Family, aging and mortality are prevalent themes on the mind of four-time Tony Award winner Nathan Lane as he appears in his 25th (counting the two parts of “Angels in America separately) Broadway show: “Pictures From Home.”
In the latest episode of “The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal,” Lane chats with Fadal about the production, as well as his recent offstage endeavors which have him pondering deeper questions about his life and legacy.
Lane, who turned 67 in February, plays photographer Larry Sultan’s father, Irving, in the show. The memory play — which dramatizes the creation of Sultan’s photo memoir displaying his parents and their daily lives — is driven by Larry’s desire for his parents to live forever. And yet, he (and the audience) must sit with the reality of getting older.
“There are people who don’t want to age,” Lane said. “So there are no people to play the elderly anymore.”
Lane, who is joined by Zoë Wanamaker as his onstage wife, said he was incredibly moved when he first read the play, adapted by Sharr White from Sultan’s book. “It is a play that makes people want to talk,” Lane said. “They want to call their parents, check in with them.” It’s a play about family and the inevitability of death but infused with humor — which Lane is certain to deliver.
Lane’s comedic chops were at the ready for his recent stint on the Hulu show “Only Murders in the Building.” In fact, the show called upon Lane — who won an Emmy for his appearance — for a deep, compassionate and dramatic storyline in the comedy series. As part of a silent episode, Lane learned some American Sign Language to communicate with his character’s Deaf son.
“It was much more challenging, and it was very not what I expected, which is always great,” Lane said.
Up next, Lane will appear alongside Joaquin Phoenix in the film “Beau is Afraid,” which is about a man’s journey to get home to see his mother after a series of stressful events. “I’ve been referring to it as the Jewish ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’,” Lane laughed.
Whether on stage or screen, in between laughs, Lane’s performances are sure to keep people thinking about the meaningful and profound. “It’s something we all have to go through, with seeing our parents age, seeing ourselves age,” he said of “Pictures From Home.” “The play has these very universal themes.”
This week’s episode of “The Broadway Show” interviews with the cast and creative teams of two upcoming Broadway productions: “New York, New York” and “Camelot.” Actors Oscar Isaac and Rachel Brosnahan chat about “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” currently playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Perry Sook chats with some of the singing waitstaff at popular Theater District dining spot Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Viewers can also catch current “Aladdin” star Sonya Balsara in this week’s Fresh Face segment.
“The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal” airs on weekends. Check your local listings for air time and channel.