Edward Norton on how playwright Edward Albee gave him his first paid role
Sometimes, all it takes is a little luck. Or, in Edward Norton’s case, a very well-written letter to acclaimed playwright Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). The actor and director recently sat down with Signature Theatre as part of its Signature Voices series to share a personal experience that led him down the path of success.
“I looked him up in the phone book and he was listed,” Norton shared about reaching out to Albee while he was working on an off-Broadway show. Norton’s reason for contacting the playwright? He wanted to know if he could produce and star in a one-act play that had never been produced.
That didn’t pan out, but Albee offered Norton something better: a return letter, a visit to see the actor in his show, and an invite to audition for the play Norton had wanted to produce, which was being performed at the Signature Theatre. While Norton didn’t end up with the role he wanted, he didn’t walk away empty-handed, scoring a part in Fragments, one of Albee’s new plays.
“I was 24, and it was the first check I ever got for acting,” Norton said. “It was one of those experiences you just don’t forget. It was my first experience working with a great, great playwright.”
The Signature is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary season, and the video series spotlights personal experiences of creative professionals who have been involved with the Tony-winning theater (where Norton now serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors). Watch the exclusive video above.