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Real-life married couple star on Broadway
McNenny, 50, went on to plenty of TV shows and off-Broadway work and was in the film “The School of Rock.” She made it to Broadway in “Coram Boy,” “The Constant Wife,” “After the Fall,” “A Few Good Men” and was most recently in Mike Nichols’ “Death of a Salesman.”
Her 59-year-old husband moved on to win Tonys for “Gypsy,” “Contact,” “She Loves Me” and “The Heidi Chronicles,” and recent roles opposite John Lithgow in “The Columnist” and James Earl Jones in “Driving Miss Daisy.”
Over the years, they have shared a stage only rarely. There was a two-night benefit on Broadway in 2002 and a play at the Westport Country Playhouse a year later. (“We intersected almost zero onstage,” she says.) They also were in A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” in 2010 at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J. But that’s about it, until now.
Why such few times sharing a stage? “First of all, Boyd can do musicals and I can’t,” says McNenny.
“Well, they let me do them occasionally. I don’t know if I can do them,” says her husband, modestly. “Certainly not well.”
Other factors in the mix include a stubborn lack of great roles for women and the need to have at least one parent at home to raise their 14-year-old daughter, Leslie.
“My opportunities in the city are just different,” says McNenny. “My husband has four Tonys and I don’t have any. So he’s going to be asked to do things in a different way than I am.”
Gaines and McNenny try to see each other’s work as much as possible and like to help prepare the other for roles. For “An Enemy of the People,” they’ve both gotten to run lines together for the same scenes.
Over the years, they’ve watched other actors play their spouses without much fuss. “My feeling is, `Whoever they chose, they chose for a reason,’” says Gaines. “I don’t tend to have sour grapes.”
But McNenny feels differently this time.
“Actually, I would have been very sad to watch somebody else play this particular part in this play,” she says, turning to her husband. “I think I might have been jealous. I might have been. I can’t say I’ve ever felt that way before with any show you’ve been in.”
Perhaps that feeling will translate into onstage sparks, but neither veteran is sweating the audience’s reaction. “Hopefully, they’ll either believe us as a couple or they won’t,” says Gaines.
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