Jack Morrison in St. Elsewhere

David Morse - How I Learned to Drive

4/24/97 Newsday B05
1997 WL 2692690
Copyright Newsday Inc., 1997

Thursday, April 24, 1997


PLAY BY PLAY / The Star Stalled as He 'Learned to Drive'

Patrick Pacheco.

Patrick Pacheco is a regular contributor to Part 2.

PAULA VOGEL'S hit drama How I Learned to Drive moves from the nonprofit Vineyard Theatre across the street to the Century Theatre (111 E. 15th St., Manhattan) for an open-ended commercial run beginning May 6. Chances are when it does, David Morse, who stars opposite Mary-Louise Parker as a tortured uncle in love with his niece, will not repeat the actor's nightmare he experienced at the first opening-night performance.

"During a scene, a teeny moment was just slightly different, but it caused me to step out of the role," the onetime star of TV's St. Elsewhere recently recalled. "When I tried to come back, I couldn't remember the line. So I thought, 'Well, I'll just pause for a moment.' But then the moment turned to minutes." (The show doesn't have a prompter.)

"And Mary-Louise and the audience sat there, staring at me. And I still couldn't get back into it. So finally I turned to the audience and said, 'I'm sorry, this has gone out of my head.' And the audience sat, and I sat, and Mary-Louise sat and still nothing came. So I then said, 'Well, is there anybody who can help me with this?' And I looked up at the guys in the [sound and lighting] booth and their faces just dropped. And then from God, the line came. And I went on with the performance. In live theater, you walk a tightrope. It's exciting - and scary."



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