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Roger Rees Does Double Duty

The Tony-winning actor discusses taking over the role of Gomez in Broadway's The Addams Family and co-directing the Off-Broadway hit Peter and the Starcatcher. logo
Roger Rees
(© Tristan Fuge)
Roger Rees won the Tony Award for playing the title role in the The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and then became a household name when he portrayed Robin Colcord on the hit television series, Cheers. These days, Rees is busy on both side of the footlights: as co-director (with Alex Timbers) of the hit Off-Broadway play, Peter and the Starcatcher, at New York Theatre Workshop, and preparing to assume the role of Gomez Addams in The Addams Family on Broadway on March 22. TheaterMania spoke with Rees about both productions.

THEATERMANA: So, you are taking over the role of Gomez from Nathan Lane in The Addams Family. How did that happen?
ROGER REES: The producers told me that they went through a lot of the bigger names and couldn't find anyone to play Gomez. So they said, "Why don't you do it?" It's a great part to play. Nathan Lane and I are great friends. We email all the time. He is a dear man, and one of the last true theater comics.

TM: Are you excited to be playing opposite Bebe Neuwirth?
RR: Yes, we first met doing Cheers. It's wonderful to be back working with her. We get to dance! She's a friend. We have done a lot of things together over the years, including an evening of Kurt Weill, Here Lies Jenny, as well as The Taming of the Shrew and Cabaret Verboten.

TM: Is it easier coming in as a replacement, since there are so many new cast members?
RR: I only look at the task that I have to do, so for me it would be the same. But it is fun coming in with new people. We are going to bring a whole new energy to the show.

TM: What do you think is the kookiest and creepiest thing about this family?
RR: Their world is upside down. They like things everyone doesn't. The house is located in Central Park in this story, so they are West Siders. I'm sure there are lots of those families around New York City.

A scene from Peter and the Starcatcher
(© Joan Marcus)
TM: How would you describe Peter and the Starcatcher?
RR: It is actually based on the popular children's book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It tells the story of Peter Pan, and we have twelve actors playing 50 characters.

TM: What is the demographic that you are targeting with this production?
RR: We are targeting everyone, but the production seems to be appealing to 14 to 25 year olds, which is a great demographic to get into the theater. I am so thrilled to be a part of this, and there is a lot of interest to do other things with this production, but I'm not sure exactly what yet.

TM: Do you have plans for after you leave The Addams Family?
RR: I want to tour my one-man show, What You Will. It's a 100-minute piece of me doing Shakespeare with some jokes.You will see me take on Hamlet; I even play the nurse from Romeo and Juliet. I also get to talk about my growth as an actor. People seem quite interested in it.

For tickets and information for Peter and the Starcatcher, click here.

For tickets and information for The Addams Family, click here.

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