Maddie Corman has been waiting for this break — this Broadway break — all her life.
<object id=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0″><param name=”movie” value=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/48345545001?isVid=1&publisherID=37861007001″ /><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF” /><param name=”flashVars” value=”omnitureAccountID=gpaper183,gntbcstglobal&pageContentCategory=ENTERTAINMENT&pageContentSubcategory=ENTERTAINMENT&marketName=Westchester, Rockland, Putnam:LoHud&revSciSeg=&revSciZip=07675&revSciAge=1963&revSciGender=male&division=newspaper&SSTSCode=lifestyle/index.htm&videoId=67540020001&playerID=48345545001&domain=embed&” /><param name=”base” value=”http://admin.brightcove.com” /><param name=”seamlesstabbing” value=”false” /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”swLiveConnect” value=”true” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><embed src=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/48345545001?isVid=1&publisherID=37861007001″ bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” flashVars=”omnitureAccountID=gpaper183,gntbcstglobal&pageContentCategory=ENTERTAINMENT&pageContentSubcategory=ENTERTAINMENT&marketName=Westchester, Rockland, Putnam:LoHud&revSciSeg=&revSciZip=07675&revSciAge=1963&revSciGender=male&division=newspaper&SSTSCode=lifestyle/index.htm&videoId=67540020001&playerID=48345545001&domain=embed&” base=”http://admin.brightcove.com” name=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ seamlesstabbing=”false” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowFullScreen=”true” swLiveConnect=”true” allowScriptAccess=”always” pluginspage=”http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash”></embed></object>”I discovered I wanted to be an actress pretty much on the Irvington Town Hall Theater stage that my mom was instrumental in resurrecting. To think that I’m going to Broadway now and my daughter is on that stage,” she says, her voice catching, “I kinda don’t have words to describe what that feels like.”
“I wish my mom could see that, but of course I believe that she does somehow know what’s going on,” she says.
What’s going on is Corman’s debut in Geoffrey Nauffts’ thought-provoking play “Next Fall” at Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theater. The play is in previews for a March 11 opening.
Among the show’s producers is Elton John, whose last Broadway outing was the Tony smash “Billy Elliott.”
“Next Fall” is about Adam and Luke, two men in a five-year relationship. It’s about how faith, love and family are defined in contemporary times.
Corman, who grew up Maddie Cornman in Irvington, dropped the “n” from her last name when she became a professional actress.
Her mother, Irene K. Cornman, helped to turn the dilapidated Town Hall Theater into a community gem, a jewel on the Hudson that now is home to a vibrant theater community.
In “Next Fall,” Corman plays Holly, a candle-shop owner and friend to both men.
Holly’s perspective — she’s a friend on the edge of a relationship who is unsure of her place — allows the audience in.
“I think a lot of people respond to that,” Corman says. “I lost my mom when I was 16 and I always felt that no one knew what to say to me. No one said the right thing. Everyone fumbled over their words. And no one had that magic, perfect thing to say.
“As life has gone on and I’ve been the one consoling, I really have empathy for all the people who tried to say the right thing to me because there is no right thing to say when someone’s in that kind of pain.”
Corman says she has loved being home in Dobbs Ferry with her three children — Isabelle Moon, 10, and 6-year-old twins, Mac and Finn — and that preparing a show for Broadway has made her appreciate where she lives.
“It sounds corny and cliché to say it takes a village, but I now have a village and I’m extremely grateful,” says the 40-year-old actress whose husband is the TV director Jace Alexander.
She has appeared on TV and in films — she marvels at being recognized for a tiny role as a lawyer in “What Happens in Vegas” — but those have not been Broadway, where a play requires six days of rehearsal a week and, once open, eight shows per week.
Coming to Broadway is huge, Corman says. Arriving in a show that has an important message is even bigger, she says.
“This language that Geoffrey wrote, I felt like I dictated it to him,” she says. “I certainly didn’t, by the way. I don’t take any credit, but it comes really easily.”
Having Nauffts, an actor turned playwright, in the rehearsal room alongside director Sheryl Kaller (who directed Hudson Stage’s “The Pursuit of Happiness” last season) has been affirming, she says.
“They both love actors,” Corman says. “Believe it or not, there are people in the theater who don’t.”
Corman thought she was just dipping a toe back into the New York theater scene when she was cast in “Next Fall” last May for a three-week Off-Broadway run.
“I wasn’t sure how — as the mother of three young kids with a husband who works really crazy, erratic long hours and living outside the city — I was going to be able to do this. But once I read the play, I knew I’d have to figure out how to do it.”
“Next Fall” won rave reviews at Off-Broadway’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater in June. Then came three extensions, which carried the show into August.
“It was an incredible ride,” she says. “I had no idea it was going to be what it has become.”
How does Broadway feel?
“It feels dreamy,” she says. “And it also feels right. I think when things happen later in life, it’s almost more exciting. And you know what it means. I’m not curing cancer, but I sure am excited to be realizing a childhood dream.”
Photo by Seth Harrison/The Journal News: Dobbs Ferry resident Maddie Corman, who grew up in Irvington, is making her Broadway debut as Holly in Geoffrey Nauffts’ “Next Fall.”
What: “Next Fall”
When: Now in previews; opens March 11. Through March 14, performances are at 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; and at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Beginning March 15, performances are at 7 p.m. Tuesdays; at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Where: Helen Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th St.
Call: 212-239-6200 or go to www.Telecharge.com.