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Catherine Zeta-Jones chats with EW about starring in Broadway's 'A Little Night Music'

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Catherine Zeta-Jones, 40, is an Oscar winner, the star of movies such as Chicago and The Mask of Zorro, the wife of Michael Douglas, and the mother of two children. And, through June at least, she’s also a Broadway star, as Zeta-Jones is headlining the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, playing diva actress Desirée Armfeldt opposite five-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury, 84. EW’s reviewer Melissa Rose Bernardo gave the production a B+ and praised Zeta-Jones, saying her “Hollywood glam buttresses the role’s necessary off-puttingness.” (Could Zeta-Jones be adding a Tony nom to her resumé? Seems like a possibility.)

Somewhere between her eight shows a week, Zeta-Jones managed to find a few minutes to talk to EW about a range of stage-related topics, everything from the time she made up her own Sondheim lyrics to the teeny-tiny size of her dressing room at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Here’s what she had to say:

On why she chose A Little Night Music as her Broadway debut: “After Chicago, there were numerous offers for me to do Broadway and revivals of plays. I took my time in finding the right thing, and what really appealed to me about A Little Night Music was that, unlike other musicals where you have to fill in the gaps with the scripts, it was predominately a great play. With the added bonus and genius of Stephen Sondheim. Regarding Desirée, I have so much fun playing her. She has so many different layers. There are poignant, vulnerable, ballsy, farcical, and comedic elements to her. And maybe it was a little bit unexpected of me to do a six-month run of a Broadway show.”

On the difference of doing eight shows a week now versus when she last did it 20 years ago, while in 42nd Street in London’s West End: “Twenty years ago, I didn’t have anybody but myself to worry about. That’s the beauty of youth! I would do the show for nothing basically because I loved it so much. Now, obviously, my life is completely different. Not just with my glorious family but with life and business in general. I was completely unknown. People didn’t travel around the world to see the show because I was in it. So that’s a different dynamic.”

On her major flub while singing “The Glamorous Life” during a pre-opening night preview of A Little Night Music: “I made up my own Stephen Sondheim lyrics in a whole song. I just walked out on stage, and I was thinking about something else, and all of a sudden the chord hits, and I went, ‘What am I singing?’ It has become a recurring nightmare. I don’t think I did Stephen Sondheim justice at all, but I didn’t miss a beat. I don’t know what the hell I sang!”

On her time NYC: “I find myself loving it! Then again, I had great aspirations to do so much. I wanted to go to the galleries, and of course, you have the shopping and I wanted to play golf. It’s impossible in this weather to go out and play golf! I wanted to see friends, to have lunch, to explore new restaurants—do all the things this fantastic city has. But, I just drag my butt around and contemplate a two-show day or a one-show night.”

On her husband, Michael Douglas, and kids—son Dylan Michael, 9, and daughter Carys Zeta, 6—coming to see her perform: “Michael has seen it twice, and my kids are going to come. They’re desperate to sit in the box. I don’t think they care what they see, as long as they sit in the box. I must say, they’re very grown up when it comes to theater. They, as opposed to Mummy, have seen so much, theater-wise, it makes me jealous. They’ve seen Finian’s Rainbow and Phantom and Wicked—for the third time! They’re pretty grown up.”

On working with her co-star Angela Landsbury, 84: “I’m in awe of her career! If ever I could predict my future and write the perfect blueprint for where I would even start to jump, it would be her career. There’s a diversity of theater, television, and film, and she’s able to jump so effortlessly from one medium to another. It’s just adorable. And how dare I ever, ever publicly announce that I feel tired when I see her doing eight shows a week. She’s a joy to watch!”

On her dressing room at the Walter Kerr Theatre: “I can barely do a high kick in my dressing room! When they made these theaters, they didn’t give a hoot about actors. Stick them in a broom closet—they’ll be fine! But I’ve decorated very kind of burlesque, and actually very theatrical Desirée-ish. Burgundy drapes and gilded mirrors. It puts me in the mood.”

On greeting fans who wait at the stage door, post-show: “I sign [autographs] pretty much every show. Sometimes if it’s a matinee and I need to sleep afterward, I don’t. And if it’s horizontal rain and snow, I think it’s useless when the pen doesn’t work and the Playbill is soaking wet.”

On the craziness that sometimes ensues at the stage door: “I’ve had a few marriage proposals from the crowd, but I just think to myself, ‘Gosh, they must be living on Mars to think I’m not married.’ But people have asked to marry me. Yeah, I would if I could, but I can’t!”

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

More from EW.com:

‘A Little Night Music’ review

This Week on Stage: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury star in ‘A Little Night Music’

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury to star on Broadway

Stage hub

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