On Friday night, thousands of students and community members watched as a “five foot nothing, hundred and nothing” character slipped through a poorly secured gate and into the North Tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium. As he emerged from the tunnel, a wide expanse of green spread before him, anchored by two goalposts. Rows of bleachers ascended to the sky. The diminutive character, dwarfed by the arena that expanded around him, walked awestruck onto the field he was seeing in person for the first time.Previously, this scene was a dramatization that existed only in the film “Rudy.” Yet on Friday night, that changed. Thousands of moviegoers relived the title character’s experience and viewed events from his vantage point as they attended Flick on the Field, a screening of the iconic Notre Dame movie on the stadium’s new video board.For co-directors of student life on the executive cabinet of student government, Caitlin Murphy and Tim O’Connell, the event was a capstone to several months of planning and coordination between the administration and various student groups.“We were approached about the idea by a couple of people our first few weeks,” O’Connell said. “We started to push it up in the next few weeks to vice president for campus events and security Mike Seamon, who immediately brought in higher ups in the administration.”According to Murphy, collaboration was key.“Intense planning started last week,” Murphy said. “Casey St. Aubin with the Division of Student Affairs was integral in planning the event.”Most of the planning was handled by the administration and happened over the summer, Murphy said. He said he and O’Connell both envisioned an event reminiscent of last year’s presidential debate watch on South Quad.In creating the event, Murphy said she wanted to take advantage of the stadium’s new facilities.“The jumbotron is brand new, and we asked, ‘how can we use it to create a spectacular student event?’” Murphy said. “There was also no football game this weekend, so we thought it would be a good event to hype up football to the freshmen.”According to O’Connell, the event provided a bonding opportunity for new students.“The date was targeted for freshmen,” O’Connell said. “We wanted to make sure they had something Notre Dame related to do on their first Friday night here,” O’Connell said.Murphy said Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) and stadium ushers were using the event as a dry run for game day security protocol.The field was packed with groups of students, some of whom were seeing “Rudy” for the first time. Others were simply excited to be on the field.“I’ve never seen the movie before, and I feel like you kind of have to,” freshman Charlotte Schmidt said. “It’s even more cool to see it with everyone from the school.”“I think it’s awesome that they’re having this event on the field,” senior Zach Myszka said.For many students, the screening marked their first experience with the renovated stadium.“I really wanted to see the new addition to the field,” freshman Caroline O’Callaghan said. “I felt like it would be cool to sit on the field and watch the movie.”The movie was shown on the very field which takes a center stage throughout the film. O’Connell described the sensation of watching the stadium scenes as “stadium-ception.”With a large turnout, there was an undeniable sense of community amongst the attendees. Sophomore Alice Felker explained that this aspect of the event was what drew her to attend.“It’s a big community builder,” she said. “A lot of the student body came out to celebrate Notre Dame and be on the field.”The film was marked with several instances of cheering from the assembled crowd. During one sequence that featured the “Notre Dame Victory March,” the student body clapped as it would during a football game. During the movie’s final moments, as the on-screen student body began to chant “Rudy! Rudy!” some of its real-life counterparts joined in. But the loudest ovation of the evening came when Rudy, after being rejected from Notre Dame three times, was finally admitted to the University.“When Rudy got his acceptance letter and everyone clapped, that was really special,” Murphy said. “I think we all felt the same way when we got our letters and just bringing that community together was a great moment.”Murphy said it was “very touching” knowing that they had created such a special experience.O’Connell said one of the purposes of this event was to introduce students to the new Duncan Student Center — part of which is due to open in several weeks. Nevertheless, the two said that the event represented the best of Notre Dame.“We’d definitely like to thank all of those who helped us,” O’Connell said. “We’re not going to pretend we did this by ourselves or could do it by ourselves.”Murphy said she echoes those sentiments.“We’re very thankful to everyone who worked the event,” Murphy said. “This really was an event that exemplified the spirit of the Notre Dame community.”Tags: division of student affairs, Flick on the Field, Rudy
