As Michael Baldwin, Young and the Restless actor Christian Le Blanc plays dad to Fenmore. Now, he’s taking on a new paternal role — Big Daddy — in a production of the Tennessee Williams play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Soap Hub talked to the Daytime Emmy winner about his new gig.
Christian Le Blanc Plays Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Christian Le Blanc is temporarily taking a recess from playing Michael on Y&R so that he can take on a new role on the New York stage. The first off-Broadway production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof debuts on July 15 and runs through August 13 at the Theater at St. Clements in New York City. Find out what the actor has to say about his new adventure.
Soap Hub: Kim Zimmer (Reva Shayne, Guiding Light) likened her storyline on GL with Larry Gates (H.B.), Jordan Clarke (Billy), and Robert Newman (Josh; now, Y&R’s Ashland) to Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. For readers not familiar with Williams’s work, how can you set up the play’s plot?
Christian Le Blanc: It’s the story of a wealthy planter who lives in the Delta, which is north of the Mississippi. He owns a huge plantation. He has two sons — one’s an ex-football player. The story is about Big Daddy, my character, who is dying of cancer, but he doesn’t know. There’s a lot of greed [within the family]. It’s like Succession. People are in line to get the money. The play revolves around how this is all resolved with the secrets and agendas during Big Daddy’s 65th birthday. His wife — Big Mama — played by Alison Fraser, a double Tony nominee, gets told before Big Daddy. How he learns what’s happening is the story. This dysfunctional family comes together.
Soap Hub: How did you come to be cast in this?
Christian Le Blanc: I was cast unusually as Big Daddy [as] he’s a large man. He’s one of the seminal roles in English theater. This play won a Pulitzer. It’s also a very famous movie with Elizabeth Taylor [ex-Helena Cassadine, General Hospital], Paul Newman [The Color of Money], and Burl Ives [Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer]. It’s southern Shakespeare.
When [the producers] called [about my auditioning], I asked if I was playing Brick, who is one of the sons. Big Daddy? I had to make that wide turn where I had to accommodate that I am getting older. Ageism does exist in this country. I had gone gray. I didn’t know I was this gray. Then, all of a sudden there’s this niche that opens up. I’d always played much younger, and now I’m playing closer to my age. There are amazing parts out there for men. I talked to the producers who hired me. If I’d not had gray hair, they might not have looked at me.
When Tennessee Williams wrote these plays back in the 1950s, he had to do so in a code [because times were different]. He wrote in a code, but because he did that the play is more universal — it’s relatable to anyone who feels dispossessed or is hiding. They’d rather die than see those secrets revealed. Burl Ives originated the role when he was 49. I’m much older than he was.
Soap Hub: Did having seen the movie influence your portrayal or interpretation of the part?
Christian Le Blanc: It could easily, but I haven’t seen it in a while. I’m so physically unlike anyone I’ve ever seen play the part. They told me I was ‘modern’ — I didn’t know what that meant, but I had a Broadway producer and a Broadway director rave about my acting. I’m not doing this to be comfortable. When you can get people to feel…you’re a vessel that communicates the human condition. If you’re going to do it, do it with the words of Tennessee Williams on a New York stage. This is bucket list stuff for me.
Soap Hub: Will any Y&R castmates be attending a performance?
Christian Le Blanc: Yes. There will be a bit of them. I haven’t counted, but the usual suspects. Michelle [Stafford, Phyllis Summers] and Kate [Linder, Esther Valentine] are coming. I think the fans have made a difference. They’ve sold out 25% of the seats already.
Soap Hub: What’s the one thing you want to do now that you’ll be back in New York?
Christian Le Blanc: Being extremely good in this play is all I want.
The cast also includes Sonoya Mizuno (La La Land) as Maggie and Matt de Rogatis as Brick. If you’re going to be in New York City and would like information on how to attend a performance of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, click here for tickets. The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Y&R spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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