*Variety caught up with actress Uzo Aduba as she prepared to start rehearsals for “Clyde’s,” a new Broadway production from writer Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey that’s set to open at the Second Stage’s Hayes Theater on Nov. 23.
Aduba stars as Clyde, the owner of a truck-stop sandwich shop staffed by formerly incarcerated people. The cast also includes Ron Cephas Jones, Reza Salazar, Kara Young and Edmund Donovan.
“When you’re on Broadway, the question that is always overhead is how long until we’re told we’re going to close?” Aduba tells Variety. On mounting a production during a global pandemic, she adds: “I’ve never been in a show where it’s been ‘Are we even going to open?’ because the drama’s happening so big offstage. There’s a character bigger than any of us at play here that makes all of this seem like it’s built on shaky ground.”
But Aduba, best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” is hopeful “Clyde’s” will go smoothly, despite COVID literally lurking in the wings. “I am an optimist in my core and spirit,” she says.
“Clyde’s” marks the actress’ return to the New York stage after launching her career Off Broadway in “Venice,” which ran at the Public in 2013, shortly before the premiere of “Orange is the New Black” that summer.
Regarding her theater return, she told Variety: “My team and I have been looking for something for a long time because this is my lifeblood.”
After signed on to “Clyde’s” in the spring, producers released the above teaser photo of Aduba’s character In mid-September. “Clyde is a woman who is just trying to make it,” Aduba says. “She will claw your eyes out if that’s what it comes down to. But not for your destruction, but for her own preservation. … That’s the only thing that she knows is how to survive.”
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