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It Stage

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IT daredevil emily WATSON

AGE 35 WHY HER? As if two Best Actress nominations in six years of making movies isn’t enough, the meek-looking changeling with the ferocious talent returns to the London stage this fall in concurrent productions of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night under the direction of American Beauty’s Sam Mendes at the tres chic Donmar Warehouse. MOTIVATION ”I’m a bit of a challenge junkie, really. I like to jump off a high cliff and not know if there’s water underneath.” HIGHEST CLIFF JUMPED OFF ”Breaking the Waves, just because it was the first, and I had no idea what I was doing.” DREAM COLLABORATOR Scorsese. ”He’s like the lord of all he surveys.” BEST ADVICE ”The day before I started shooting Breaking the Waves, I had dinner with [costar] Stellan Skarsgard, and I said, ‘I don’t know what this is all about, what do you do? What’s filmmaking?’ And he said, ‘Don’t aim for anything. Just let go.”’ GUILTY PLEASURE ”I’m a devotee of the very first Star Wars. I was 10. I can quote. And I do. When drunk, I suppose.” YOU’RE SAYING LUCAS SHOULD CALL? ”Oh, I don’t know, that’s a different matter altogether…. You never know, it might be quite fun.” NEXT She costars with Adam Sandler in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love (December). And with screenwriter husband Jack Waters, she’s scripting a film version of Andrew Greig’s recent novel That Summer.

IT range rover patrick WILSON

AGE 28 WHY HIM? Oh, what a beautiful career! Straight from his Tony-nominated performance in 2000’s stage hit The Full Monty, this fresh-faced Florida native earned a second consecutive nod playing Curly in the current revival of Oklahoma! CAREER LOW When a computer malfunction brightened the lights on a naked Wilson and his Monty costars during the show’s finale, ”I just stood there screaming. It’s the most exhilarating, intoxicating, terrifying, and embarrassing moment of my career.” DREAM COLLABORATORS Currently filming HBO’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America with Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and director Mike Nichols, Wilson laughs: ”The bar has been set — it’s all downhill from here!” But he cites Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, and…Van Halen? ”I’m a huge fan. I’d like to just jam at Eddie’s place with all the guys.” CLOSEST BRUSH WITH CAREER IMMOLATION His tenure in the critically panned Off Broadway version of Bright Lights, Big City: ”It humbled me, but it made me realize what success was. Had I expected to get huge accolades or be famous or get movie roles, I would have seen my career go up in smoke. But I didn’t, because I’d had a great time and believed in what I was doing.” NEXT Angels’ HBO premiere in 2003.

IT cow

chad KIMBALL

AGE 25 WHY HIM? As Milky-White, the scene-stealing cow who chews comic scenery in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Kimball is the only cast member spared comparisons with his predecessors; heretofore, the heifer was ”played by” a prop. ”At the producer’s office, they have the first Milky in the hallway as a reminder of the original show, and every time I go in, I always say ‘Listen, I’m alive, and I’m on stage, and you’re just stuck here, baby.”’ MOO-TIVATION Restoring cattle dignity. ”It’s been a rough century for cows, what with mad cow disease and hoof-and-mouth. Milky’s just trying to recapture hearts and minds and remind people of the bovine in all of us.” On Keeping His Ego In Check ”My dad says, ‘Don’t get a big head,’ and I say, ‘Dad, every night I go down on all fours and put a puppet head on my face. It kind of ruins the ego trip.”’ CAREER HIGH ”Landing a Broadway show [The Civil War] nine days before I graduated from college.” CAREER HE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE Tony-nominated costar ”John McMartin’s, in a heartbeat.” NEXT ”To move beyond livestock, either on stage or screen.”

IT understudy BRAD OSCAR

AGE 37 WHY HIM? In 16 months with The Producers, he went from Nathan Lane’s understudy to top-billed star without resorting to All About Eve tactics. (When Lane replacement Henry Goodman didn’t work out as Max Bialystock, the producers picked Oscar.) ”I’m the poster child for understudies,” jokes Oscar, who, prior to landing Max, got a Tony nod for playing psycho Nazi playwright Franz. BEST ADVICE ”’You’re a character actor. Wait till you’re in your late 30s. Give it time.’ When I graduated from Boston University, a lot of us moved to New York, and all the ‘commercial,’ attractive ones were immediately getting work. I wasn’t, and it was discouraging.” OFFSTAGE ADDICTIONS The Washington Redskins and the New York Mets. ODDEST COMPLIMENT ”Someone said to me, ‘You are one jammy bastard.’ I guess it’s British for lucky. If so, I am one jammy bastard.”

IT song & dance team BILLY JOEL & TWYLA THARP

AGE Joel, 53; Tharp, 60 WHY THEM? Two years ago, choreographer Tharp’s son suggested her next project involve rock music. Her response: ”How about Billy Joel?” After a meeting, the Piano Man agreed to let Tharp transform 24 of his songs into a musical. Movin’ Out will open on Broadway fall 2002. TURNING JOEL INTO DANCE ”Twyla showed me vignettes of three songs,” says Joel, who’d sent her all of his albums, which she listened to in order. ”I was worried it might be a cringefest. But what I saw was beautiful. Songs dead to me took on new life.” BEST ADVICE Tharp: ”Work.” CREATIVE CRUTCH Joel: ”Love’s a good one.” NEXT ”If the show takes off, it might motivate me to write songs again, particularly for Broadway,” says Joel, who hasn’t made a new pop album since 1993.

