Alex Brightman was doing Spamalot at the Kennedy Center when The Shark Is Broken auditions rolled around. But he wasn't going to miss his chance at playing Richard Dreyfuss on Broadway, so he took a 4 AM train from D.C. to New York City and was back for that evening's show. He got the part.
Brightman plays the Oscar-winning actor alongside Colin Donnell as Roy Scheider and Ian Shaw as his father, Robert Shaw, in the behind-the-scenes play about the making of Jaws. The three film actors spent a lot of down-time aboard a fishing boat awaiting weather-related, and broken mechanical shark-related, film delays.
"I had to be persuaded, because it felt quite risky," says Ian Shaw of even writing The Shark Is Broken. The play, co-written with Joseph Nixon, zooms in on the off-set relationships between the three men, particularly the contention between Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw.
"I liken it to NASA—when they put three astronauts in a cockpit the size of the center of the Orca [the fishing boat in Jaws], they had to pick those guys very, very carefully. In Jaws, they didn’t pick those guys carefully. They just shoved those guys in there and said, make the best of it,” says director Guy Masterson.
Hear more from Shaw, Donnell, Brightman, and Masterson in the video above.
The Shark Is Broken begins Broadway previews July 25 at the John Golden Theatre. Opening night is set for August 10. The limited engagement will play through November 19.