November 15, 2012

Play pays tribute to Southie folks

MONTREAL — A few good Boston folks are getting together by way of Montreal.

The Centaur Theatre’s “Good People” by Pulitzer-prizewinner David Lindsey-Abaire, that is. The play ventures to Southie, the hard-working Boston Irish neighborhood where resident Margie (pronounced “Mar-ghee”) struggles to care for her adult disabled daughter. When she loses her job at the dollar store, Margie visits an old flame, now a successful doctor, who has moved up the ladder to the more affluent Chestnut Hill part of town.

Actress Johanna Nutter is thrilled about landing the plum lead role.

“I see the play as David Lindsey-Abaire’s love letter to his home,” Nutter said. “It’s a tribute and a send-up to all the wonderful people of South Boston.”

To prepare for the work, Nutter and Centaur artistic director Roy Surette ventured on a Southie road trip this past summer.

“I’m glad I went there to understand the magnitude of what it means to be from Southie,” she said. “It really is a special place.”

Before the trip, Nutter said she didn’t even know about the play. In fact, Nutter didn’t even audition for the play. Nutter said Surette saw the play during its New York run where it won actress Francis McDormand a Tony Award for the role of Margie. Surette, who had worked with Nutter in the past, immediately felt she would be perfect for the part. Nutter soon received a copy of the script.

“I went home, read it and was blown away,” she said. “I immediately felt that Margie and I were sort of one.”

Nutter cited similar life experiences to her on-stage character.

“I grew up in a similar situation,” she said. “It’s the instrument that you are in this world. It’s just a really good fit.”

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