Over the weekend we caught the new production of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Picnic. The show boasts an impressive cast including Ellen Burstyn, Reed Birney, Elizabeth Marvel, Maggie Grace, Mare Winningham, Madeleine Martin, and Ben Rappaport, but Sebastian Stan is the one who stands out in the role of bad boy Hal Carter.
Stan is no stranger to us, or our readers, since he appeared as Carter Baizen in Gossip Girl, which is why were surprised there so many empty seats. Walking into the theater we thought for sure we’d see a few other Gossip Girl fans (or even a few Captain America fans) there, especially for this performance!
For most of the play Stan is shirtless, his chest glistens with sweat, and his worn jeans sit perfectly on his hips. It’s certainly not a bad way to spend a cold night in New York City!
Stan’s bare chest is causing quite a stir among reviewers but he insists it’s all just part of the role. “It’s funny, because everyone’s had very different reactions to my physique,” he said. “Somebody who came to see the show said to me, ‘Don’t you think you’re in too good of shape for this? No one looked like that in the 1950s.’ But I watched a lot of movies from that time period. Because Paul Newman had been in the original Broadway production of Picnic, I watched a lot of Paul Newman movies like Cool Hand Luke and The Long, Hot Summer, where he played a homeless drifter, and he was in incredible shape — ripped, tan, and glistening. So I didn’t find myself to be out of line when I was physically preparing for the role.”
Picnic runs through February 24 at the American Airllines Theatre. Tickets range from $42–$137.
And, don’t forget, Broadway shows are a great place to meet celebs as they will often sign Playbills for fans after the show! To find out more about meeting celebs on Broadway, pick up a copy of our NYC Field Guide!