Welcome to BroadwayWorld's new feature, and first-ever talk show, BACKSTAGE WITH RICHARD RIDGE. Follow Richard as he visits Broadway's best and brightest in their Broadway dressing rooms and favorite hang outs to talk about their lives, careers and all of the things you don't know, but want to know.
You've seen Richard chat with Spidey lovebirds Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano, visit with UK's First Lady of musical Theatre, Elaine Paige, and go downtown to chat with Jonathan Groff about all things GLEE, Lea Michele and The Submission. Today, Richard is back in Times Square at the Marquis Theatre for some quality time with fan favorite Jan Maxwell, currently starring as "Phyllis" in Follies. During the talk, Jan speaks candidly about being a young struggling actress in New York, her shortcomings (cooking!), and how she almost left the city for good before she even got going...until she found 'Angels.'
Indeed, at the age of 33 Maxwell finally made her Broadway debut as an understudy in the Cy Coleman/David Zippel musical City of Angels in 1989. She eventually took over the dual roles of Carla Haywood and Alaura Kingsley. Additional Broadway credits in the years following include Dancing at Lughnasa, replacing Brid Brennan in the role of Agnes, A Doll's House in 1997 opposite Janet McTeer, Neil Simon's The Dinner Party in 2000 opposite John Ritter and Henry Winkler, and Sixteen Wounded in 2004 with Judd Hirsch and Martha Plimpton. In 1998, she played Elsa Schraeder in the first Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. In 2005, she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and won the Drama Desk Award for the role of Baroness Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
In 2006, she starred in Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway revival of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane for which she received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress. In 2006, she also reunited with her Sound of Music co-star Richard Chamberlain in Hawaii Opera Theatre's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I in Hawaii. In 2007, she starred in the Broadway production of Coram Boy, for which she received her second Tony Award nomination, for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Her off-Broadway and regional credits include performances in The Seagull at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1985, in House & Garden at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2002, in A Bad Friend at the Newhouse Theatre, Lincoln Center in 2003; and at Carnegie Hall in the Stephen Sondheim concert, Opening Doors in 2004. In 2008 she appeared Off-Broadway with the Potomac Theatre Project/NYC in Howard Barker's Scenes from an Execution and was nominated for a Drama Desk and NYITT award. In 2008, Maxwell appeared on Broadway in the Manhattan Theater Club production of To Be or Not to Be in the role of Maria Tura at the Friedman Theatre.
But, it was the 2009-2010 season that brough Maxwell her latest burst of acclaim, with two Tony nominations that year for the Broadway revival of The Royal Family (for which she won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play), and the Broadway revival of Lend Me a Tenor (for which She won the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play). She is only the fourth actress to receive double nominations in a single year. She also led Second Stage's production of Wings that season.
Maxwell has also lent her voice to several audio books, including Mary Higgins Clark's Two Little Girls in Blue and No Place Like Home.
Want to know more about Jan? Click below for the heartfelt interview! To catch her onstage nightly at the Marquis Theatre, visit www.folliesbroadway.com.