University librarian Diane Walker presented to student senate Wednesday night on the updates to Hesburgh Library, which is undergoing an extensive, multi-year renovation. “We’ve been thinking about [these renovations] since 2012,” Walker said. “We’ve developed a master plan, because we knew it was going to be a multi-year, multi-phase project, and the master plan was meant to guide us through all of the phases of the project.”Walker said she wanted coherence in the execution of that plan.“In the end, it should all look like one, big connected project, not a bunch of individual ones,” she said. One of the first renovations was taking out the marble wall in the second floor of the library and opening it up so those on the second floor could see the stadium and quad outside. “For those of you who don’t know what it looked like before … it’s hard to appreciate just how difficult it was to navigate and understand what kind of activity we wanted to go on,” Walker said. “One of our goals was to make the intellectual and academic engagement in the library more visible. We wanted to partner with other University groups to provide research and learning services in the Hesburgh Library. We wanted to provide quality and study work space for a whole use of the library.”That “whole use” of the library, she said, applies to students, faculty and the almost 200 people who work in the libraries across campus. “We need to manage our effective growth,” Walker said.So far, the entrance and the first, second, fourth and tenth floors have undergone major renovations.“What’s important to note here … is how dark it [used to be],” Walker said. “And now you have windows looking out onto the courtyard.” Jessica Kayongo, a sociology librarian, said the next phases of the project — the complete first and second floors — should be completed by spring or summer 2018. “It’s all behind construction walls right now, and we’re sorry because we know that takes up study seats, but we think you’ll be pleased once we emerge from this project,” Kayongo said. There are intentionally many windows in the space, Kayongo said, lending themselves to natural light and transparency. “That’s a result of a lot of student feedback, saying there was not a lot of natural light in the library,” Kayongo said. “And … the artificial light was just not good, so we want to allow as much light to pass through as possible and make our activities as transparent as possible.”Additionally, there will be what is known as the “Grand Reading Room” in the location where the Fishbowl currently is by 2020. “There are a lot of seats in this space, so it would sort of be your quiet, heads down study space,” Kayongo said. “It will be a two-leveled space with a connecting stairwell.”Finally, there will be a museum-quality update to the special collections area. “This houses some of our most rare materials, and what we need to do is showcase it a bit more,” Kayongo said. “We think this is a great way to do that.”Tags: Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame Student Senate, renovation
Communication studies professors Marne Austin and Terri Russ are redefining learning through their implementation of mindfulness in their classroom setting.Professor Austin said she defined mindfulness as a commitment to always being present in the current moment.“Mindfulness is a practice of presence and of radical presence with each other,” she said. “It means that we must strive to be present to ourselves in our own lives. This requires purposefully slowing down to be here entirely in each moment.”After noticing the negative effects that many cultural trends have had on learning, Austin said she chose to implement mindfulness in her classes.“So often in our culture and society we pride ourselves on business and like to pretend that we are very good at multitasking,” she said. “Studies are showing more and more is that multitasking can’t actually happen effectively. If we are doing multiple things at once it means it’s only getting a fraction of our attention. It’s no wonder that we are losing our connections with each other and the things that we’re doing if we’re only partly present.”Austin uses two main mindfulness practices in her classes: breathing exercises and compassionate listening. These practices allow students to slow down and open themselves up to endless educational possibilities, she said.“In class we start by pausing,” Austin said. “The idea is that there’s nowhere else we’d rather be, nothing else we need to do, except be here and we can trust that we have this inherent brilliance and that we all matter and have something to offer.”Austin said she has noticed a great change in the classroom as a result of these small enhancements.“Students have more courage and feel safe to ask questions,” she said. “The energy shifted. When we were able to divorce our being from the things we said and the questions we asked, then anything could be said and learned.”Russ said she begins classes with what she calls a “mindfulness moment,” often employing use of freewriting.“Just write for the next 10 minutes,” she tells students. “Don’t stop writing. If you don’t know what to write, [then] write ‘I don’t know what to write.’”Professors tend to feel crunched for time to teach everything they need to during class time, so the idea of giving up a few minutes for a mindfulness exercise can seem risky, Russ said. However, Russ said she finds this to be a worthwhile use of class time.“It allows not only for more focused discussion, but also deeper discussion,” she said. “So the cost-benefit analysis of that is that I end up gaining some class time by taking away some class time.”Implementing mindfulness into their daily lives helps students focus outside the classroom as well, Russ said, so long as it doesn’t become another item on an increasingly long to-do list. She said she has even given a keynote address titled “I’m Too Busy to Be Mindful.”“We’re very task-oriented as a society,” she said. “We like our checklists. We like to know exactly what we’re going to do [and] how to get things done. Mindfulness, then, becomes another task. By making it another task, we think ‘I’m too busy to be mindful.’”Mindfulness is said to improve focus and productivity, but Austin and Russ agree that it goes beyond this.Mindfulness‘ positive effects go beyond simply improving one’s focus and productivity, Austin said.“When you start practicing mindfulness, you do it personally because it’s this self-care, but it’s through this that you transform the world around you,” Austin said.Tags: classroom practices, meditation, mindfulness, teaching methods
