Catching Up With Laurie Metcalf
By Jerry Portwood
Photo: Joan Marcus
Although many remember her for her inimitable role as Jackie on Roseanne, Laurie Metcalf has received critical acclaim for her tough-as-nails stage characters in the past six years. She’s now returning to Broadway for Sharr White’s The Other Place, about a neurologist who starts to lose her grip.
You often play strong and flawed females. Are you drawn to them?
I like roles that have a tough side to them. But you show the other side also -- the softness, the humor. I bring that quality to any role.
Broadway’s Wit was also about a fierce middle-aged woman struggling with an illness. There seems to be a trend.
The funny thing about Sharr is that he chose to write about a strong woman in her fifties because he knew there were a lot of actresses out there looking for that. It made his chances of getting the show produced that much higher.
Is there a character you’re still hoping to play?
I’m attracted to the darkly humorous roles because you get to do both sides. I’d love to do Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because the two sides are in Martha. I’ve truly never read a role in a play that I haven’t wanted to do. If you have something scripted, I’ll probably show up.
Do you think you’ll ever return to TV?
If something landed in my lap, I’d be an idiot not to take it. But I have purposefully been doing theater. I’m in heaven right now.
Previews of The Other Place begin December 11 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in Manhattan.