Song & Stage

Catherine Curtin Brings ‘Steinbrenner!’ to Guild Hall

The fabulous Catherine Curtin, long experienced in the acting world, shares her views as a proud Manhattanite and why she’s excited about her August 2 reading of Steinbrenner! , a new play by Ira Berkos and Bill Madden. Read on to acquaint yourself with the thoughts of a true New York actress.

I’d like to ask you about this new project you’ve been working on, Steinbrenner! Why did you decide to join in this particular performance?
Oh, it’s so exciting! I’m so excited about the script. It’s real grit, real risky. Steinbrenner was a risky guy and I love to be involved in stories like that. I’m a New Yorker, you know, and this is a real New York scene. There’ll never be anything like this era again. We live in such a politically correct world now; meanwhile Steinbrenner was all about what he wanted for his team. He was such a character. You don’t come across people so easily like that anymore. I feel so nostalgic about it — this is the New York I remember. These massively important souls just right in the neighborhood, having a drink or dinner and they’re right there. These dynamic people just right there. That’s my city, my history.

What were your first thoughts on the script and the play as a whole?
I would’ve loved to meet this guy. (Laughs) I would’ve wanted to be like a fly on the wall and hear every conversation. Be at the bullpen sessions, everything. I love human beings; this was an extraordinary one to say the least. You just can’t not love to hate here.

While learning the script, were you affected personally by the story in any way?
A lot of times in a play, I’m curious to see where it’s going to hit my heart, but on opening night. That’s really when I see how the audience responds, and I react to that. It’s greatly anticipatory.

Do you see any similarities between you and the character you’ll portray, at all?
I try to go after very different characters in my performances. You know, I was in the Janis Joplin play at Bay Street, I was in Orange. And I’m still meeting Eileen, you know! They’re still working on the script, so it’s a learning process. And I’m so happy to be a part of it.

What was it like working with Mr. Myler?
Randy is so great. He’s a genius. And I love how genuine everyone is. They aren’t faking any of this — they truly care about their subject. They were in the trenches with him; they couldn’t be more informed. It’s all about commitment. It’s not like some directors who, you know, make some kind of documentary about country music and don’t care at all about that kind of genre. Who don’t know anything and could care even less. That is not the case at all here. They do care, and they’re passionate about sharing Steinbrenner’s story.

How do you feel to be working out East in the Hamptons?
I couldn’t love it more! How could I not love the Hamptons? It’s such a magical place. The audience is super savvy, educated, up. They’re so exciting to work for. I love it out there.

If you could choose, what three actors or actresses would you really want to work with?
Maggie Smith, Judy Kaye, Helen Mirren.

Lastly, what is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out? CC: ‘Calm down and put one foot in front of the other.’ It’s not brain surgery! Oh, and ‘Say yes to everything.’ I wish I had known that earlier.
Is there anything you’d like to add? CC: I’d just like to give a big shout-out to the audiences of Orange!!! Thank you so much!

Catch the staged reading of STEINBRENNER! by Ira Berkow and Bill Madden starring Richard Kind and Catherine Curtin on Sunday, August 2 at 8 PM. Based on the best-selling book by Bill Madden and directed by Randall Myler. $30, $28 members of Guild Hall. 158 Main St, East Hampton. 631-324-0806, guildhall.org.

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