Message from the Artistic Director about The Real Thing

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by Todd Haimes

IMG_20140927_141732This week, The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard, directed by Roundabout’s Resident Director, Sam Gold, begins preview as the first production at the American Airlines Theatre in this 2014-2015 Season.

Tom would probably cringe at this, but I honestly believe that The Real Thing is one of the greatest modern plays in the English language. It has characters drawn in exquisite detail and with deep humanity. It tackles an eminently relatable theme – the timeless question of following the mind versus following the heart. Its dialogue is full of humor and wit, the complexities of which continue to reveal themselves with each fresh encounter. And above all, it is flawlessly structured to keep us on our toes, with each scene giving us a little puzzle to sort out as an audience, bringing up questions of artifice and reality. What’s real, what’s performance, and at what point do those lines become inextricably blurred?

I could go on, but one thing is certain – this play can speak for itself. I think that’s why great artists are continually attracted to the piece. To have a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Cynthia Nixon, and Josh Hamilton certainly says a lot about the play’s ability to hook performers. Cynthia is even coming to The Real Thing for a second go-round! She played teenager Debbie in the play’s Broadway debut back in 1984, and now she returns as the character’s mother, Charlotte. The list of plays that both actors and audiences want to revisit regularly is a rather short one, but the emotional depth of The Real Thing puts it among them, continually drawing us back for more.

To be producing The Real Thing simultaneously with another Tom Stoppard play, Indian Ink, is just an abundance of riches. It’s also meant that Tom has been spending time with us this fall, and to embarrass this humble man yet again, I’ll say that it has been an immense pleasure to have this master dramatist in our midst. I hope that you’ll be seeing both of his shows with us, to fully appreciate the brilliance and breadth of his artistry.  

Please share your thoughts on The Real Thing by emailing me at I can’t tell you how greatly I value your feedback each season. Please keep it coming.

I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!


Todd Haimes
Artistic Director

Related Categories:
2014-2015 Season, From Todd Haimes, The Real Thing

1 Comment
  1. Carole Grant

    December 17, 2014

    I am an avid theatregoer and a Tom Stoppard fan.
    The difficulties we had last night were with the blasting cold air above and in understanding (and often times) hearing the female leads. Actually, at the end, we couldn’t understand half of what Billy was saying.
    Needless to say, this marred our experience. It might have been our seats, but that shouldn’t BE the case (J13–way to the left).



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