Listen: What Laura Linney Learns From Bad Shows

For Laura Linney, every stage experience is a learning experience. “Even the bad ones!” she cheerfully declared on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

“Even the ones that are really bad, and I’ve been really bad in some things,” continued the Emmy winner, currently back on Broadway in “My Name Is Lucy Barton.” “I’ve been in some bad productions that have been painful and awkward. I was in a really bad production of ‘The Seagull,’ I was in a really bad production of ‘Hedda Gabler,’ I was in a mediocre production of ‘Uncle Vanya.’ I’ve been in some really painful, bad performances with wonderful people. They just didn’t work. They just don’t work all the time, and sometimes you are bad in them. And no one wants to be that.”

Her biggest takeaways from these experiences? “You learn [being an actor] is not all that you are,” she explained. “You try and learn lessons along the way, if you misstepped or if you’ve been distracted and gone the wrong way. You learn a little bit about red flags and how to notice them and how to avoid them in the future. And sometimes things just don’t work out. In some ways, it makes you be kind and a little more forgiving of people.”

Linney returns to Broadway (after earning her fourth Tony nomination for “The Little Foxes” in 2017) in playwright Rona Munro’s one-actor stage adaptation of Elizabeth Strout’s bestseller “My Name Is Lucy Barton.” On Stagecraft, Linney explains why she thinks solo shows are “completely bonkers.” She also revealed her favorite co-stars and how her long involvement in “Tales of the City” has changed her life.

Popular on Variety

New episodes of Stagecraft are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to Stagecraft on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, and anywhere that finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

More Legit

  • Mrs. Doubtfire BroadwayCon panel

    Listen: 'Mrs. Doubtfire' the Musical, Live From BroadwayCon

    In the Broadway-bound musical version of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” actor Rob McClure has the unenviable job of following in the footsteps of comedy great Robin Williams, who memorably played the title role in the 1993 film on which the stage show is based. Listen to this week’s podcast below: How does McClure hope to fill those [...]

  • Grand Horizons review

    'Grand Horizons': Theater Review

    Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one, as you surely must have: A nice, all-American family is in the process of breaking up and trying to make this sad state of affairs seem funny in Bess Wohl’s Broadway outing “Grand Horizons.” After 50 years of marriage, Nancy (the ever-elegant Jane Alexander) and Bill (the [...]

  • Uncle Vanya review

    'Uncle Vanya': Theater Review

    Director Ian Rickson has had success with Chekhov in the past. His exquisitely balanced, tragicomic production of “The Seagull” (2007 in London, 2008 on Broadway) was well-nigh flawless with, among others, Kristin Scott Thomas as painfully vulnerable as she was startlingly funny. Sadly, with his production of “Uncle Vanya,” despite felicities in the casting, lightning [...]

  • The Welkin review

    'The Welkin': Theater Review

    A life hanging perilously in the balance of charged-up, polarized opinions: This courtroom drama could easily have been titled “Twelve Angry Women.” But playwright Lucy Kirkwood (“Chimerica,” “The Children”) is far too strong and imaginative a writer for so hand-me-down a cliché. Instead she opts for “The Welkin,” an old English term for the vault [...]

  • Tina Fey attends the "Mean Girls"

    Tina Fey Announces Movie Adaptation of Broadway's 'Mean Girls' Musical

    It’s good to be mean…the “Mean Girls” musical, that is. Producers of the hit Broadway show announced today that the Tony-nominated production is being adapted for the big screen for Paramount Pictures. The musical is based on the 2004 movie of the same name. “I’m very excited to bring ‘Mean Girls’ back to the big screen,’ Tina Fey, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content