You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Scandal’s’ Tony Goldwyn on His Early Career in Theater

These days, Tony Goldwyn is causing a national “Scandal” every week as the leader of the free world on ABC’s hit show, but he got his start — and his first notice on these pages — on the stage in New York City.

Do you remember your first mention in Variety?

It was for an off-Broadway play. It was a dream come true. It was like I made it! It was one of those small casting announcements, but to me, it was like being on the front page. One of my first auditions when I got to New York had been at the Manhattan Theatre Club. I had auditioned for the lead and didn’t get it. But I got the understudy. I went through a few months of having to watch someone else play my part, which was a growth experience. When I auditioned for their next show (“Digby”), they ended up casting me.

What was the best thing about that time in your life? 

I grew up in a Hollywood family, but theater was what held the real romance for me. All of the actors in the cast with me were older than me, and they were people whose work I admired. Just to be in that company was a really intoxicating time in my life. The show was really funny and a hit, so I thought, “Oh my God, I’ve arrived.” But what I wasn’t prepared for was when the show closed, I was unemployed again.

Did you get any support from your family?

My older brother was starting his own business at the time. He had left this safe corporate world to be an entrepreneur and running a company out of his apartment. He was struggling just as much as I was, and I said to him, you know, when we get to be 40-years-old and look back on this time, if we don’t appreciate the romance of it and how exciting it is then we’re idiots. And we were a couple of a–holes.

How long was it before you got your big break? 

I’m still waiting for the next one! I learned that breaks are incremental. My big break was “Ghost,” but that was six years later. “Digby” was a break that I could actually make a living with. It gave me a credit that meant something. At that stage, you’re one of a thousand young actors starting out. That enabled me to be one of a hundred.

What did you learn from the experience?

What a taboo it is to laugh on stage. John Glover and I had this very funny scene together where he was making fun of my lack of intelligence without me knowing it. And he would just get more outrageous every night. The laughs would get bigger and bigger in the audience, and he was trying to crack me up. And one night, because I was inexperienced, I lost it. As soon as I broke up laughing, the audience stopped. It was a mess, and I was like, “oh right, that’s an important acting lesson.”

What’s the most valuable showbiz lesson you’ve learned? 

That it’s about your work ethic. The only thing that we can control is the quality of our process. You can’t control outcomes. You can’t control box office. You can’t control critics. You can’t even control if something is going to work creatively. But if you’re always just making sure you’re always trying to grow as an artist, then that’s what  sustains you.

More TV

  • The Rook

    'The Rook,' Shondaland, Ted Sarandos Among Programming for SeriesFest 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    The fifth edition of SeriesFest will deliver panels and programming designed to celebrate individual talent as well as companies who are “taking creative risks and leveraging advances in technology to reimagine storytelling.” On the linup is Starz’s upcoming supernatural thriller “The Rook,” a panel with the creatives behind Shondaland, a look at LGBTQ representation on [...]

  • BBC Orders Spoof Talk Show Fronted

    Spoof Talk Show Fronted by an Animated Vladimir Putin Coming to the BBC

    The BBC will air a spoof talk-show fronted by an animated Vladimir Putin. The U.K. pubcaster has ordered two pilot episodes of “Tonight With Vladimir Putin,” a semi-scripted talk show hosted by a CGI representation of the Russian leader. The first guest will be Alistair Campbell, a former high-ranking political spin doctor in the U.K. [...]

  • Upcoming Fantasy Shows Like 'Game of

    10 Upcoming Shows to Watch if You're Mourning 'Game of Thrones'

    Millions of people’s Sunday night routines are ruined now that “Game of Thrones” is over, and there are holes in their hearts as big as the hole in The Wall that are aching for a new fantasy series to fill them. Several prequel series are on their way, but as there’s no word on just [...]

  • Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi

    'Game of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi: 'I'm Still in Denial'

    Since the first season, Ramin Djawadi has composed the music for “Game of Thrones” and created the epic tunes, including the iconic theme song, heard over the series’ most memorable moments. With the series finished, he talked with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 about his experience on the show and an upcoming 20-city [...]

  • TUPAC SHAKUR black panther collection

    ‘Defiant Ones’ Director to Helm Docuseries on Tupac, Who Assaulted Him in 1993

    Director Allen Hughes, who helmed the award-winning HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones,” has closed a deal with Tupac Shakur’s estate for a five-part docuseries for which he will have full access to all of the late rapper’s released and unreleased recordings, writings and poetry, according to an announcement from his rep. The announcement says the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content