Thomas Sadoski grew up in New York where his acting journey began at an early age,“I think it was always there” he says, “that need to creatively express the world as I saw it.” Sadoski acted in local community theatre and by the end of high school he had fallen in love and realized, “these are fellow travelers, there really is a tribe out there for me” he says chuckling at the memory, “they call themselves theatre rats and they exist in the theatre and that’s where I most fit in the world.”
“I flirted with college for a little while but it wasn’t something that worked out for me. I just wanted to get focused on theatre,” Sadoski continues, which lead him to Circle In The Square in New York City. He is an award winning actor having appeared in dozens of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, winning an Obie Award for “Other Desert Cities”. Film and television roles followed with his role as Don Keefer on “Newsroom” perhaps being his most well known.
To say Sadoski is thrilled to be doing Amy Herzog’s play at Pasadena Playhouse would be an understatement. Artistic Director, Danny Feldman, is a friend from New York who called Sadoski to discuss doing something together which eventually led them to Herzog’s thriller of a play. For anyone paying attention, Feldman, who has deep New York theatre roots, has come in guns blazing to shake things up and Belleville is certainly doing that.
Sadoski says “I love the Playhouse; love its history, love the space, I love Pasadena!” He continues, “that building has so much history. Really extraordinary work there and extraordinary artists and the theatre itself is a beautiful playing space so I’ve always wanted an opportunity to work here. So to work with Danny to continue to bring something like this, which is this classic kind of play without being “dusty” but rather done in a new and vibrant way is very exciting; to be a part of his vision of breathing new life into this institution that has been such an important part of the American artistic voice.”
“Belleville” is currently having its West Coast premiere at the Playhouse and runs through May 13. Sadoski stars in the intimate, four person, Hitchcockian play with Anna Camp. The set makes gorgeous use of the historic space, seamlessly blending the architecture into an old, Parisian, rooftop apartment in the bustling, exotic neighborhood of Belleville. Sadoski plays a young American doctor, Zach, beginning work with Doctors Without Borders while his American, and seemingly fragile wife, Abby, tries to adjust to life in a strange, new place.
The play is truly an intense dance between the husband and wife as, piece by piece, more of their history as a couple is revealed and we begin to realize all is not what it seems. It is an actor’s showcase and an absolute thrill to watch.
Of Zach, Sadoski says, “he is a man who is in conflict with his public life and his private life; between the face that he puts forward for the world to see and the person that he knows himself to be.” And goes on to say, “he desperately tries to keep his family afloat for reasons that even escape him. And the war between the public and private Zach and Abby sets up the conflict and Hitchcock nature in Amy’s script. You know, how well can you really know anybody?”
The same could be said of them not only as individuals but as a couple, as Sadoski adds “the amazing thing we do in marriage is we take our individual selves, take pieces or large portions of our individual selves, meld them with large portions of somebody else to create a third sort of entity amongst us. Between those three entities existing in the world and under one roof, there is potential for quite a lot of intrigue, conflict, secrets, lies, passion, love; all of the amazing things in life all happen but it can warp reality, at least as it presents itself to the outside world. Sometimes you can get so lost in that dynamic between the three creatures that live inside your house. Things can become skewed and you lose track of or your grip of the outside world and I think that’s a lot of what Amy’s play touches on.”
Setting these themes up in Belleville exquisitely reflects this neighborhood where, as Sadoski offers, “everyone, even in Paris, is a foreigner, where Edith Piaf grew up, it’s Chinatown, it’s the arts district, street art district; it’s vibrant and foreign and alive because of the people who live there so I can’t think of a better environment for a play like this to take place.”
There is still time to take a trip to Belleville and to the captivating psychological thriller happening on stage at Pasadena Playhouse. Runs through May 13.
The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena PasadenaPlayhouse.org
Wednesday – Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday at 2:00 p.m.