Friday, October 5, 2012

Dan From Downton

Dan Stevens

One of the great things about writing features for the Theater section of Time Out New York is getting to do in-person interviews. Filmmakers are already finished with their product, so who knows where they might be; and musicians are likely to be on tour somewhere. But stage actors and directors have to be in New York, and even writers who don't live here are likely to be around for rehearsals.

And who would want to pass up the chance to meet one of the stars of Downton Abbey, especially when it's Dan Stevens, a.k.a. Cousin Matthew, who's making his Broadway debut in The Heiress with Jessica Chastain. When I spoke to him in September, he'd just returned from a quick trip to London, where he and his fellow Booker Prize judges were meeting to vote on the short list, and not long after we start our interview, who should saunter over to us in the lobby cafe of the Signature Center (where the cast was rehearsing) but Ms. Chastain herself, with a reporter from British GQ. Sometimes the pageantry of writing about Broadway is as good as the actual pageantry of attending a Broadway show.

After the interview, I left the building at the same time as Stevens and the show's press agent. We walked past a couple of Signature employees, and when we got outside, Dan headed off to lunch and the press agent and I stopped to chat for a bit. One of the employees we'd passed, a very giddy young woman, came outside and practically pleaded with us to help her get a picture of Stevens. Since I don't work for the show, I couldn't help her, and the press agent was returning to his office for the rest of the afternoon, but he assured he would be returning in a half hour after, and even suggested that age-old tactic of standing behind a pillar, waiting till he walked by and then "accidentally" walking into him.

Some of the best theater in New York does not happen on the stage!