In a year in which many of us have struggled with staying productive and creative, how have you kept this busy?
I’ve been answering the call that is obvious, to me anyway, that the zeitgeist, the paradigm, is changing. And it’s calling for healers, those of us who see the malady, who want to look for the people who understand that this is the time for coordination, cooperation, communication, collaboration. We need one another.
The need now is those of us who want to build bridges, not destroy them. Those of us who want to help the new world come to life, not those of us who look over our shoulders and say, “Oh, wasn’t that a better time.” And that would keep you busy. There’s a lot of work to be done.
How does it feel to be coming back to “Hadestown”?
I don’t know if you’re familiar with my Tony Award acceptance speech — I received my award and shared with the audience what I called my three cardinal rules for sustainability and longevity. Because they tell you if you’re fortunate enough to receive the award, you have only 90 seconds to speak — and I’ve seen too many of my colleagues try to thank 100 people in 90 seconds. You can’t do it. So I thought, let me drop a wisdom bomb.
The first thing I said was, surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. Rule No. 2 was: Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be. And then the third, which is why I’m bringing this whole thing up: The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next. As you achieve different pinnacles, don’t ever think you’ve made it. Don’t ever think you’ve arrived. Take a few moments, take in the view, the vista, the panorama, then lift your chin and see there is another mountain that you have to ascend. That’s called life.
The pandemic interrupted the timing of that particular mountain. So I want to get to the pinnacle of “Hadestown” and then look up and keep climbing. Now I’ve already mentioned, but one of the other mountains is the third time that I play the role of King Lear — and then I want to direct it.