Among the many pleasures of living in New York is the possibility of seeing great theater at one of the excellent companies on and off (and off off) Broadway. What makes the experience even sweeter is getting to see an actor you’ve admired on other media, be it film or tv. While I’ve been lucky enough to catch plays with stalwarts like Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart in the past, I was thrilled this weekend to see a Roundabout Theater preview of “Love Love Love,” starring Richard Armitage (a.k.a Thornton/Thorin/Harry/Lucas North) and Amy Ryan (Holly from the Office and Oscar-nominated for Gone Baby Gone).
Staged at the intimate Pels theater on 46th street, the play by Mike Bartlett is steered by Michael Mayer over the course of about two hours. Fitting half a century of British (and late capitalist) social history into a couple’s interactions in three different homes, it takes us from the 60s to the present in no time.
While much of my starry-eyed watching had to do with Armitage, Amy Ryan gave a bravura performance throughout, and the script bounced and cut its way through snappy line of dialog. Like my fellow viewers, I found myself chuckling at the characters, though often in a sort of appalled fashion.
After the show, I was hoping for a chance to meet the actors, though security was unsure if they’d be signing autographs that afternoon. (They may not if there are two shows on one day.) As luck would have it, Armitage was out within minutes of the curtain, and quickly signed playbills and posters. I snapped a few pictures in profile
and was delighted with his consent for a quick selfie as well. Swoon.
The icing on the cake was an unexpectedly shy Amy Ryan exiting from the cast door and kindly signing autographs for everyone who rushed around the corner on noticing her.
She posed a striking contrast not just to the character she had played but also to my image of an Academy Award nominated actor.
I think I’ll be framing my Armitage and Ryan photos, along with the signed playbill and the ticket. *Whistles “New York, New York, What a Wonderful Town*