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Alan Rachins

By Gary Wien


Alan Rachins recently finished the fifth and final year of the hit television show, "Dharma & Greg" where he played the hippie father, Larry Finklestein. Before that he had a long-running role as attorney Douglas Brackman on "L.A. Law." In addition to his television work, Alan has been in several films and theatrical productions across the country. He is currently starring in the world premiere play, "Attacks on a Heart" playing by George Street Playhouse. Alan spoke to me via phone before one of his rehearsals.

What attracted you to the play Attacks on a Heart?
Many things. First of all, I was looking to do a play. Secondly, it requires a lot. It's beautifully written, it's by Arthur Laurents and it's a world premiere. It is an opportunity to reinvent and work at your craft, to grow and take a big challenge. It's scary... It's a two-character play.

So, there was a challenge and there was an opportunity to do something very different from what I've been doing for the last few years on "Dharma & Greg." I mean this came along and you look at it and say, "this is a mountain... this is worth climbing; this is something that's a challenge and exciting, so that's where you go.

What is the biggest challenge in moving from a television series back to live theatre?
Well, this is big in the sense that this is the other extreme because we are on the stage at all times. We've got a lot to do. We've got a lot of work ahead of us and so it's a huge challenge in that regard. If this was like a six-character play, I don't know that it would feel as such an extreme change from one to another. But, here we are - the two of us - it's kind of like a trapeze act without a net. The world outside has not really existed since we started rehearsals. It's been a hundred percent, a thousand percent focused on this... And it's been great!

What is it like to have a role in a world premiere play?
It gives you a great responsibility to create this character. That's something you appreciate and look forward to.

You've acted everywhere from New York stages to regional performances. What do you think is the biggest difference between a New York staged play and one that is produced regionally?
I don't look at it that way at all. The big difference, as far as I'm concerned, is that the media gives one much more attention than the other. But I don't happen to think that just because a production is away from "The Great White Way" that it's necessarily any less than ones that are. Some may be and some may be better. So, it's really the media attention because as far as an actor goes, our work is our work regardless of where it is.

And more and more plays have premieres outside of New York...
Well, that's the whole economics... There's so few plays and they basically go into New York with things that are more proven these days. So, if it has a world premiere and it does well than they can consider bringing it to New York because it will already have a reputation and they know how it connects to the audience.

Is that something you consider when you choose a run? Do you think about how far or where the play may go?
This is just this. Who knows if it will have a life or what kind of life it will have after that. It's not really a consideration. It's just something to do in and of itself and whatever happens, happens.

In addition to your work on "Dharma & Greg" you also had a long-running role on "L.A. Law" which was a very different character from Larry. Has taking such varied roles helped you from being typecast in a certain type of role?
I hope so because I love the idea of playing different characters and I wouldn't want to be stuck doing the same thing all of the time. That's one of the great things about "Dharma & Greg", it really allowed me to do something different.

But who knows? You just do the next thing that comes along and do the best with it you can and see what happens. It's a crapshoot and you can't really exert control.

You originally went to the Wharton School of Finance, what led you to an acting career?
I had a very domineering father. I didn't get to express myself around him and I guess I saw this as a means of being able to express myself. And when I saw Rebel Without A Cause, which was a movie I saw with my father when I was eleven - James Dean, at one point in that movie, yelled at his father. And it all came together for me. Somehow, this was a way to just completely express everything that's inside of you that's been bottled up.

In addition to acting, you have also been involved with the writing and directing aspects of the business as well. How has that helped you?
I have. I went to the American Film Institute for two years during some time off at one point. And that definitely helped me a great deal because it kind of demystified all of the equipment.

I'm interested in both sides. It helped me to see myself more as part of the process. It was a good thing to take that time off and do that.

Do you have any plans set up for after this run or will you be reading new scripts?
Every time I've done a play in the past, it always gives you something enormouse inside you. It's hard to be able to predict what's going to happen next because you come away from a play with something more inside of you that allows for other things to happen. And you don't know what they are. It just allows for a different kind of energy to come in and move you to the next place.



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Center Players Presents "The Emperor's New Duds"
(FREEHOLD, NJ) --  Center Players Dessert Theater will present a family-friendly production of “The Emperor’s New Duds” at Center Playhouse, 35 South St, in downtown Freehold, NJ from December 7 – 16. A musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s the “Emperor’s New Clothes,” the play was written by Bernice Garfield-Szita, who co-directed the production with Enid Bush.
Centenary Stage’s Young Performers Workshop presents 2018 Winter Festival of Shows
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Godspell is composed of various musical parables from The Gospel. Jesus Christ recruits a group of followers and teaches them various lessons through song and dance. Toward the end of the second act, the show begins to follow a more linear narrative as Jesus is betrayed by Judas and eventually crucified. Performances are Sunday, December 9 at 5:00pm; Saturday, December 15 at 8pm and Sunday, December 16 at 7:30pm.
The Shakespeare Theatre Presents "The Winter's Tale"
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run from December 5 to December 30. 
American Theater Group Announces Full Cast & Creative For "Tell Them I'm Still Young"
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- American Theater Group has announced the full cast and creative team for its World Premiere production of Tell Them I’m Still Young, a new play by Julia Doolittle, which will run at the South Orange Performing Arts Center from January 24 - February 3, 2019. Joining the previously announced Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Streets, Men of a Certain Age, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) andMichele Pawk (Hollywood Arms, Hairspray, Mamma Mia) are Janice Amaya (Seen/Unseen) and Seth Clayton (The Madrid).
Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.


Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
Broadway is in the house at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts with a Fearless live concert performance by Broadway star, Mandy Gonzalez!
"The Spitfire Grill" and Caitlin Geisser Return To Their Roots
“I saw something in her that you rarely come across,” recalled Ted Wioncek III, Artistic Director at Eagle Theatre in Hammonton. “She’s more than wise beyond her years; I believe she’s going to be a game-changer and a trendsetter for this art form.”
Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!










Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


MUSIC

THE GAY BLADES @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

HERMAN'S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE & THE BUCKINGHAMS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Nelson Riveros Trio: “The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Hawaiian Music and Hula @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm

Pop 2000 Tour @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

THE FAB FAUX A HARD DAY'S NIGHT AND REVOLVER IN THEIR ENTIRETIES @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Swamp Boogie Trio @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 8:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Enchanted April @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 8:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

Into the Woods @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm


DANCE

BALLET FOLKLORICO DE MEXICO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


KIDS

ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm and 7:00pm


LECTURE

Mainebiz Health Care Forum @ Mainebiz Health Care Forum, Newyork - 8:00pm

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