Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



'Dinner' break with Jeffrey Donovan
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 13874 times since Wed Dec 17, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Jeffrey Donovan may be best known for being on TV's Burn Notice and in the Clint Eastwood-directed film Changeling with Angelina Jolie, but the handsome 40-year-old is an accomplished theater veteran as well, having appeared in Boston's Shakespeare in the Park, among many other shows. Windy City Times recently talked with him about being in the acclaimed theatrical production Don't Dress for Dinner, which will run at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, through Sunday, Jan. 11.

Windy City Times: You're quietly becoming a triple threat. [ Donovan laughs. ] I loved you in Changeling, by the way; I really wanted to hurt [ your character ] .

Jeffrey Donovan: Yeah. I get that a lot—not just on-screen. [ Laughs ]

WCT: Then there's Burn Notice, which I like primarily because the chemistry you have with Sharon Gless, Gabrielle Anwar and Bruce Campbell is very palpable. [ Donovan smiles. ] I'm sure everyone's been asking you what it's like to work with Angelina Jolie or Clint Eastwood, but what's it like working with Bruce?

JD: What a hoot he is. I didn't know who he was before the show, and then I looked him up and watched a few of his movies—and I love that this guy is doing this campy stuff. I thought he was going to be a guy who was fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, but he is such a student of comedy, acting and film, and he takes it all quite seriously—and that kind of campy horror [ as in Evil Dead and Army of Darkness ] is as hard to pull off as farce, which is what we're doing in the play. And, to some degree, there's even some correlation with what we do in Burn Notice: How do you make something funny but never take away the seriousness of the moment? He and I talk about that a lot.

He's a great collaborator and such a great guy. He also has a smile for me every morning and calls me "Number One"—which is what I am on the call sheet. But on Star Trek, they call the first mate "number one," who is actually the person under [ the captain ] . So I wonder if he's actually making fun of me. [ Laughs ] "Make it so, number one."

WCT: You know that Sharon Gless [ was ] in town, filming [ Hannah Free ] .

JD: Yes—and she's great, too. She's a pro, and I turn to her a lot for advice because, you know, she did Cagney and Lacey for like eight or nine years. She had some advice for me, and she's just been very maternal. I'm very happy and proud to be on TV with her.

WCT: I've read that Don't Dress for Dinner is a "sex farce." Is that an accurate description?

JD: It's a "naughty farce." It's about sexual liaisons, affairs. It's about a married British couple in Paris; the wife is having an affair with an American—that's me—and the English husband is having an affair with an American model, who's visiting. We all show up at the same time at the house, and hijinks ensue. It's one of the funniest things I've ever been a part of—I crack up on stage sometimes, although I hide it. The other cast members, the pros that they are, never crack up. That cast is so talented.

WCT: Yes, Patricia Kalember is part of the cast; I remember her from [ TV's ] Sisters. By the way, that's how you can tell a man is gay, no matter how he looks: If he says that he remembers someone from Sisters... [ Sustained laughter from Donovan ]

JD: That's so funny! The other day, the director said some musical-theater term and one of the other actors laughed. I [ asked ] , "What's so funny?" They both looked at me and said, "Not gay." [ Laughs ]

WCT: You are a theater veteran. What brought you back to theater?

JD: I miss it. I've done more theater than TV and film combined—two Broadway shows, six off-Broadway shows and at NYU, I did 11 productions. I've created a theater company in L.A., and just did a play by Mike O'Malley, who was on [ TV's ] Yes, Dear; the play is called Searching for Certainty.

Theater is incredibly important to me—probably more than the other two—not just because it's the basis of how I started but because it feeds me. It feeds my soul, and that's not a disparaging comment on TV or film. It's a mechanical venue that you work in; therefore, it's not live. The transaction is inorganic, whereas the transaction on stage with the audience is organic—and you get literal feedback from that. Every three years or so I need to go back to theater, and my agents have been really understanding about that.

Plus, I've always wanted to do theater in Chicago. Chicago is a big theater town—and, in some ways, I think this city is savvier and smarter than New York. Sometimes, I think it's a little too chic to go to theater in New York these days. I saw Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Edward II, and I plan to see [ Gatz ] and The Seafarer, with John Mahoney.

WCT: You've been talking about feedback. Do you get something from every bit of feedback, whether positive or negative? Some people appreciate positive feedback, but get defensive with the negative.

JD: It's important to measure the positive and the negative. I've said that to friends who get hurt by bad reviews: If you believe the good, then you have to believe the bad. Don't discount them, but measure them.

A review is a piece of entertainment. John Simon, the despicable critic for The New York Magazine, [ once ] said, "I don't write reviews. I write entertainment." That's how he defended his despicable reviews, but there are lines.

