The Sunday Giveaway: Two tickets to Rasheeda Speaking at The New Group, plus a signed Playbill!

Who says stars are only on Broadway?

The New Group has got one heck of a starry night in line for you with their new production of Rasheeda Speaking with Dianne Wiest and Tonya Pinkins taking lead roles.  And get this . . . it’s directed by a star herself, in her directing debut.  Cynthia Nixon, who you may know from Sex and the City, but I know from one of my favorite teen movies, The Manhattan Project, is helming the Rasheeda Speaking ship.

And we’ve got two tickets for you to see what she does with this “workplace thriller” that “examines the  realities of so-called “post-racial” America.”  Plus, this starry cast will sign a Playbill just for you.

So how do you win?

Lots of actors direct.  Do you have a favorite actor that has become a director?  Name your fave (and why or why not you think actors make great directors) and one of you will win.

Good luck to you and to Cynthia!


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Lauri says:

    I loved Stanley Tucci’s ‘Lend Me A Tenor’ more than I can put into words!
    My three children act and the two older (20 and 16 years old) have had the opportunity to direct as well. I’m not sure whether their experience acting made them good directors but I can say for sure that their experiences directing has upped their acting game!

  • Brian says:

    Joe Mantello – He was brilliant in the dark Angels in America and The Normal Heart but brought a new perspective to an old story with Wicked. Actors make good directors because ideally they know the entire cast and crew should share a common vision of the end result the show.

  • Sarah P. says:

    Kenneth Branagh has proven to be a wonderful director as well as an actor, of both stage and screen! I adored his recent self-starring ‘Macbeth’ at the Park Ave Armory, and hope he will eventually try his hand a Broadway, both acting and directing. 🙂 I think many actors do make great directors because of their intimate knowledge of storytelling, but not all, because obviously certain visual skills are certainly required as well!

  • Dara says:

    In general I think actors can make intuitive, successful directors because they have been in the performers’ shoes and understand the experience more fully. Joe Mantello is an actor turned director who I certainly admire, particularly for his efforts directing such a wide range of shows from heavily dramatic plays to musicals. And of course his acting chops are fantastic – it was a treat to see him have a role in The Normal Heart on TV.

    I recently listened to an interview with Lindsay Mendez in which she spoke about what a perceptive director and kind person Joe is, specifically during her time on Dogfight. He recognized the challenges not only of playing Rose, but also of (often) being the only woman present at male dominated rehearsals. In one great snippet she recalled how on one particularly challenging day Joe sent everyone home but her and they just sat on the floor and talked for hours about the role, life, etc.

    I’ve been excited about “Rasheeda Speaking” for a while. In November I attended a charity luncheon where Cynthia Nixon was the guest speaker and she spoke about the play as well as the challenge of moving into the director’s chair. She seemed to view this as a personal defining moment for her career and she was drawing off her mother’s work for it as well. Should be great to see how it plays out.

  • Brian says:

    Joe mantello

  • Liz Wollman says:

    Joe Mantello.

  • Jerry Katell says:

    Clint Eastwood. A great actor can direct actors better than anyone because he or she understands everything they are up against in putting together a great, truthful performance.

  • Jeanie says:

    Clint Eastwood. He has so much experience as a great actor and understands how actors want to be directed.

  • A.J. says:

    Before I answer the question I’d like to add that in addition to Cynthia Nixon being an actor/director, Tonya Pinkins who co-stars in “Rasheeda Speaking,” is also directing a 10-minute play called “Easy to Love” in the upcoming 6th annual The Fire This Time Festival, which presents the work of emerging African American playwrights including Nathan Yungerberg.

    Now to answer the question, one of my favorite directors is the late Lloyd Richards, who I recently learned was an actor way back when and then he transitioned into directing and Lloyd is responsible for bringing the work of one of the greatest dramatists ever to the American stage, August Wilson.

    • Debbie says:

      I am so proud of the work Billy Porter has done as a Director…I think actors make good directors, because they have walked in those shoes before and know the process the actor may have to use to find their voice and character…Looking forward to seeing “Ham”…Break Legs Billy!!!

  • Nancy says:

    I have not always been a fan of Ben Affleck; actually thought he was on his way out. But with ARGO and Gone Girl he knocked it outta the park ! I think actors can make good directors as they understand it from the actors’ standpoint. They have been in those shoes, so to speak.

  • Karl says:

    I am going to have to go with the first thought that came into my mind: Ron Howard.

    He learned the ropes from the bottom up and is now highly respected and very talented.

  • Teri H says:

    Ron Howard. He was such a classic character in Happy Days and Andy Griffith. Who would have
    thought little Opie would direct so many great films. I think actors definitely can be great directors.
    They understand the business on both ends

  • Candace says:

    John Rubenstein, because he grew up in a musical family, started young in performing, and has directed some great movies!

  • Keni Fine says:

    Dare one prick the “rosebud”?

  • David Rigano says:

    At one of your master classes, Marc Kudisch said he was interested in directing. After watching him help and guide the singers that evening, I’d love to se what he could do with a full production!

  • Rosie says:

    Rob Reiner…great as a actor in the classic, All in the Family. (Yes, it is TV acting!)….and who could forget that great movie he directed about Harry and Sally in that deli scene. Actors can make great directors…they know what it’s like to out front on stage or in front of the camera like no one else can.

