Alex Moffat is best known to audiences for being “live from New York” on Saturday Night Live for six seasons. Now he’s trading the small screen for the stage, starring live in New York as Clarke in The Cottagein his Broadway debut.
Set in the English countryside in 1923, the tale of sex, betrayal, and love unfolds when Sylvia decides to expose her affair to both her husband and to her lover’s wife. The true meaning of fate, identity and marriage are called into question as a surprising and hilarious web of secrets unravels in this ridiculous — and potentially murderous — romantic comedy.
Moffat took some time to answer 5 Questions with Broadway Direct, telling us how The Black Stallion played a part in his becoming an actor, the inspiring cast he’s surrounded by, and the Italian restaurant in Brooklyn he was not paid to promote.
1. What inspired you to become an actor?
I would say, being the baby of four, being the little guy in a big family, and kind of, you know, being a little ham. And also, it’s three older sisters, so I was sort of like Le Petit Prince and was just sort of a precocious little boy trying to, like, tickle my sisters and ham it up and make them laugh.
And then, also, I would watch this movie every day when I was little, only for maybe a period of like a year when I was 4, called The Black Stallion. It’s about a little boy who’s on a cruise with his family and then the ship, there’s a fire, and it sinks. And then he’s basically stuck on a deserted island with just him and a black stallion. And the little boy in this, the character’s name was Alec with a c, which was close enough to Alex. And I was like, “Oh my god, that could be me, just on a beach riding this horse with my arms out.” And then only later did I find out that that boy was an actor and all that jazz.
But, I think between being the little boy with three older sisters and Alec in The Black Stallion, I had to go into acting.
2. Who in your field inspires you?
I’m going to just go right to my current environment and go with the five people I’ve been working with for the last couple of months because they really have been inspiring me and teaching me a ton. Lilli Cooper, Nehal Joshi, Dana Steingold, Laura Bell Bundy, and Eric McCormack all are really amazing performers and really committed to the craft and what it takes to be a good Broadway performer, so I’ve been watching them and learning from them.
You’re not new to the entertainment business, but it is your Broadway debut.
That’s right. I’m a noob in this area! So I’m watching them and just copying what they do.
3. What will audiences be most excited about seeing in The Cottage?
I do think it’ll be a solid, pretty much nonstop locomotive that just chugs out laughs as it goes. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s fast-paced, and there are a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Even buried in all the laughs, there’s a really good, solid, well-written play by Sandy Rustin, one that has a really positive feminist message that people weren’t really thinking about much in 1923. So it’s a pretty neat play.
4. If you didn’t need to sleep at night, what would you spend your time doing?
Doing crossword puzzles. Or Wordle. I’ve been on a Wordle kick.
5. What is your favorite NYC spot?
I have a new one because I just moved to Brooklyn, and it’s this little Italian place called Piccoli.
They make all their pasta fresh — I feel like I’m doing a commercial for them — and the owner always gives my daughter ice cream and taught her to say “Forget about it!” and it’s really, really good. It’s in South Slope in Brooklyn, and they make all their pasta fresh every day from organic New York–grown grains.
You had to give that commercial because your daughter got the free ice cream out of it.
Exactly. I owe him one. There you go, Gabriele. Enjoy the bump.
You can catch Alex Moffat in The Cottage, now playing at the Hayes Theater through October 29, 2023.
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