The delightful Broadway revival of Marc Camoletti’s outrageous door-slamming sex farce – the most performed French play in the world, oui oui! – recently welcomed three new stewardesses aboard. Replacing Kathryn Hahn, Gina Gershon, and Mary McCormack, respectively, as the objects of affection for architect/womanizer Bernard (Greg Germann) and his befuddled pal Robert (Tony winner Mark Rylance) are Paige Davis (pictured, left, host of TLC’s Trading Spaces), Rebecca Gayheart (pictured, middle, Nip/Tuck, Ugly Betty), and Missi Pyle (pictured, left, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dodgeball). Between tripping, fly-catching, and furniture-humping, they managed to tell the Footlights what it’s like in the midst of all that wackiness.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s your favorite scene in Boeing-Boeing?
GAYHEART (who plays Italian sex bomb Gabriella): It changes every night! Last night it was the end of Act One. It’s a scene with Christine [Baranski, who plays the heavily accented housekeeper Berthe], Mark, and Greg, and it’s just fast and furious.
DAVIS (feisty American Gloria): The moment I come out of the bathroom and flash Robert. It’s one of the biggest laughs in the show. Even if I have a really off night and am feeling down, I can always get perked up.
PYLE (German goddess Gretchen): I really love my first scene. It’s really over the top. I come in and basically hump all the furniture, all the while acting with Christine, who is a genius.
More Boeing-Boeing sexcapades after the jump…
If you could play any other part, which would you choose?
DAVIS: I suppose Gretchen, but it’s almost impossible for me toimagine. Mary McCormack and Missi have both hit it out of the park! Butit would be great fun.
PYLE: Definitely Gloria. She is so crass and unapologetic. Shebasically dominates the second act. I actually auditioned for her partinitially, but I am a giant and Matthew [Warchus], our director, didn’teven pay attention to my audition. He just said, “Great, now readGretchen.”
GAYHEART: I would love to be Berthe — she has the most comfortablewardrobe! Flats, leggings…and she has a great dance at the end[during our choreographed curtain call]!
What has been the biggest mishap since you’ve stepped in?
DAVIS: Just last week I tripped on the carpet while carrying adrinking glass and spilled “whiskey” all over the gorgeous creamcarpet. Leave it to me!
GAYHEART: Tripping…shoes coming off…doors not opening! You name it. But that stuff keeps us on our toes!
PYLE: One night, I came on stage, and the audience started giggling andI had no idea why. Then I found out there was a giant horse fly on mylapel. And no matter what I did, it wouldn’t go away. I completelybroke character and couldn’t stop laughing. Once I got off stage, Ifound out the fly had been on stage since the beginning of the play.Mark, playing Robert, made a joke to Christine, saying, “There areflies all over this place,” and Christine pretended to stomp on it.When she got off stage, she let it out into the courtyard outside ofthe theater, but it refused to leave us. It had been such a huge partof Act One that she went back outside, put it into a cup and brought itout for the curtain call. It got the biggest applause any of us haveever gotten. Mark says it was an old actor friend of his reincarnatedand waiting for his final curtain call.
Which of you three is most prone to laughing on stage?
DAVIS: I have to call it a tie between Missi and Rebecca.
GAYHEART: Missi Pyle! Missi Pyle!
PYLE: Oh man…me definitely. Or maybe Rebecca. We have one scenetogether at the end of the play and we have to basically tell eachother to “eat it” and neither of us can even look at each other whileit’s happening.
What was the biggest challenge of taking over a role in such ahighly charged comedy? How did you want to make your performancedifferent?
GAYHEART: It was like jumping on a train that’s going at full speed.I just focused on making it my own and showing up with a new Gabriella!
DAVIS: Frankly, I stole many of [Kathryn Hahn’s] moments and bits. Herperformance was a great help to me. I do think Gloria is truly areflection of me now, but I’m not sure I could have been ready in theallotted two weeks of rehearsal without the model laid out before me byKathryn.
PYLE: Mary was nominated for a Tony and that was very daunting. Matthewactually discouraged me from seeing her performance because, well, Iassume he didn’t want me to be intimidated. She was incredible. He toldme that in farce, the audience laughs because they are scared. And thatthey also come to the theater thinking they’re going to get trash —it’s what they think they want. But it’s our job to give them somethingreal. I try to make my objective telling the story — but to tell ithonestly, and let the audience decide if they think it’s funny. All Iknow is that it’s the most fun I have ever had in my life.