Broadway’s ‘Realistic Joneses’ Opens: The Case for More Than Mindless

Tracy Letts, Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Producers at the April 6 opening night party of starry Broadway play “The Realistic Joneses” had plenty of cause for celebration as the positive reviews started to roll in. But they couldn’t help but quibble with the ones that thought maybe the brainy play had more of a downtown feel.

Producer Jeffrey Richards agreed to disagree. “So we’re supposed to have only mindless plays on Broadway?” he asked at the opening night party at the Red Eye Grill, his skeptical tone making it clear that to him, Broadway is exactly the place for big ideas and bold new works.

If Richards is looking for another ambitious new play to produce, then Tracy Letts — the writer/actor (“Homeland”) who co-stars in “Joneses” with Michael C. Hall, Toni Collette and Marisa Tomei — has just the thing.

“I have a new play called ‘The Scavenger’s Daughter’ that I’m trying to get produced,” said Letts, who has won Tonys as both a writer (“August: Osage County”) and as an actor (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”) for shows produced by Richards. “It’s very big and very weird. It’s got like 40 characters. I have a feeling it’s very hard to produce.”

Letts feels sure his experience as a playwright influences his work as an actor, but he can’t put his finger on how. “I just hope I’m not an asshole in the rehearsal room,” he cracked.

As for Hall, in his first return to the Gotham stage since “Dexter” started airing, he’s enjoying switching up his daily routine after eight seasons as a serial killer. “It’s nice to do something from the beginning to the end and be done with it every night,” he said of the play. “And to do the same material, but on a different day in front of a different group of people, it becomes almost a meditation.”

(Pictured: Tracy Letts, Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei and Michael C. Hall take their curtain call in “The Realistic Joneses”)

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