john-douglas-thompson

Hey hey, who needs a name? Well, the Machine does, for one thing, but also, how about this guy?

The press release says his name is Murphy. So… that would be Officer Murphy? He’s wearing a uniform to do what looks like his usual job, so I’m thinking yes. And we really need either a first name or a title (OR BOTH!), because, well, tumblr is a pain. How many millions of Murphys will I find if there’s just the one name to search?

Take a look at the lovely actor who played the role, John Douglas Thompson.

He’s won an Obie! (Off-Broadway Theatre Award)  He was born in England to Jamaican parents, he grew up in Montreal, and he worked as a traveling salesman in New England.

And then he decided to try acting! And he’s done pretty well!

So… Officer Murphy, yes? Hi, Officer Murphy! Hail, Officer Murphy, the man who gave the Machine a belief system! (And then she forgot it, but she remembered it again, so that all worked out.)

A ticket stub from Langston Hughes reading at 92Y in 1942!  

We celebrate Langston on Feb 23 with the premiere of Young Man Langston, a dramatic reading from the letters of Langston Hughes with two of New York’s finest stage actors —Aaron Clifton Moten and John Douglas Thompson. There are discounted tickets for those 35 and under.

Check out the Poetry Center Online for more archival works from Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y.

“What if I don’t get from the audience what I want?” the stage actor John Douglas Thompson asked.

“It’s because you didn’t bring it,” Christopher Bayes, an instructor at the Yale School of Drama, said. “It’s never the audience’s fault. You have to love that thing you brought. Otherwise, you brought an abstraction. You try. You sing badly, but you try.”

—  Stage Secret by Alec Wilkinson, The New Yorker, May 21, 2012
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Name: John Douglas Thompson

Age: 51

Place of Birth: Bath, England 

What did you / do you want to be when you grew / grow up?

A race car driver or an astronaut. 

Profession:

Actor

Greatest Love:

My soon to be wife, whenever I find her.

The best advice you have given or have been given?

There is no substitute for hard work, and you can’t outrun bad writing. It will eventually catch up with you and bite you in the ass!

3 words that best describe you:

Kind, Generous, Open-hearted

  • Date: 6/13/14
  • Time: 4:12pm
  • Place: Shetler Studios 

Photographed by: Jason Zeren

Satchmo at the Waldorf Review: Louis Armstrong Breathless and Blunt

Satchmo at the Waldorf Review: Louis Armstrong Breathless and Blunt

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Hello, Dolly is a piece of shit.

President Eisenhower was gutless and two-faced for not standing up to that no-good motherfucker Arkansas Governor Faubus over the Little Rock school integration confrontation.

My manager was a son-of-a-bitch.

This is the voice of Louis Armstrong, after the final concert of his life, as depicted in Terry Teachout’s first play, “Satchmo at the Waldorf,” a dramatic…

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Below are few exchanges from a profile of classical actor John Douglas Thompson, who’s learning clowning from Yale Drama School professor Christopher Bayes. This profile – along with Broadway Sizzle, which is documentary-like in its faithfulness to musical theater workshops – remind me of the work, sacrifice, and fabulous diva drama that can come along with acting:

“You have to start singing little songs about things as you do them,” Bayes said. “A washing-the-dishes song, or It’s recycling day. Be open to the possibility of lyricism…When you run to the subway, and you just make it, and the doors go bing-bong, you need to say, ‘Sweet!’ so everyone can hear you in the car. And when you miss it, say–”
Fuck.”
Bayes shrugged. “I liked to say, 'Aw, nuts!’”

…“What if I don’t get from the audience what I want?” Thompson asked.
“It’s because you didn’t bring it,” Bayes said. “It’s never the audience’s fault. You have to love that thing you brought. Otherwise, you brought an abstraction. You try. You sing badly, but you try.”
“And failure?”
“The more you love something, the greater the possibility of tragedy,” Bayes said. “I’ve brought something that isn’t understood, it fails, then there is the effort to reestablish it. Or you begin to cry.”

…“Find a sense of play,” Bayes said.
Thompson seemed unsure.
“There’s certain parts of your talent that you have confidence in,” Bayes said.
“Right,” Thompson said, brightening.
“That’s not what I’m interested in,” Bayes replied.