October is LGBT History Month, celebrating the history and resilience of the LGBTQ community. But PrismND, Notre Dame’s only official LGBTQ+ student organization, is committed to promoting pride and allyship year-round. As they plan for the year ahead, PrismND’s officers said they want to facilitate love and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community on Notre Dame’s campus.Senior Kendrick Peterson, president of PrismND, said Notre Dame’s Catholic identity makes Prism’s LGBTQ+ advocacy work “a unique challenge.” Although the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage and transgender identities on doctrinal grounds, it also stresses the dignity of the human person. That emphasis on human dignity, PrismND officers said, aligns with Prism’s mission.“There’s a huge element of Catholic Social Teaching — those elements that Notre Dame really does try to emphasize,” said junior Matt Sahd, co-vice president of PrismND.Peterson said many Catholics on campus believe LGBTQ+ individuals should be able to live their identities freely.“You should allow LGBTQ+ people to live authentically because they belong to our community and they sit on the margins of our society, and we need to help those people,” he said.PrismND officers said many members of Notre Dame’s LGBTQ+ community need affirmation and support. In spring 2018, the University published the results of its Campus Climate Survey, revealing that many transgender and non-binary students say they don’t feel a sense of belonging at Notre Dame. Additionally, many transgender and non-binary students reported experiencing adverse treatment by students, staff and faculty.Taz Bashir, a fifth year architecture student and co-vice president of PrismND, said the survey results made PrismND “explicitly aware of how disadvantaged our transgender community is and how a lot of our queer individuals on campus do not feel like they’re welcome.” In response, PrismND has prioritized advocacy work for the transgender community this year. Bashir said he hopes PrismND can “provide spaces that are both safe and welcoming and respectful to everyone and their stories.”Although PrismND was officially founded in 2013, Sahd said PrismND can trace its roots back to 1996 when the University created the Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs. In the years since that first University committee was created to support the LGBTQ+ community, the officers said the support for LGBTQ+ students has improved significantly. Even though some student groups and administrators still oppose PrismND’s work, Bashir said those voices are no longer mainstream.“All these views are largely on the fringe. And the reality is, your average Notre Dame student is an ally now. I couldn’t have said that five or 10 years ago,” Bashir said. “We see our community as one that welcomes us, and when we see the attacks against us, we recognize that isn’t common opinion.”As the only LGBTQ+ student group on campus, PrismND officers said they face the challenge of catering to a highly diverse community. To meet this challenge, the officers said they’ve intentionally reached out to communities and student groups that haven’t traditionally been involved with the group.Jenny Gomez, secretary of PrismND, is a senior at Holy Cross. She said the organization has become much more diverse since she first joined.“My freshman year, the only person I knew — besides myself — who was going to PrismND meetings was a gay, white, cisgender male,” she said. “We’ve grown to the point that we have probably the most diverse board that Prism has seen in its [history].”According to its bylaws, PrismND is an apolitical organization, meaning the organization does not endorse political candidates or engage in political activism. However, as an organization committed to defending the LGBTQ+ community, Prism officers said they often find themselves forced into contentious debates.“No matter what, we’re an apolitical organization,” Peterson said. “However, advocating for queer identity can be seen as political.”The officers said they want to collaborate with a diverse array of student groups across the ideological spectrum. Last November for the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, PrismND held a prayer service with the pro-life student group Notre Dame Right to Life to honor the memories of transgender individuals who had lost their lives. As the year continues, Peterson said he hopes more student organizations will reach out to PrismND, bridging the divide between different communities on campus.“Prism is an organization about love,” he said.Tags: Catholic Social Teaching, LGBTQ, Pride, PrismND
