The issue of Entertainment Weekly currently on stands features 2012 Best and Worst of the year — everything from our favorite movies and TV shows to best albums and books. Also featured within those pages are our Great Performances of the year, lauding stunning outings from the likes of Jessica Lange in American Horror Story: Asylum to Sally Field in Lincoln. But there’s one Great Performance from 2012 that we weren’t able to fit in the pages of the magazine — that of Ari Graynor in this year’s beguilingly funny Broadway play, The Performers, which sadly only lasted about a month on the Great White Way.
Regardless of the show’s short life, Graynor — an EW favorite from way back in 2008’s Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist — brought the laughs to the short, funny send-up of the porn industry. Her mile-a-minute porn star character Peeps — who, we’ll add, was pregnant — kept the laughs flowing amid a cast of other stars that included Henry Winkler, Cheyenne Jackson, and Alicia Silverstone. To honor her great performance in The Performers, EW recently caught up with Graynor to discuss how she nabbed the role, how she made it her own, and how — just how! — the show could have been pulled from Broadway so soon. Read on for a taste of Graynor’s charm.
So how did it come about that you got cast in The Performers on Broadway?
My involvement started a year ago. I did a reading of it while I was doing Relatively Speaking on Broadway last season, which was the Woody Allen play. I just immediately fell in love with [my character] Peeps. She is — of all of the fantastic, lovable people and characters I have played — my favorite. She was so special on the page and, through the work of the play, became even more. She just became an avenue for my soul. She was so fun and she was so vulnerable and openhearted and present and without a filter, and I just thought the comedy in the play was so hilarious, and especially with Peeps and [Cheyenne Jackson's character] Mandrew. It’s the best kind of comedy, where it comes from the highest emotional states possible. You’re saying really ridiculous things, but their emotional truths are deep and dark and as intense as any drama. That’s what allows it to be so fun and funny. The timing of it ended up working out really great.