Sunday, May 20, 1990

NYT on Richard Easton

Award-Winning Actor Collapses on Stage
By ANDY NEWMAN; Rebecca Cathcart and Martha Weinman Lear contributed reporting.
19 October 2006
The New York Times

The actor Richard Easton, a Tony-award winning veteran of stage and screen, collapsed onstage last night during a performance of the Tom Stoppard play ''The Coast of Utopia'' at Lincoln Center. Mr. Easton, 73, was conscious and in stable condition at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and undergoing tests, a publicist for the theater said last night.

He was stricken near the end of the first act of the play, a sprawling epic of Russian history set in the 19th century that opened for previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Tuesday with Mr. Easton in one of the lead roles, that of a nobleman, Alexander Bakunin.

As the action unfolded, Mr. Easton's character was trying to persuade his son, played by Ethan Hawke, to take a job rather than continue his studies.

''You can't go to Berlin!'' he said, then made his exit. As he left the stage he staggered, then fell on his face, said Rosa Schneider, who was in the audience. Mr. Hawke and the other actor, Amy Irving, continued for a few seconds.

But then Mr. Hawke and several others gathered around Mr. Easton at the rear of the stage.

A minute later, Mr. Hawke addressed the audience: ''Is there a doctor in the house?'' he asked.

Some audience members were still confused.

''We didn't know that it wasn't part of the show until it was repeated by one of the house personnel over the loudspeaker,'' said Ms. Schneider, 19.

About 20 people from the audience surged onto the stage to offer help, Ms. Schneider said. While they attempted to resuscitate Mr. Easton, the audience was sent out into the lobby. Eventually they were told that the performance was canceled. Mr. Easton's understudy, David Manis, will play his role tonight, said Philip Rinaldi, a spokesman for Lincoln Center Theater.

Another actor in the production, Felicity Fortune, said she had been told that Mr. Easton had had ''a cardiac event'' and that he had had others.

A widely traveled actor from Montreal, Mr. Easton won a Tony in 2001 for best actor in Mr. Stoppard's play ''The Invention of Love.'' He is known as a ceaseless worker.

''If anybody's going to rebound from this it's going to be him,'' Mr. Manis said. ''He's not going to take kindly to being told to lie still.''

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