‘November’ Star Nathan Lane Thrilled by Opportunity to Finally Play a Man

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The question on everyone's mind at yesterday's rehearsal-day press meet-and-greet for David Mamet's coming Broadway election satire, November, was just how soon the strike would end. The show doesn't open until January, so Mamet and cast weren't overly concerned. Peppy Nathan Lane predicted it would be over by this morning; he was wrong. But the big question on our minds was … Nathan Lane in a David Mamet play? "I'm a huge David Mamet fan," said Lane. "And interestingly, we almost worked together twice."

The writer of acerbic, macho dialogue called Lane personally on the tail end of his Tony-winning Producers run to ask if he'd star in Boston Marriage. "He wanted me to play one of the women," said Lane — a lesbian. "I said, 'Well, I always hoped I could work with you, but I'd hoped I could play a man.'" Is that why he didn't do it? "The timing wasn't great for me," he said diplomatically. Then he was asked to play a judge in Mamet's Atlantic Theater farce, Romance, but he was doing another play and thought he'd never hear from Mamet again. But November he had to take — he'll be playing a shady president named Charles Smith. Asked if America is ready for a gay president, Lane offered a baffled look and said, "Well, Charles Smith is not gay. Are they ready for a woman president? I think they're ready for a good president." —Boris Kachka