theater

Changing Rooms: Where James Franco, Denzel Washington, and More Get Ready for Broadway

Photo: ANDREAS LASZLO KONRAT

This season, the Broadway stages are filled with men of the screen — with James Franco in Of Mice and Men, Denzel Washington in A Raisin in the Sun, Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan, and Bryan Cranston in All the Way, among others. These five allowed photographer Andreas Laszlo Konrath to shoot portraits in their dressing rooms, and told us all about their fan gifts, celebrity visits, and pre-show rituals. Click through the gallery ahead to see them all.

*This article appeared in the April 21, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.

What’s here: “I have a couch, and I spend a lot of time there reading and sleeping. They made a chalkboard wall for me, so people could sign it; that worked for a week, but then I forgot about it.” Fan gifts: “I’ve been getting a lot of mail here—decorations, like drawings of Allen Ginsberg. And Milky Ways—in the movie This Is the End, my character, James Franco, supposedly loves Milky Ways, but I actually don’t.” And one celebrity visit: “I just met Lady Gaga on her birthday—she’s a friend of a friend—and I didn’t have any present, so I gave her one of the Milky Ways. She brought me a king-size Butterfinger. So now I have that on top of my Steinbeck portrait in the dressing room.” Photo: ANDREAS LASZLO KONRAT
What’s here: “It’s like all hotels: two lamps, two tables, and a bed. My wife’s like, ‘You gotta get some stuff in here.’ I got stuff. I got flowers! I brought my pillow from home, for naps. My Bible. And my Daily Word—it’s something positive, and it’s not overly religious. Let’s see, I haven’t read today’s yet: The words I speak and write carry energy and power, so I choose them with care and clear purpose. Interesting!” Preparation: “A one-hour routine. Coffee. Stretching. Vocal stuff—what I do isn’t that wacky, but other people around, they be makin’ some strange noises.” During the show: “I’m in the first 19 pages and then out until page 38. In between, I’m keeping my mind clear. As the run goes on, I might start looking at the paper.”
What’s here: “I have three conjoined rooms. The pink room is where I get made up—it’s like a very kinetic candy shop. The lavender room is calmer; there’s a couch and a record player. And then there’s a room for physical therapy. You can still smell the paint … and not the panic. I have a poster of Dolly Parton—early Dolly, drag-tastic.” After the show: “I have to shower, ’cause I’m covered in sweat and tomato and makeup and glitter. Glitter will just never go away. I have reams of Scotch tape to take it off every night.”
What’s here: “I have a pillow my mom’s friend had made which has GOOD LUCK DAN in Gaelic and the island of Inishmaan on it. Plus Ricola, Listerine, and foam massage rollers. On How to Succeed, I learned when you’re doing a show eight times a week you’ve got to take care of your body.” Plus some gifts: “My character talks quite a bit about cows—there’s a running joke—so I’ll probably end up with a lot of stuffed cows and bells. When I did Equus, I got horses, which I don’t understand because my character had a pretty weird relationship with horses. And the artwork you get at stage door is sometimes amazing and sometimes scary. People draw my eyes massive—sometimes I think, Jesus Christ, I look like anime.”
What’s here: “In the anteroom, I have things for people to look at when they visit: big longhorns on the wall, the Texas flag. And in the makeup area, I have a few pictures of Lyndon. I’ll look over at him and catch his eye while I’m applying makeup. He seems to change his expression; sometimes he approves or disapproves. ‘No? Too much eyebrow pencil? Okay, I’ll take it down a bit.’ ” Preparation: “I put on cuff links which were his, and Luci Baines Johnson gave me a tie tack of her dad’s, which I wear in the show as well. I sip a Throat Coat tea throughout the show. Oh, and I slaughter a goat and drink its blood before I go on [laughs]. Actually, that would be very LBJ.”
Where Five Hollywood Men Get Ready for Broadway