Brian C. Miskell, a Falmouth Academy alum, stepped into a lead role in a Broadway play called “The Waverly Gallery” at the Golden Theater this past Sunday, January 6.
“The Waverly Gallery” follows the final years of Gladys Green, a tenacious and chatty woman fighting the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Miskell played the role of Daniel Reed, a speech writer who lives down the hall from his grandmother, Gladys.
“The Waverly Gallery” is a “memory play” told through recollections, a format pioneered by Tennessee Williams in “The Glass Menagerie.” It draws on Daniel’s memories for structure, opening with an argument between him and Gladys and closing with a monologue memorializing her.
Mr. Miskell performed the role in place of Lucas Hedges, who attended the Golden Globes on Sunday. Mr. Hedges was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture for his role in “Boy Erased.”
This was Mr. Miskell’s first performance on Broadway. As an understudy, he had never done a full run of the show before performing, “let alone in front of an audience,” he said.
Despite being nervous backstage before the show, once he got on stage he, “started to have quite a bit of fun.”
Mr. Miskell said the cast was supportive before and during the show. He was excited to perform inches away from Elaine May, whom he regards as “one of the greatest comic minds in all of American history.”
“The Waverly Gallery” comes from the mind of Kenneth Lonergan, an American filmmaker, screenwriter and playwright responsible for works like “Manchester by the Sea,” “Lobby Gallery” and “This is Our Youth.” Mr. Lonergan used his own experience with his grandmother for the play.
New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley called the play”a work of such hard, compassionate clarity.” Peter Marks of The Washington Post wrote that the play was “profoundly touching.”
The Broadway World message board had positive reviews for Mr. Miskell. One writer using the name henrikegerman wrote, “Brian Miskell gave a superb performance as Daniel. With May, Cromer and Allen there was such a feeling of family it was very hard to believe Miskell hadn’t been playing the role every show of the run.”
Mr. Miskell is also an understudy for the role of Don Bowman, played by Michael Cera, a painter who lives and exhibits his work in Gladys’ art gallery, the namesake of the play.
Mr. Miskell has performed in a number of roles in New York since he completed his studies at New York University and the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in 2010. In 2017 he returned to Falmouth to read for the Cape Cod Theater Project, an incubator for up-and-coming American plays.
Eileen Miskell, mother of Mr. Miskell, said she was proud of the performance. Mr. Miskell’s parents were in the audience along with other family and friends.