Dermot Mulroney's training (re: the reports in this thread have been kind... even generous...)
Last Edit: Marlo*Manners 01:21 pm EST 02/23/24
Posted by: Marlo*Manners 01:10 pm EST 02/23/24
In reply to: the reports in this thread have been kind... even generous... - Chazwaza 07:59 pm EST 02/21/24

Dermot Mulroney was about four or five years ahead of me at Northwestern University's Theater program. He has had university training and though I don't have specific information as to what shows he did, he almost certainly acted onstage in the university shows. So this was not his first time acting onstage I am sure. Mulroney certainly had stage training at Northwestern though I doubt it was geared towards musical theater.

I do however suspect that given his leading man good looks and youth, Mulroney immediately went to Los Angeles and scored steady work in the film and television industry for the next 40 years. He probably never went back to live performing. Mulroney is now 60 years-old.

Also, we are getting different reports from different people who saw different shows that Mulroney's comfort and security with his lines and blocking were variable. He reportedly was very sketchy in the initial performances but improved over the limited run. Not that he ever achieved excellence and authority in the role, but he seemed more on top of the material if still uncomfortable.

Dermot Mulroney is likely somebody who had stage training and had some theatrical experience in his youth, but may not have been onstage in 40 years. If not used, the muscles atrophy and would take time to come back. Maybe he didn't have that time or sufficient preparation and rehearsal in this production.

Also there is discussion of the characters of Frank (later revealed to be Frank Capra) and also Fatty Arbuckle. Mabel wasn't the only comedy film superstar to emerge from the Sennett factory. Mabel Normand's colleagues in the Sennett stock company also included Marie Dressler and Charlie Chaplin. In 1974, Chaplin was still alive and his permission would have been required to portray him onstage. Fatty Arbuckle had died several decades back but his widow Minta Durfee was alive and in charge of his estate and the licensing of his image and name. Don't know about Dressler, but she was long dead. So the original libretto by Michael Stewart just had anonymous comics around Mabel who didn't contribute much. William Desmond Taylor, who was portrayed onstage, had buried his real identity and past and had no surviving family or executors or legatees, so he seems to have been fair game.

Any mention of Arbuckle or Frank Capra would have come from later book revisions, I am pretty sure. The roadblocks in using the names and images of the real people who worked with Mabel I think created problems in the book that had little correlation to the actual biographical facts of Mack and Mabel's legendary lives and careers.

Marlo Manners (Lady Barrington)
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