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Terrence McNally Fan Girls Over Michael Shannon and Audra McDonald as Much as You Do

05.14.19

BY: LIZ DURAND STREISAND

What do you get when you take two celebrated actors and put them on stage with a script by one of the greatest contemporary playwrights of our time? Answer: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Michael Shannon (of Boardwalk Empire fame) and Audra McDonald (who has six Tony Awards to her name) star in this limited-run revival of McNally’s classic romance. In the play, a waitress and a short order cook go on a date, have a one-night stand, and then… try to figure out the rest.

Audra McDonald, Terrence McNally, Michael Shannon and Arin Arbus. Photo: @fandjbway.

Audra McDonald, Terrence McNally, Michael Shannon and Arin Arbus. Photo: @fandjbway.

Broadway Spin caught up with McNally at the iconic Theater District watering hole Sardi’s, where he explained part of the inspiration for the play was his realization (largely from his own life experience) that “love can come at the strangest times.” Amen to that.

“This will be one of the legendary theater couplings that we will see,” McNally promised with a smile. “Shannon and McDonald. I don’t know how they do it. I fell in love with both of them at first sight. I do believe in love at first sight.” McDonald previously starred in Masterclass on Broadway, another of McNally’s works. McNally first saw Shannon on stage in an off-Broadway play at the Barrow Street Theatre called Mistakes Were Made. (Just another example of why you should venture Beyond Broadway!) Watching Shannon in action, 80-year-old playwright recalled thinking, “Someday I want to work with that man.” And now here we are.

Terrence McNally with Arin Arbus and Audra McDonald in the background. Photo: @fandjbway.

McNally enlisted off-Broadway darling Arin Arbus to direct his two beloved stars. When asked where he found her, he laughed, “I go the theater.”

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune marks McNally’s 25th (!) Broadway production and runs for a short 16 weeks at the Broadhurst Theatre and tickets are in play through Broadway Roulette.