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Exclusive: Director Jason Moore Returns to Broadway with Fully Committed

Exclusive: Director Jason Moore Returns to Broadway with Fully Committed


The Pitch Perfect and Sisters director comes home to New York for one-man show starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Jason Moore discusses the upcoming Broadway revival of Fully Committed with uncanny calmness--given he's directing one actor to play up to 40 different roles.

"Fully Committed came at a time when I really needed it," he says. "I really missed the theater and wanted to be inspired again. This has been a kind of homecoming to Broadway and to New York, but also to the basics of theater and what I love most about it."

In the eight years since Moore last worked on Broadway (on Shrek the Musical), the director has brought to the big screen 2012's hit musical comedy Pitch Perfect and last year's Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Now he's back for the one-man show lampooning fine dining, starring Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

"It's pretty virtuosic to watch Jesse," Moore says. "It's like seeing him play every instrument in an orchestra."

Fully Committed tells the story of Sam, a past-his-prime actor who manages reservations for a hot restaurant in Manhattan. Ferguson plays Sam and a revolving door of kitchen staff, chefs, and patrons as the race to get the best seat in the house heats up. Core characters like Sam come back again and again, but others only exist on stage for as little as three minutes.

"Jesse does them all, back to back," Moore says. "Each one requires Jesse to have a really distinctive take--an accent, an attitude, a gender, a theatricality. It's really fun to meet that challenge. They don't really feel compressed. You get to watch each person fully transform back and forth in front of your eyes."


Photo by Joan Marcus

Working one-on-one with Ferguson, Moore says he's enjoyed the striped-down experience of returning to theater. "The theater is where I started and it's what I love," he says. "Being away was hard. Movies are great, but it's so great to come to this community in this city. It's a really different experience working with one actor--just the two of us. You're really participating. It's very intense, intimate, rewarding. The magic of theater is participating--seeing how all the mechanics work, live. That's the one thing film can't do."

Moore says theater and the antics of fine dining portrayed in Fully Committed have "infinite parallels." While the play has been updated in small ways since Becky Mode wrote it in 1999, the unique experience of the New York "dinner and a show" is just as true today as nearly two decades ago.

"Jesse's Sam is trying to manage everyone at a fever pitch," he says. "Tensions are running high not just to get a table, but to get it for the right reasons--a marriage, an anniversary, some special event. Sam has to be the ultimate therapist--not unlike a director--where he learns how to say yes to everyone even when he can't give them everything they want."

Today's foodies are a lot more educated about dining than when the play first ran, Moore admits, but the essential experience of New York dining is something every New Yorker shares--himself included.

"The other night, I walked the long way home from the theater," Moore says, "and I stopped by a classic French bistro near Times Square and had a glass of wine at the bar and a meal later on that night. That's such a very New York thing. It's really nice to have that experience, and I think everyone who comes to New York has some version of that experience."

Fully Committed is currently in previews at the Lyceum Theater April. Buy tickets here.

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