  • Yosi Merves says:

    I think Joe Mantello is the person who comes to mind first in terms of making the actor-to-director transition and who has proven the most successful. Walter Bobbie is another person with a good degree of success. Even Jerry Zaks started as an actor.

    I would be interested in seeing more of David Hyde Pierce’s productions as director. I think he would have good insight into characters and roles, and what would make a production work.

  • Joe G. says:

    George Clooney (topical with the Globes ay?)… I would dare to say he’s actually a better director than actor.

  • Tony p says:

    Gene Saks more than proved himself as an actor and director.






  • Brittany says:

    I have to say Rob Reiner because Stand by Me is one of my all-time favorite films. I absolutely think actors make great directors for both stage and film. How could you direct without being an actor first? Those who do both are sensitive to what actors are feeling and thinking, but also (hopefully) objective enough to make sure that the actors’ work and writers’ words are translating for the audience.

  • Bobbi Smith says:

    Jody Foster and Penny Marshall

  • Dave says:

    Tim Robbins

  • I’m really excited about David Hyde Pierce’s Broadway directing debut this season. I’d heard great things about the show at George Street and about DHP’s West Coast mounting of “Vanya…” that he directed. As a whole, I think actors can make great directors because they know from experience what their cast is going through – the same reason why the best teachers tend to be those that actually do what they teach.

  • Jeff Miele says:

    I think actors typically make great directors as they see the acting profession from an intimate angle and can better help actors give their maximum potential. Who betters knows an actor than an actor? My favorite actor-turned-director this year was David Scwhimmer with Second Stage’s production of SEX WITH STRANGERS.

  • Alexa B. says:

    Zach Braff!!!!

  • Brandon P says:

    William Brown (Chicago-based) and David Cromer are both amazing actor/directors. I think the benefit of having an actor at the helm (at least in the theater) is that they understand the technicality behind having to perform a role every day for weeks, months, sometimes years…so they make it a point to cast actors they can trust, then allow most of the choices involving character and motivation to come from the actor rather than prescribing how an actor should act.

  • Mayde A. says:

    Mariska Hargitay. She has been a leader and role model to millions of women during these 16 years on Law and Order, SVU. She’s known to coach intimidated new actors through scenes and make them feel relaxed and able to work. She finally directed an episode this past year and I think her ability to help actors focus on the story at hand and get to the heart of their scenes as opposed to thinking about the production and all the crew and the pressure of being on a set like SVU makes her an amazing new director.

  • Jay says:

    Fred Savage!! He’s honestly the first person who came to mind. I loved him as a child actor, and he’s directed some really fun comedy for TV. I am glad he’s found success because that’s all I want for Kevin Arnold..

  • Caroline M says:

    Mel Gibson. Say what you will about him, but the man can direct. It seems it comes down to core competencies. If you can lead people, motivate actors, cast talent, and edit you will probably be a competent director. If you can also determine what are quality performances, what are solid stories and are willing to invest your time and effort you can become exceptional one.

  • Interesting no one has mentioned Mike Nichols. Probably because people forget that he got his start as an actor. The theater lost one of its greats when Nichols died in November. Nichols put Neil Simon on the map when he figured out how Simon’s comedy really worked, and he never would have been able to do that had he not been an actor first.

  • Milla says:

    Controversially perhaps… I think directing is a skill all by itself that we still don’t give enough credit to as a set of skills on its own. I mean, I might be biased – I did all my acting classes from the age of 5 to 18, but I also started teaching acting and assistant directing when I was 16, realised that I understood acting but wasn’t very good at it, and actually I’m a much better director. Which my drama teacher told my mum when I was about 8, apparently! I think it’s a big lesson to learn – the level of big picture you need. Not saying trained actors can’t do it! It’s just a whole different way of playing, in my opinion. CONTROVERSIAL!?

  • Sue Cohen says:

    Jodie Foster. Actors can become good directors because they understand truthful moments.

  • Margarita Viera says:

    Salma Hayek! Actors/actresses know the ropes and can become incredible directors and producers!

  • ECP says:

    Mmm, this got me thinking. Much respect for hyphenates such as Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Ralph Fiennes, Sarah Polley, and Thomas McCarthy. Each brings depth and nuance to literate, essentially character-driven work, whatever the budget. I will line up for whatever they present. But let me single out Liv Ullmann…for now.

  • Kyrsten Louchen says:

    For movie stars turned director I have to say Jodie Foster. Not only is she a great actress and a legend but the she really picks amazing films to direct and I love her style.
    For plays I have to Joe Mantello. Some of my favorite shows of all time have been directed by him. Not to mention he recently killed it in A Normal Heart!

  • Ashlyn Smith says:

    I’ll throw a new hat into the ring for this one (though I love Joe Mantello’s work), but Jerry MItchell started off on stage, although primarily as a dancer. He has done well for himself as a director.

  • Lori says:

    Brad Pitt

  • I will nominate Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin who was one of the first and one of the best actors who had to act without words. He successfully made the transition to director, producer, composer and sound but let’s not forget that he was also a writer. Some say writers make the best directors and Woody Allen (my number two choice) followed in his footsteps.

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