Two actors find “A Second Chance” at the Public Theater

A Second Chance
Brian and Diane Sutherland aren’t faking the love story onstage at The Public Theater through April 13. / Joan Marcus

Husband and wife actors Diane and Brian Sutherland speak the way they sing onstage, with overlapping interjections and a genuine rapport. Indeed, the stars of “A Second Chance,” at the Public Theater through April 13, are living the story of love found later in life in more ways than one.

Diane wasn’t sure she’d get married — until she and Brian wed in their early 40s. Sutherland says that initially, walking down the aisle wasn’t a huge deal to her, but as she got into her late 30s, it got tough. “I really wanted to share my life with somebody and it wasn’t coming to me,” she says.

She went on blind dates and set-ups and says she definitely  would have had an online dating profile, had that been an option then. “I was trying to keep myself open to people beyond my sphere, and I did.” But she had no luck — until she shared the stage with Brian in the 1997 Broadway revival of “1776.” The rest, so to speak, is one for the Playbills.

Their current musical is based on details culled from the real life of the show’s composer and lyricist, Ted Shen. In it, a widower meets and falls for a divorcee.

Though their late-blooming romance in real life is about a decade off from that of their real-life characters, the Sutherlands say their own circumstances still give them a way to approach the piece honestly. “We have the advantage of knowing each other so well. We have this rich history and rich relationship that is for free — we don’t have to work at that,” says Brian, with Diane chiming in to add that some occasional time apart doesn’t hurt, either. They agree that some of the biggest truths they’ve taken from their experience onstage come from the story itself.

“Even though tragedy, sadness and grief comes into your life, it doesn’t mean your life is over,” Diane says of playing Jenna  each night. She says she hopes audiences come away with the same kind of hope she had after meeting Brian. “There might be something good, better, different, wonderful around the corner. I want people to realize that you’re never too late.”

For Brian, coming to the role of an older man  who has lost his wife has allowed some moments of reflection. “I thought I would have it all figured out by this age — nobody warned me about that,” he says. The Sutherlands also agree that their search for  answers onstage is a rare opportunity, especially in an industry obsessed with youth and image.

“A lot of our peers are experiencing this — single, married, whatever. We got here and we’re still figuring it out,” Diane says, hoping that the audience will applaud the idea of embracing uncertainty and take that with them after the curtain falls. The payoff, she says, is huge.

And she would know.



Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.


VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.


New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.


Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…


Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.


MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.


James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…


Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400


This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…


Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…


Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…


Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…