James Joyce’s The Dead: Marni Nixon interview part 3 | Quotidian Theatre Company

David Dubov

Quotidian Theatre Company opens its 15th Anniversary Season tonight with its first musical, James Joyce’s The Dead. Richard Nelson and Shawn Davey adapt Joyce’s story about a family Christmas party and marry the story with music that draws from Irish tradition. To prepare for this production, Quotidian co-founders Jack Sbarbori and Stephanie Mumford, accompanied by QTC board member/actor David Dubov, traveled up to New York City in September to record a three-part interview between renowned opera and cabaret singer Janice Hall and singing legend Marni Nixon. Hall plays Gretta Conroy, the leading lady in Quotidian’s upcoming production, and Nixon originated the role of Aunt Kate in the Broadway production. Although Nixon has had a long and distinguished singing career, she will be forever remembered as the voice behind Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Deborah Kerr in The King and I. Her fascinating autobiography, I Could Have Sung All Night, is available at Amazon. Dubov plays Freddy Malins, and has this to say by way of introducing the third and final part of our interview:


Marni Nixon

It was hot and humid. I was overdressed in a jacket. We couldn’t use the air conditioning because it made too much noise. And we couldn’t have the windows open because the traffic noise from the street below likewise made too much noise.

But there was nowhere I would rather have been.

I was very privileged and honored to be sitting beside the legendary Marni Nixon, who had graciously welcomed us into her apartment to film a short series of interviews about her experiences in the Broadway production of James Joyce’s The Dead.

She was so genuine, funny, and forthcoming that I felt I had known her for years. We discussed her co-star, Stephen Spinella, who played Freddy Malins (who I’m also playing in Quotidian’s production), and she told us story after story, giving us unique insight into the workings of this Tony-winning show.

On the bus back to Washington that night, the remaining glow of our afternoon spent with Ms. Nixon warmed me more than the humid air.

And it was wonderful!

~David Dubov


Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of James Joyce’s The Dead runs Nov 16 – Dec 16. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, with one added 2pm performance on Saturday, Dec 15. All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815. There is ample parking across the street (free on weekends), and the theatre is just five blocks from the Bethesda Metro Station on the red line. Tickets are $30, or $25 for students or seniors, paid for at the door by cash or check, please. Call 301.816.1023 or email quotidiantheatre@comcast.net to reserve.

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