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Dec 24, 2013   Leave a Comment Stage

Shuler Hensley is used to filling big roles. This imposing 6-foot-4 actor from Atlanta has appeared on Broadway and in film in larger-than-life roles like the villainous Jud Fry in OKLAHOMA! and Frankenstein’s monster-twice! -in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and again, on the screen, in VAN HELSING. But he now faces his biggest challenge in his current dual roles being performed in repertory-as Briggs in Harold Pinter’s NO MAN’S LAND and Pozzo in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Hensley shares the stage with an acclaimed cast-Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen (both of whom have been knighted) and Billy Crudup-and all have received raves. The existential plays have not only been challenging audiences since their opening, they have also been heartily amusing. Continue @

Dec 15, 2013   Leave a Comment Rudderless, Sundance

William H. Macy has been to the Sundance Film Festival a number of times as an actor, most recently with “The Sessions” (then “The Surrogate”) in 2012. This year he’ll return to his beloved Utah mountains, but as the director of “Rudderless,” the closing night film. “It’s a lovely festival. I’ve had tremendous luck there,” the Oscar-nominated actor (for “Fargo”) said . “This is sweet.” This is Macy’s feature film directorial debut and he says he’s now “hooked” and wants to direct again as soon as possible. He filmed “Rudderless” in Oklahoma City in 25 days, which coincided with his hiatus from the Showtime series “Shameless.” The film is about a grieving father’s downfall, and life-changing decision to form a rock band after he stumbles upon a box of original music by his deceased son. It explores both gun violence and music, and stars Billy Crudup, Selena Gomez, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman and Macy. The actor-director talked with Speakeasy about “Rudderless.” Edited excerpts are below.
Does Billy Crudup play his own music in the film?

Yes. We did it all to playback. I had grand illusions of trying to do live recordings but on our budget, it just wasn’t going to happen. It’s to playback but we ran tape on everything that they did. We mixed it in and it gives it a great sound because we would mix in some of the ambient noise: the squeak of the guitar strings and the drums and the background noise. It really has that presence. It sounds live. Billy plays guitar, you’ll see him, there’s some of the stuff we do live, and the other stuff is sweetened. Continue @

Dec 15, 2013   Leave a Comment Rudderless, Sundance

A pair of Oklahoma-shot films, one a music-based drama and the other a documentary, have been selected to screen at next month’s Sundance Film Festival. Organizers announced that “Rudderless,” shot in Oklahoma City earlier this year and starring William H. Macy in his directorial debut, would not only make its world premiere there, but it was also chosen to be the closing-night festival film. The ensemble cast includes Billy Crudup, Selena Gomez and Laurence Fishburne for the movie that was co-written by Macy with a pair of Oklahoma City screenwriters, Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison, whose film “The Jogger” played last weekend at the Tulsa United Film Festival at Circle Cinema. Macy (“Fargo,” “Wild Hogs,” Showtime’s “Shameless”) and his cast were lured to the state through the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate program for an Oklahoma-set movie, “and it was lucky for us that we did. … People have been more than accommodating. They’ve been downright generous,” Macy has said.
“Rudderless” is described as a musical drama “about the power of a parent’s love. When a grieving father in a downward spiral stumbles across a box of his deceased son’s original music, he forms a rock ‘n’ roll band, which changes his life,” according to the festival’s press release. The film, also co-starring Anton Yelchin and Macy’s wife — award-winning actress Felicity Huffman — is screening in the noncompetition category of world premieres at Sundance’s revered indie filmmaking festival. Continue @

Dec 07, 2013   Leave a Comment Reviews, Stage

It’s a rare treat on Broadway to have two groups of actors tackling plays in repertory. Mark Rylance and friends from the Globe in London are presenting Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Richard III while Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are reprising their West End success with two modernist classics, Waiting For Godot and No Man’s Land. They are joined by Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley and truly half the fun is getting to see these accomplished performers in dramatically different settings one right after the other. (I know some make it an all day marathon, with one in the afternoon and one at night, but that’s a bit too much nihilism for me.) Continue @

Dec 03, 2013   Leave a Comment Profile, Stage

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart star with Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley in NO MAN’S LAND and WAITING FOR GODOT directed by Sean Mathias. This limited engagement repertory season is now playing at the Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street) where it will run through March 2 only. For performance schedule and more information, visit Continue @