“I just went blank onstage in a way unlike I have since The Monkey’s Paw in college in 1998. I am all flop sweats and apologies.” This is what Rich Sommer tweeted on Wednesday, after the final preview performance of his Roundabout Theatre Company play The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durin. We were there for that performance but, having missed his confessional tweet, had no idea Sommer flubbed a thing. (Good recovery!) In fact, had he not brought the incident up to us last night, at the show’s official opening, we’d have been none the wiser. But Sommer — who plays an anxious son-in-law to a supremely charismatic, manipulative David Morse in the show — was eager to get the full story off his chest. And, as you’ll see, an embarrassed Rich Sommer is just so adorable.
Congratulations! I saw the play last night.
Excellent. You saw me mess up a line.
I didn’t —
Dude. Okay. I appreciate — it’s good to know that David Morse is good enough to save a scene that I think no one in the audience noticed. I basically, like, firebombed a scene. A question that I’m asked that I’m supposed to say “no” to I said “yes” to, which drives the entire rest of the scene, which is all dependent on me seeing “no.” And, my God, my insides were just soup. And David, thank goodness, navigated us out of the fog, but holy God … Anyway, you were here for that historic moment, which was the time I almost quit acting in the middle of a scene.
Now that I’m thinking of it, I can remember you saying yes to that question —
Basically we turned it into a lie. That I was lying somehow, which was David. He fixed it.
It worked, though!
I think it did work, but that’s a credit to him, not to me — who got distracted by a stupid thing.
Do you know what distracted you?
I do. [Laughs.] So the envelope I give him — well, this is a story point. So I’ll just say I have a prop, [and] they changed the size of the prop. And all of a sudden I noticed that it was sticking out of my jacket and I was like, Oh! I don’t want people to see that! So I tucked it back in my jacket, and then I was like, Oh God! He asked me a question. “Uh, yes, I did.” And I just, I mean, it was over. Nightmare. Truly the actor’s nightmare.
Well, you had a good recovery. So, Mad Men. Would you like to see Harry go to California?
I have to imagine we’ll see Harry go to California in some way. I don’t know anything about the story coming up, but the guy certainly got the foot in the door for our firm in California, so I imagine we’ll see him there at some point.
His wardrobe is so good there!
Man. California Harry is a real different animal. A real different animal.
Do you think now that the cat’s out of the bag with Draper saying he was raised in a whorehouse that his character—
I mean, he sort of blew it all up. He sort of blew up Don Draper for the second time. And I think that — things can’t really be the same after that. He’s been put on a leave of absence from work, and who knows? I think we will see sort of a new layer of him that we have not been privy to, and I think every character on the show is going to see something they haven’t seen quite yet. I can’t wait to get that first script.