Everybody say yeah! Kyle Taylor Parker and Steven Booth have been cast as Simon/Lola and Charlie Price, respectively, in the first national tour of Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s Tony-winning Kinky Boots. The high-heeled and fabulous show is set to begin performances September 4 in Las Vegas before continuing to cities across the country. Additional casting will be announced soon. In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price (Booth) has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola (Parker). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible…and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. Other casting includes Darius Harper, Ricky Schroeder, Juan Torres-Falcon, Hernando Umana, Damien Brett, Stephen Carrasco, Lauren Chapman, Amelia Cormack, J. Harrison Ghee, Blair Goldberg, Crystal Kellogg, Ross Lekites, Patty Lohr, Mike Longo, David McDonald, Bonnie Milligan, Horace Rogers, Anne Tolpegin and Sam Zeller. View Comments The design team for Kinky Boots includes scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by John Shivers and orchestrations by Stephen Oremus. Parker, who performed as one of the Angels and as the Lola understudy in the Broadway company of the show, and Booth (Avenue Q, Glory Days, Dogfight) will be joined by Lindsay Nicole Chambers (Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Lysistrata Jones) as Lauren, Joe Coots (TV’s Inside Amy Schumer, The Full Monty national tour) as Don, Craig Waletzko (Guys & Dolls, Young Frankenstein) as George and Grace Stockdale in her touring debut as Nicola. Directed and choreographed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots opened on Broadway on April 4, 2013 and continues to play at the Hirschfeld Theatre. The musical took home six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Lauper), Best Choreography (Mitchell), Best Orchestrations and Best Sound Design.
The Broadway.com staff is crazy for Culturalist, the website that lets you choose and create your own top 10 lists. Every week, we’re challenging you with a new Broadway-themed topic to rank. We’ll announce the most popular choices on the new episode of The Broadway.com Show every Wednesday.Last week, we asked you to rank the Broadway dance numbers that get your toes tapping. The results are in, and “A Musical” from Something Rotten! came out on top! This week, in honor of the 50th anniversary production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the works, we’re dreaming of dreamy dudes who could headline the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Broadway.com Site Producer Joanne Villani posted her list of top ten picks here!STEP 1—SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your 10 favorites and click the “continue” button.STEP 2—RANK: Reorder your 10 choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button.STEP 3—PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top 10 list. If you like it, click the “publish” button.Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list.Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the next episode of The Broadway.com Show! View Comments
Ooh la la! An American in Paris became the first Broadway musical to perform on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on September 18. First up, director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon gives Colbert a dance lesson (he “nailed it,” apparently). Then Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope took the stage to show the world that they’ve got rhythm. Check out the videos below; the show is playing at the Palace Theatre. Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 9, 2016 An American in Paris Related Shows View Comments
View Comments James Corden(Photo courtesy of Theo Wargo/Getty Images) Now that the 2016 Tony Awards are over, let’s take a moment to talk about how perfectly entertaining James Corden was as the evening’s emcee. Corden kicked off the ceremony with a heartfelt message about the devastating attack in Orlando, Florida, saying: “Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together, we will make sure of that. Tonight’s show is a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards.” Corden then spent the next three hours showing off all of his many talents, including his cheeky sense of humor, his (Tony Award-winning!) singing and dancing chops and, of course, his uncanny ability to keep genuine smiles painted on everyone’s faces. We immediately fell for his early musical number where Corden joyously celebrated all of the theater roles he’s dreamed of playing ever since he was a young boy, including Jean Valjean (Les Miserables), Simba (The Lion King), Danny Zuko (Grease), Maria Rainer (The Sound of Music), Annie (Annie), Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof) and, naturally, Mama Rose (Gypsy). For the rest of the night, Corden kept the show moving right along while also eliciting chuckles from guests inside the Beacon Theatre and audiences at home. His bit about all of the Law & Order acting credits Broadway stars have, especially Danny Burstein (we counted seven!), had us LOL-ing. But most importantly, Corden kept the inclusive message of “This could be you!” at the forefront of the show, and that is exactly the right note for a show that celebrates the magic of Broadway and live theater. Hosting the Tony Awards is a challenging gig, but Corden pulled it off with ease. As far as we’re concerned, Corden has our love, our praise, and we’ll love him till our dying days.
