Tony winner Billy Crudup is about to tackle Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia yet again. The actor made his Broadway debut in the original 1995 production as dashing 19th century tutor Septimus Hodge. Now Crudup is returning to the show for the play's first Broadway revival, playing modern academic Bernard Nightingale.
“When you’re introduced into the [Broadway] community in a role like Septimus Hodge, you get to pretend you’re this thrilling romantic figure,” Crudup told Broadway.com about his experience during the show’s first staging. “I was only six months out of graduate school at the time, so I got to ride on his coattails for a few years. Bernard, however, is a big, pompous buffon, so I’m hoping not to ride his coattails," joked Crudup.
Despite having performed the play previously, Crudup admits he is still continuously surprised by the text. “I thought I knew the play, but because it is divided between two distinct time periods, and I’m now [working in the modern era scenes], I was sorely mistaken. This brand new discovery has been thrilling, infuriating and terrifying.”
Nonetheless, it is Stoppard’s complex writing that drew Crudup back to the revival. “Tom Stoppard is clearly one of the most prolific playwrights of the modern era and this is his masterpiece,” Crudup said. “It marries the intelligence and wit of all of his plays with the heart that people crave in his work. I get goose bumps even talking about it.”
Arcadia begins performances February 26 ahead of a March 17 opening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.