Luke Kirby, From Movie Star to Murderer, and Still Lenny Bruce

Luke Kirby, who portrayed a movie star hired to play “Hamlet” in the cult TV comedy “Slings & Arrows” 16 years ago,  is now on stage for real, as Thomas Hudetz, a murderer in Ödön von Horváth’s 1937 drama “Judgement Day” at the Park Avenue Armory.

Kirby has lived in New York for some two decades now, but has only appeared in a handful of plays, spending most of his time in television — currently as the real-life comic Lenny Bruce in Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” for which he won an Emmy earlier this year, and as closeted civil servant Gene Goldman on HBO’s “The Deuce.”
Why so few stage roles…and why this one now?

Those are the questions I put to him in an interview for TDF Stages.

Below are production photographs from the play, in which he portrays an unhappily married stationmaster of the local train station in a small European town in 1930. Distracted by an unexpected kiss by the innkeeper’s daughter Anna, he forgets to turn on a crucial train signal. The train crashes, killing 18 people. Hudetz lies to the authorities, telling them he did nothing wrong. Anna backs him up. The townsfolk first defend him and then turn against him, as the play descends into darkness. We watch Kirby go from an official as stiff and dutiful as a toy soldier to an outcast as desperate and dangerous as a fugitive.

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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