By Keith Tomasek, Oct. 30, 2022
Cyrus Lane is a fabulous actor, and although you might not recognize the name, chances are you’ve seen his work.
He has appeared in many productions with the Stratford Festival, Drayton Entertainment, Soulpepper, Ross Petty Productions, Talk is Free Theatre and Outside the March. His TV work includes CBC TV’s “Murdoch Mysteries” and the upcoming series “Accused,” from Emmy Award-winning producer Howard Gordon, the co-creator of landmark television, such as “Homeland.”
Lane will return to the Stratford Festival in 2023. He stars with Antonette Rudder in Alice Childress’s “Wedding Band,” directed by Sam White. Lane is also slated to appear in “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Chris Abraham. Here’s where you’ll find the complete Stratford Festival 2023 playbill and cast photos.
Lane is currently on stage at the Grand in London, On., appearing in “Grand Ghosts,” the haunting tale of theatre magnate Ambrose Small, directed by Jillian Keiley.
I last interviewed Cyrus for my podcast in 2017, available below, so it was a pleasure to catch up with this busy actor.
5 Questions with Cryus Lane
1) You recently won a Dora award for portraying the devilish Judge Turpin in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd.” What was the biggest challenge of playing that role, and how did you overcome it?
Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit it (I’m not) but with Judge Turpin, the acting part came pretty naturally. I’ll look into myself later as to why that might be.
The challenge for me was the music, specifically the counting. In the Judge’s solo, Johanna (or “Mea Culpa”), there are bars of 9/8 time that I found fiendishly hard to feel and count. And the Judge’s duet with Sweeney, “Pretty Women,” begins in 5/4 time, which again, made my eyes bleed.
Our brilliant music director Dan Rutzen was saintly in his patience, taking me through it all over and over, and used every trick he knew to make me feel those rhythms. Eventually I did and once they were in, they were so fun to play.
2) On the hit TV show “Murdoch Mysteries,” you play Dr. Rupert Newsome. One of the show’s writers, Dan Trotta, said this about you:
[Cyrus ] is a fantastic actor…
Comedy, I find in my limited experience, can be tricky especially when you really try to bring the funny…there is a security and a confidence that he has in his ability that makes him hilarious.”
Do you recall when you first developed that confidence in your comedic acting?
First of all, I should Google myself more often, because I would’ve liked reading that quote sooner. Thanks Dan!
Comedic acting kind of saved me from being a bullied kid.
In Grade 8, I wrote a Christmas sketch for the school assembly where I played a really mean Santa auditioning increasingly hopeless elves for the Christmas Eve run and it gots lots of laughs. And I thought, “Hey look at that. There’s a bit of power.”
After that, the possibility of performing existed, though I didn’t take it seriously until highschool (where I was also f**king hysterical).
3) The Stratford Festival’s “Possible Worlds” production was breathtaking for the audience and possibly you because you often performed in a cold pool of water.
How gruelling was that, and how many pounds did you lose that summer?
16 pounds in pure shivering.
4) This is your first appearance at the Grand. How long after arriving did you first feel the spirit of Ambrose Small?
I blame him for every mistake I make on stage. So I felt him very early in the process, and every single time we do the show. I even feel him now as I type these responses.
5) You’ll be appearing in an episode of the new anthology TV series “Accused,” from Emmy Award-winning producer Howard Gordon, the co-creator of landmark television, such as “Homeland,” and the showrunner of “24.”
The show has a fabulous cast, including Canadian Molly Parker, Margo Martindale and Rachel Bilson.
What was one of the highlights of your time on the set?
I was playing the great Michael Chiklis’s lawyer, so he was forced to spend the entire three days in my company. Luckily, we got along really well and had a lot of laughs.
Watching him work was about 17 film acting courses worth of education packed into a few days. Plus, he’s a passionate, funny, erudite, generous guy who quarter-backed the shit out of the shoot. I loved working with him.
From each pair below, pick one and explain why briefly with no more than two sentences:
1) The Ghost of Christmas Past or King Hamlet (Ghost)?
Ghost of Christmas Past for sure. He’s trying to be helpful. Hamlet’s Dad is there saying, “My life was ruined. Now go ruin yours for me.” Not helpful, Dad.
2) Casper or Slimer?
Slimer. I’m an 80s kid.
3) “I’m Your Man” or “Dance Me to the End of Love”
This is the only hard one in this list. But I’m gonna go with “Dance Me to the End of Love” because when I did “The Secret Chord” at Soulpepper, Mike Ross arranged it so our genius clarinetist Jacob Gorshaltsan played a long solo in the middle of the song. It was so good I almost died of the musical brain-gasm I had listening to it. Every single time.
Even writing about it now gives me goosebumps.
On now through Nov. 5
471 Richmond St. London, ON N6A 3E4
Call the box office: (519) 672-8800