Nicholas Afoa in ‘The Lion King'(Photo: Disney) Nicholas Afoa has only ever been in one professional musical ever and it happens to be that globe-trotting crowd-puller The Lion King. Having first played adult Simba in Australia, the 30-year-old New Zealander has now stepped into the same role at London’s Lyceum Theatre for a year-long run in the West End. Broadway.com caught up with the engaging performer about shifting from sports to the stage and his new life in a familiar show away from home.You were a successful rugby player back home when an injury necessitated a change of career, and now here you are starring in arguably the biggest musical of all!Yes, and I feel in a way as if my two passions have come hand in hand in terms of music and sport having both been a huge part of my life. Not everyone gets to make it in both areas, but I’m very lucky that they have both come my way.Did you feel you had to choose?Well, I always thought I would make it in the sporting arena but I was playing rugby in Singapore some years ago when I was 23 when my knee gave way underneath me, and that was pretty much the beginning of the end of rugby. I did rehabilitation and tried to come back [to the sport] but it was never really the same, so I needed to make those tough decisions. I had to make a living, so I decided not to play anymore.What happened next?I have a very loving and supportive family, especially my parents, and having grown up with this rugby dream, I had always been told, “Look, son. This world in sport is not always a given, and you can be injured and it’s all over.” The thing is, I never thought that would happen to me, so when it did, I was kind of like, “OK, let’s see what else is out there.”Did you go straight to the stage?The stage thing didn’t happen right away. I had many years of hardships trying to find out what my next purpose in life was. I went and got a BA in social sciences at university in Auckland [New Zealand] and worked for a while with troubled youth, which was wonderful because it was about giving back. When the opportunity to audition for The Lion King came along, that changed my whole outlook. I never thought it would happen like that.How did you prepare for your audition?I had YouTube’d it a million times and seen any scene or song that was available, and I had read a lot about some of the Simbas that had played the part in the past—like Jason Raize, and how beautifully he portrayed the character. I also watched quite a few others and came to see that there are so many different ways to play the role—so many different qualities—that it wasn’t just a carbon cut-out that they wanted. At the end of the day, they wanted the truth. You needed to look good and to be able to sing, but at the top of the list, you needed a certain truth.What is it about the role that you respond to?Simba’s journey resonates with everybody, which is why the show has done so well not just in America and England but all over the world. It’s universal and timeless.Does the experience feel the same here in London as it did back in Australia?Of course, it’s the same script and the same songs, but the energies are different so in some ways it has felt like an entirely new show. I got tears when I heard the first notes here in London because they reminded me of my friends back home and of my first professional experience in a theater show. But we’ve got a new Nala and Pumbaa, among many other cast changes, so it still feels fresh. After 800 performances, I’m finding new things. It’s great to be able to do that.Is there a community of past and present Simbas?It’s funny you say that: a few months after I started, I contacted all the Simbas and acquainted myself with them. It’s been really nice to connect with people I haven’t ever met but still feel I know because we share a role.Has any particular advice stuck with you?Jonathan Andrew Hume was great in allowing me to put a face to the name. We met up a couple of times, and he kept telling me to be gracious with myself and to give myself more time. I was anxious about doing a good job in the West End, and he assured me that they wouldn’t have asked me to come [to London] if they didn’t think I could do it.Does London now feel like home?Home will always be New Zealand, but for now, I’m contracted here for a year and after three months, I can already say that I could see myself here for another year or so. My wife and I will at some point decide whether London is a place where we could see ourselves [longterm], but I’m keeping my options open.How would you characterize your singing voice?I like to consider myself a crooner and really love Michael Buble and that sort of sound. I’m not quite a classical tenor and can’t hit the Pavarotti notes, but I’m not quite a classical baritone either. I guess you could call me a bari-tenor.Do you see yourself ever returning to professional sports?I don’t think given the impact and contact that come with rugby that my body—and especially my knee—could withstand that pressure. For now, I’m enjoying just running on a stage without people trying to tackle me; I like it like that. View Comments
