Their characters are adversaries on stage.
But off stage, the actors who portray David Frost and Richard Nixon in the Richland Players’ latest production sing each other’s praises.
“He’s not only brilliant and a master of the craft, he’s also generous. He helps everybody rise to the next level,” said Michael Thomas, who plays Frost, of Terence Knox, who plays Nixon.
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And here’s Knox on his scene partner: “There’s no finer actor in the Tri-Cities than Michael Thomas. That guy, he comes in and he is David Frost. He’s the motor that drives this,” Knox said.
Frost/Nixon opens May 13 at the Players theater, 908 The Parkway.
Penned by British playwright Peter Morgan, it centers on the famous TV interviews Frost conducted with Nixon in 1977.
Nixon was looking to improve his image after the Watergate scandal and his resignation from the presidency. And Frost, a journalist and TV host, was looking to bolster his career.
The interviews came to be defining for both men.
Like Frost and Nixon themselves, the actors who portray them have some commonalities and also differences.
Thomas, a Richland native, used to make movies with his brother as a kid. A theatrical, playful person who’s always had a knack for characters and voices, he fell away from acting some as a teen and adult, but returned with gusto a few years back in a Richland Players production of Neil Simon’s Proposals.
This show will dazzle you. You won’t see a show like this just anywhere.
Terence Knox, who plays former President Nixon
He’s built a lengthy résumè of shows since then, from the Players’ 100 Lunches earlier this year to The Rude Mechanicals’ Much Ado About Nothing last summer.
Knox also grew up in Richland. Acting, for him, has not only been a passion, but also a profession.
He spent years in Hollywood, landing parts in everything from The Dukes of Hazzard to Murder, She Wrote.
He’s perhaps best known for playing Dr. Peter White on the NBC hit St. Elsewhere.
He also starred as Zeke Anderson on the Vietnam War drama Tour of Duty, which ran for three seasons on CBS.
Thomas and Knox praised the entire cast and crew of Frost/Nixon. Actors joining them on stage include Cameron Milton, Dustin White, Brianna Sacry, Robert Chisholm, Gary Cook, Connie Eckard, Joe Kimmel, Tamara Pomponio, Michael Aardal, James Callaghan, Alex Eberle and Kevin Olsen.
Julie Wiley is directing, with Cydney Thompson as assistant director.
With touches of technology, including video footage shown on stage, “this show will dazzle you,” Knox said. “You won’t see a show like this just anywhere.”
Thomas said he appreciates the passion that cast and crew members alike have brought to their roles.
The show captures a place and time in the country’s history, said actor Michael Thomas, who plays journalist David Frost
The show captures a place and time in the country’s history, he said.
One that’s fascinating to see unfold, in two men going head-to-head, on camera. On stage.
“You get a glimpse of the heart of America and how people were feeling,” he said. “There was this unfinished business with Nixon. And then Frost came out of the blue and came sideways at him. He was able to get underneath that tough exterior.”
Performances are at 8 p.m. May 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28, and at 2 p.m. May 22 and 29.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and military members. They’re available at the box office and www.richlandplayers.org.
IF YOU GO
What: The Richland Players’ production of Frost/Nixon.
When: Performances are at 8 p.m. May 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28, and at 2 p.m. May 22 and 29.
Where: The Players theater, 608 The Parkway.
Cost: Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and military members. They’re available at the box office and www.richlandplayers.org.