The chatter hasn’t stopped since Lauren Ambrose was cast as Fanny Brice in director Bartlett Sher’s forthcoming revival of Funny Girl. So, when Broadway.com had the chance to chat with Rachel Griffiths, the Broadway-bound star of Other Desert Cities, we couldn’t resist asking about her former Six Feet Under sister-in-law. Does Ambrose have what it takes to carry a Broadway musical?
“I think she’s going to be sensational,” Griffiths declared. “She is such a talent! When she was on Six Feet Under, I felt I had never met a woman of her age who had the fierceness and the heart and the emotional range she has. Her ability to drive [a scene] is quite remarkable. I think she’s going to be fantastic.”
After spending five seasons as Brenda Chenowith on Alan Ball’s HBO drama, Griffiths moved directly to five seasons as Sarah Walker on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, created by Other Desert Cities playwright Jon Robin Baitz. It comes as no surprise to the actress that in the coming months, she’ll be joined on the New York stage by former co-stars Ambrose, Michael C. Hall (Big Fish) and Matthew Rhys (Look Back in Anger).
“Television is really similar to the theater,” said Griffiths, who has starred on stage in Proof, A Doll's House and more in her native Australia and received an Oscar nomination for Hilary & Jackie. “The actors who thrive in television have an acute faculty with language—they can turn on a line, handle complicated and very specific cadences and find a character through that. It makes sense for TV actors to step effortlessly between the stage [and small screen]. I think it’s much harder for film actors.”
Griffiths is set to begin previews of Other Desert Cities at the Booth Theatre on October 12, co-starring with Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach, Judith Light and Thomas Sadoski. A full Q&A with the actress will appear in the coming weeks.