If someone says to me, "You're horrible in Changeling. I despise you," then they're lumping my performance in with my character. But if someone says, "Burn Notice is one of the worst shows on television," I could sit there and defend it or just say, "Alright." I have to measure that—I can't please everyone.

WCT: Or you could say, "I didn't want Bruce on the show..."

JD: [ Laughs ] Or "I'm trying to get Gabrielle fired..."

I think the hardest part of acting is the stage, and the hardest part of stage acting is farce. It is so meticulous and exact. That's why farce is very seldom done—because of its difficulty.

WCT: And on TV and film, there's always a second take. On stage...

JD: ...there's no hiding. And if you're supposed to be funny and you get no laughs—there's instant feedback for you.

See .

This article shared 13874 times since Wed Dec 17, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TELEVISION 'Drag Race,' 'Queer Eye,' 'Pose' among Creative Emmy winners 2021-09-13
- Three 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies took place Sept. 11-12—and Netflix's The Queen's Gambit led the way with nine wins going into next weekend's Primetime Emmys, Deadline reported. LGBTQ+ individuals and shows also scored se ...

Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs 2021-09-13
- The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards. Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...

Gay News

TV Rory O'Malley lands his second gay cartoon role with 'Chicago Party Aunt' 2021-09-11
- Inspired by a popular Twitter account, Netflix's latest adult cartoon, Chicago Party Aunt, takes the Windy City to a whole new level. Superstore star and Second City alumna Lauren Ash plays the titular character, Diane Dunbrowski. ...

Gay News

Constand breaks silence about Bill Cosby 2021-09-07
- Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand is breaking her silence to NBC News about the comic/actor's release from prison two months ago, Deadline noted. In a brief clip, Constand tells Kate Snow she "was really shocked — ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Idol' alums, Zendaya, Gaga, 'Queer As Folk,' women rappers 2021-09-05
- American Idol alum David Archuleta said that God urged him to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, NBC News noted. The Nashville resident told he wasn't sure if the community would embrace ...

Gay News

Hacks, I May Destroy You, Pose rule LGBTQ Critics' Dorian TV Awards 2021-08-30
--From a press release - AUGUST 29, 2021—HOLLYWOOD, CA—Venerable actress Jean Smart; Saturday Night Live wit Bowen Yang; rising satirist Ziwe; Pose co-creator Steven Canals; teen heartthrob Michael Cimino, of Hulu's Love, Victor; and revered ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, 'Death Drop,' Brandi Carlile, vintage films, Gaga 2021-08-29
- Billy Porter will direct a queer teen comedy feature titled To Be Real for Amazon Studios, which is being helmed by Gabrielle Union's I'll Have Another Productions, noted. Porter, who is currently working on his ...

Gay News

EVENTS Celebrity attendees named for Wizard World Chicago 2021-08-28
- William Shatner (Star Trek; TV's Boston Legal), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, TV's The Walking Dead), Matthew Lewis (All Creatures Great and Small), James Marsters (TV series Buffy the ...

Gay News

TV Netflix animated series 'Chicago Party Aunt' debuts Sept. 17 2021-08-27
- The LGBTQ-inclusive series Chicago Party Aunt will debut on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 17. Inspired by the popular Twitter account Chicago Party Aunt, this eight-episode adult animated comedy follows Diane Dunbrowski and nephew Daniel as they ...

Gay News

TV 'Dancing with the Stars' to feature first same-sex partnership 2021-08-27
- ABC's Dancing With the Stars will be breaking new ground in the upcoming 30th season—with its first same-sex partnership. According to Deadline, on Aug. 26, host Tyra Banks and executive producer Andrew Llinares revealed that the ...

Gay News

SPORTS Red Stars teaming with Univision for Sept. 25 game 2021-08-23
- The Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and Univision Chicago—part of Univision Communications Inc., the leading Spanish-language media and content company in the country—announced a first-time ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ RuPaul, GALECA toast, Elliot Page, 'Chippendales,' bi model 2021-08-22
- RuPaul revealed a new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a press release noted. The all-new Rainbow Runway experience invites guests to "meet" and take cues from the most commercially successful drag queen of all ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ben Platt, Billie Jean King, Megan Thee Stallion, 'Horror Stories' series 2021-08-15
- Queer Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning artist Ben Platt has dropped his new album, Reverie, via Atlantic Records, per a press release. Platt will mark the arrival of Reverie with his biggest North American headline tour to ...

Gay News

Chenoweth and Menzel to co-host 'Wicked in Concert' PBS special 2021-08-06
- PBS's Wicked in Concert special on Aug. 29 will be co-hosted by the musical's original Broadway stars, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, Deadline reported. The event is slated to feature performances by Mario Cantone, Gavin Creel, ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.