to give me unique flavors we hadn't tried.
5. Who is the coolest person that came to see your show? (You can't say your family.)
Several cast members from the TV show that I was on [Arrow] came and saw the show when they were here for press events. My dressing room is nearest to the backstage entrance, so I get to see everyone who comes through even if they aren't there to see me...I'm sneaky.
6. If you could steal one costume piece from the show, what would it be and why?
My Green Beret boots. They're awesome. End of story.
7. Has anything surprised you about this run of Violet on Broadway? If so, what?
I think we felt like we had a very special show from the beginning, but it's been amazing to see the overwhelming response from the audiences. It seems like people aren't just entertained, but genuinely moved by this beautiful story.
8. Tell us something about the American Airlines Theatre that regular audience members might not know when they come to see the show.
Backstage is reeeeeeeally dog-friendly — like, four-legged-creature central. That is one thing. There is also an amazing brunch every Sunday that is hosted by our wardrobe supervisor Fallon. That's the reason why our Sunday-matinee audiences generally are treated to the wonderful smell of bacon as they enter the theater.
9. What kind of role would you like to play next on Broadway?
I honestly have no idea. Right now I just feel lucky that I've had the opportunity to go back and forth between the stage and TV/film. I have a feeling that when the right thing comes along next, I'll just know. Until then, I'm just keeping an open mind about what's next.