Matt Barber in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s'(Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes) Breakfast at Tiffany’s is rarely long absent from the stage, or so it seems. Recent London and New York productions in 2009 and 2013 are now followed by yet another incarnation of the classic Truman Capote tale, this one starting previews June 30 at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Pixie Lott inherits Audrey Hepburn’s 1961 screen role as Holly Golightly, with Downton Abbey alumnus Matt Barber as the young writer who falls under her spell. Broadway.com caught the engaging Barber for a chat while he was driving to an evening performance during the show’s pre-West End tour.How does is feel to be a part of such a time-honored title as Breakfast at Tiffany’s?It’s a fantastic, astonishing opportunity for me as an actor. I get to play these two characters side by side [at different points in the writer Fred’s life] and literally stepping between them mid-sentence so that you see [Fred] 15 years further down the line when he’s established and has had success and made a bit of cash and also when he’s young and unformed, like a sort of grasshopper.Are you excited to make your West End debut?Absolutely! Even having done Downton Abbey, this feels like a new pinnacle: the opportunity to play a lead onstage and particularly at the Haymarket, which is such a beautiful place. It sort of leaves me speechless.How are you, an Englishman, coping with a demanding American accent?Well, this guy is from the South, for sure, but I’m certainly not hitting up the southern accent too heavily. My feeling is that for an English audience that would be just another obstacle. My interest, in any case, is more in the types of characters and how they sound rather than where they’re actually from. I remember at university people’s accents changing from when they started [college] to when they finished.Previous stage versions of this story have featured onstage nudity.We’ve got a bathtub scene as well, but it’s bloody quick and it’s not about getting naked. If you go that route, then that becomes the thing everyone remembers and talks about. This isn’t like [the Peter Shaffer play] Equus, where you can’t get away with not doing [stage nudity] because it’s a fundamental part of the story; here, you can deal with it with a bit of smoke and mirrors, and the audience experience is exactly the same.What do you find intriguing about your character’s dynamic with Holly?The thing with Fred is that he desperately wants to be at the center of his own story, but whenever Holly’s around, he just can’t be because she’s so much more everything than he could possibly be.It’s funny you call him Fred because, in the 2009 London production, he went by the name of William.They must have made the choice to give him an identity in exactly the same way that we sort of haven’t. I think we decided that we might as well call him Fred because that’s what everyone else calls him: the key point is that he knows who he is, especially once he’s older.This is a different text from that earlier London staging: you’re using the Richard Greenberg version that was seen on Broadway on 2013.We’ve also done a lot more work on the text, not to mention that we will have had 14 weeks on tour before we hit London. I feel like the difficulty is staying true to Truman Capote’s book while still turning it into a play. The book is very wordy, very descriptive, and we’ve really tried to strip it back so that the story is as clear as possible.It’s no secret that you’re playing a version of Capote himself.Very much so. This is really Capote writing about his younger self—this young writer who hasn’t had any success and doesn’t know where his sexuality sits and is caught up in this massive explosion of life, which is the girl who lives downstairs.Which brings us to your leading lady, Pixie Lott, in a role immortalized onscreen by Audrey Hepburn.The thing with Pixie is that she’s got obviously the star quality you need to draw upon in a role like this, which is that she is completely intoxicating for any male that comes anywhere near her. You need somebody who has this quality that when they walk into a room, all heads turn—it’s like in Downton Abbey when the cameras went on Lily James [as Rose] and I found myself next to somebody you might link to Marilyn Monroe or, indeed, Hepburn.Lily James will be appearing minutes away from you throughout the summer in Romeo and Juliet. Will you be hanging out between shows?Well, all that was rather a long time ago, and I haven’t actually spoken to [James] in a while, but I’m looking forward to catching up with her.What about the legacy for you of Downton, in which you played the aristocratic Atticus Aldridge?That was an incredible experience and it remains an incredible experience even though it’s over. Everyone was working very hard and at the top of their game. That said, it’s not as if I was suddenly swamped by people as a result of it; it wasn’t a significant profile-builder in that way. The benefit was far more just from the job and the experience.Still, you must feel as if your career is well on its way.Well, I’d love to feel as if I was even off the starting block, to be honest with you. But I’m absolutely adoring now being onstage and feel as if I want to do a healthy mix of everything. View Comments