IT homer simpson impersonator RICK MILLER

AGE 32 WHY HIM? For coming up with the bizarro concept of merging Shakespeare and The Simpsons for his recent one-man play, MacHomer, in which he performs Macbeth using more than 50 voices from the TV show. FAVORITE SIMPSONS VOICE Barney as Macduff. ”He’s got this tragic side to him that makes him very pathetic but almost noble.” VOICES THAT MAKE HIM SCREAM ”d’oh!” ”Bart and Lisa, because they’re done by women. That’s tough for a baritone, so I kill them off pretty quickly.” ALBUM THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE ”Bat Out of Hell, which as a kid I knew by heart.” DREAM COLLABORATOR Tim Robbins. ”He writes about things he’s passionate about. He challenges himself, and I like that.” NEXT The Toronto-based actor will bring MacHomer back to theaters in the States in the fall.

IT playwrights

KIA CORTHRON, DAEL ORLANDERSMITH, ONI FAIDA LAMPLEY

AGES Corthon, 41; Orlandersmith, 42; Lampley, 43 WHY THEM? Along with Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog author Suzan-Lori Parks, these dramatists are at the forefront of a powerful new wave of African-American women’s voices now filling theaters. Corthron’s Breath, Boom moves to Boston after runs in London and New York; Orlandersmith brings the Pulitzer Prize finalist Yellowman to NYC in October; Lampley, a breast-cancer survivor, won a 1991 Helen Hayes Award for Mixed Babies; her The Dark Kalamazoo comes to NYC this fall. CAREER LOW ”A black casting director told me I didn’t act black enough,” says actress Lampley. ”I think I was in that I-wanna-get-a-job slave mode, so I didn’t bitch-slap this person.” CREATIVE CRUTCHES Lampley: ”Praise and love from the director…which is a really f — -ed-up thing to need.” Orlandersmith: the Velvet Underground. Corthron: Writing longhand and using the same pencil from start to finish. DREAM COLLABORATORS Orlandersmith: Benicio Del Toro and Forest Whitaker are ”the most versatile actors because they’re not trying to speak for a race — they’re just doing work.” IF THEY WEREN’T WRITING, THEY’D BE… ”Crazy,” laughs Orlandersmith. Lampley: ”Overeating and probably hurting somebody.” Corthron: ”Working a job and being miserable.”

IT provocateur MARK RAVENHILL

AGE 36 WHY HIM? The 1996 premiere of his risque play Shopping and F***ing shook up the London theater scene. His more recent Mother Clap’s Molly House is even racier, taking place in an 18th-century male whorehouse and a present-day gay orgy. Despite a successful West End run this year, its naughty bits have so far scared off American producers. CAREER HIGH ”When Shopping was first done outside London and the audience responded. One girl shouted out during a scene: ‘F — – me! F — – me!”’ CAREER LOW Reviewing Shopping, ”a New York critic wrote, ‘Mr. Ravenhill should go home and learn how to write a play.”’ DREAM COLLABORATOR Filmmaker Todd Solondz. ”Happiness was absolutely brilliant.” INFLUENCES You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. ”It made me start writing.” Also writers Caryl Churchill, Frank Wedekind, and Bertolt Brecht. BEST ADVICE ”Use a condom.” CREATIVE CRUTCHES ”Coffee and very dark, very bitter chocolate.” UNLIKELY PASTIME Opera. ”Interviewers are generally surprised by that. They’ll say, ‘But you’re supposed to be going to a crack den.”’

IT siblings HUNTER & SUTTON FOSTER

AGES Hunter, 32; Sutton, 27 WHY THEM? She’s the plucky, all-American, Tony Award-winning heroine of the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. He’s the plucky, all-American hero of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Urinetown. INFLUENCES Sutton: ”Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. The Carol Burnett Show, I Love Lucy. Patti LuPone — I got to meet her and I freaked out.” HUNTER: ”Harrison Ford. After I saw Indiana Jones I wanted to be an actor.” CAREERS THEY’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE Sutton: ”Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, who are able to do stage, film, and TV. She’s famous but not out of control, and they’re unbelievably talented and keep doing things that stretch them.” Hunter: ”Kevin Kline. He has such a mixture of really good film and stage stuff…. He does his thing, has his family.” CAREER LOW Hunter: ”I was doing singing telegrams and I was supposed to be Elvis but I left the jumpsuit home. All I had was the cape, the boots, the shoes, the wig — and a banana costume. So I did Elvis the Singing Banana.” NEXT She’s Millie through mid-March 2003. He’s in Urinetown through August; plus, he’s penning a musical version of Bonnie and Clyde.

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