Diane Lane stars in “The Cherry Orchard” from Sept. 15 at The American Airlines Theater.
She made her Broadway debut at the age of 12 in the ensemble of the Andrei Serban-directed 1977 Lincoln Center Theater production of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.” Now, almost 40 years later, Oscar-nominated Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”, “Under the Tuscan Sun”) goes back to her theatrical roots in The Roundabout Theatre Company’s staging of the Chekhov classic, adapted by Stephen Karam, fresh from his Tony win for best new play for “The Humans.” We asked the raven-haired beauty about her return to The Great White Way, her peeves and picks, her secret side and the brawn of Batman.
It’s a full-circle moment for you, being back on Broadway in The Cherry Orchard.
I just got out the clippings from when I did the show in 1977. I’m starting to admit that my life is particularly bizarre at this point, after being around this long.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to that production in the 1970s?
The blackout of 1977. We were all onstage together and there was a show-must-go-on mentality. We finished the show with flashlights, stick lighters and candles. There was an announcement from our stage manager: “It’s a multiborough blackout, and it’s kind of scary out there, so maybe you want to stay with us for a little.”
You were so young.
It was exhilarating. I’ll never forget the blue lights that came on in the hallway, downstairs in the dressing room area. I knew they had them on airplanes—who knew they also have them in theaters?
Do you have a favorite theater role to date?
I don’t. I miss my early years in the theater at La MaMa—doing the trilogy of Greek plays that we did: Medea, Electra, The Trojan Women. I loved touring with those plays. We traveled the world, bringing snakes and birds with us for our shows. It was incredible. We were like a traveling circus!
What are you looking forward to most about being back in the NYC theater community?
If I could have a secret project, it would be selfishly to see all the shows I can, and to go backstage and ask everyone how they’re feeling.
Favorite restaurant in the Theater District?
I like Joe Allen and Cafe Un Deux Trois. They’re friendly, convenient and they’re not pretentious.
What’s the best experience you’ve had in a Broadway theater as an audience member?
Either at the original Noises Off in the 1980s or Diane Paulus’ 2013 Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin. I like fun, and both are fun.
Which five iconic figures would you invite to a dream dinner party?
Pema Chodron, Elon Musk, Malcolm X, Hillary Clinton, documentarian Josh Fox
Favorite medium—screen or stage?
I love the theater because it’s much more of a team sport. In film, you’re detached from the end result. You have to promote it a year later when you’re no longer attached to the project. I’m grateful for the work wherever it comes, but it’s fun to say that I can do both.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Loving what is.
What qualities do you most loathe in others?
They are always rooted in some wound that art asks me to comprehend.
What does no one know about Diane Lane?
I am shy in groups larger than fit in a car.
You play Martha Kent in Batman v. Superman. If there was a duel between Batman and Superman, who would win?
You’re going to go there? I don’t really know. Can I tell you once I’m done being employed by the franchise?