‘Stereophonic’ Pays Tribute To Donald Sutherland Without Changing A Word Of Dialogue

About three-quarters of the way through every performance of David Adjmi’s Tony-winning play Stereophonic, two characters – Holly, the British keyboardist/vocalist (played by Juliana Canfield) and Grover, the American recording engineer (Eli Gelb) get into a debate over their favorite movies. Their favorite erotic movies, to be exact.

The setting being, as it were, a cantankerous rock & roll recording studio session circa 1976, there’s no surprise that Holly and Grover likely won’t agree, and indeed, Grover chooses Last Tango in Paris, making sure to point out that every woman he’s ever dated has had a crush on Marlon Brando.

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Not so Holly. She finds Brando mean and misogynist, and much prefers the sensitive poignance of Donald Sutherland in the grief-stricken romantic thriller Don’t Look Now.

Now, Holly mentions Don’t Look Now every night, but on Friday night the words landed quite a bit differently among the audience at Broadway’s Golden Theatre: Sutherland died just two days ago at 88 following a lengthy illness.

As soon as Holly began to extol the romantic, melancholy appeal of Sutherland, the Broadway audience gasped as one and then let out a heartbroken blend of “oooohhhs” and “aawwwws.”

As Canfield continued her scripted praise of Sutherland and his Don’t Look Now grief-stricken performance, the audience at the Golden peppered the speech with scattered applause and other expressions of commiseration.

“Rest in Peace, Donald Sutherland,” tweeted Stereophonic playwright David Adjmi, predicting his audience’s emotions to the note.

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