Lovers of literature and the inner workings of the minds that craft it can revel in the wordfest that is “Seminar.” The play, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck, stars Jeff Goldblum in the role originated by Alan Rickman on Broadway.
Goldblum, under the direction of Sam Gold, plays a brilliant but unconventional literary luminary teaching a private course to four young aspiring writers. Despite having lived with the play for the past seven months, Goldblum says he is continually exploring his character, the mesmerizing, manipulative Leonard, and making new discoveries on an almost daily basis.
Smart, sexy, and provocative, the comedy explores the depths of what it means, and what it costs, to be an artist. Goldblum joined Larry in studio to talk about the play and what's next for him once the production wraps on November 18.
On how he prepared to fully embody his character, Leonard:
"I love this material, Theresa Rebeck is a brilliant playwright. This piece of material is wonderful and its challenging and needed all my studying. I like to study anyway, so I got some students and some teachers that I work with and I started to work with it every day and we started to put it on. I've got a guest house in my backyard and I made a little set like the set and we put it on and showed a couple of people once a week who had never seen it before and had focus groups. I've been studying it…So its a great class for me, you rarely get a piece of material like this that's so juicy and beautifully written."
On how much he's learned about his character during the play's run:
"I'm still challenged, I am going to eat up these last couple of weeks that we've got because its so complicated and mysterious and poetical, that at least for me to fill it all in is a very delicious little assignment. There are references to the character's past and what happened exactly. You finally find out that I'm wounded and sabotaged myself in some ways. To make that real and to make it personal and invent in a detailed way about it, it's just challenging to me. I love it and like I said I woke up this morning thinking about that one element about this stuff that I'm teaching them and it started to make a little more sense to me, and that's not for lack of trying I've done this every day for the last seven months, since I found out I got the job. So I'm going to be sad to see it go."
On what he's working on after they play wraps:
"I do a couple of movies the day after I finish this. I go off to Paris to do this movie that Rorer Michele is directing who I worked with in "Morning Glory," who did "Notting Hill," and a couple independent movies that I've seen, "Venus" with Peter O'Toole…Then I come back and I play with my Jazz band here, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, we have a gig at Crustacean on New Year's Eve, please come you're heartily invited to that. I'm a pianist I sing a little bit and I've got great musicians who play with me, so we're going to play that and then I go off and I do Wes Anderson's next movie the Grand Budapest Hotel in Germany in January."
On his side gig as a Jazz pianist:
"I'm from Pittsburgh, my dad was a doctor, but they were fans of theater and bring home Errol Garner records and Jazz records and they gave us piano lessons and it kind of took with me, especially when I discovered jazz and I started to play around Pittsburgh in cocktail lounges when I was 15, 16. I always wanted to be an actor, but I've kept a piano with me and started to play out and about here in L.A."
For ticket information visit the Center Theater Group website.
Jeff Goldblum, actor currently starring in Seminar at the Ahmanson
Theresa Rebeck, playwright, television writer, novelist; her play "Seminar" is playing at the Ahmanson Theater through November 18