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Listen: Bryan Cranston on the Exhausting Joys of Broadway

Presented by City National Bank

For anyone who doubts that being a Broadway actor can be grueling, let Bryan Cranston set you straight.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

“There is a cumulative effect of fatigue that happens on the Broadway schedule that no amount of sleep the night before is going to wash away,” the Emmy and Tony-winning actor revealed on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. “It’s just a little dose every single time you perform. … I learned from my last experience that eight shows a week for a steady five or six months is a grind that will bring you to your knees.”

Cranston’s last stint on Broadway, playing LBJ in the play “All the Way,” earned him a Tony Award in 2014. This year he’s nominated again, scoring the nod for his turn as Howard Beale, the mad-as-hell newsman at the center of the stage adaptation of “Network.”

On Stagecraft, Cranston spilled the backstage secrets behind his performance, from why he insisted on a schedule of seven performances a week, to when the role helped him discover the uses of anger, to how he worked with director Ivo von Hove to get that iconic “mad as hell” speech right.

Along the way, the actor also delved into how he goes about crafting a performance, onstage or on screen. “I just feel like almost through osmosis that the character will come in, and I will be able to feel and think and react and respond according to what that character feels,” he said. “But it takes work and imagination and research, and going back to the text every single time.”

Popular on Variety

New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple PodcastsStitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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