Canadian actor Paul Gross makes his Broadway debut with Private Lives, a revival of the popular Noel Coward play that debuts Thursday.
His co-star Kim Cattrall is much better known – as the actress who plays man-eater Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. She made her Broadway debut in Wild Honey with Ian McKellen in 1986 and has had plenty of theatre work since.
Cattrall, who was born in Britain, grew up in Canada and now lives in New York, is working to throw off her Samantha persona with a theatre role that's been played by actresses such as Maggie Smith and Elizabeth Taylor.
She first took to the stage in Private Lives in London, then stepped into the role on Toronto stages in September, with Gross as her co-star.
They play a divorced couple who meet again by accident, while they are on their honeymoons with new partners. Coward’s trademark wit is at its sharpest in this script, about a pair who love each other, but cannot live together.
"It really made me laugh. I loved the clip of it. I loved the barb of it. I loved the screwball comedy of it. I had been doing such heavy things and I thought this would be really, really great," Cattrall said.
She was working with director Richard Eyre, who had planned to cast her in Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, which deals with the taboo subject of venereal disease. Instead, they took Private Lives to London and had a hit on their hands.
Cattrall, 55, has had film roles since Sex and the City, including a part in The Ghost Writer, but says she’s more comfortable on stage at this point in her career.
"If you look at my resume, you'll see my theatre and film — they look like two different actors in a lot of ways," she says. "I knew from a very early age that if I wanted to be viable in the theatre world, people know who you are if you have film credits."
Gross began his acting career on stage and played Hamlet at Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2000, but is more associated with TV roles in Due South and Slings and Arrows and directing for films such as Passchendaele.