A Soldier’s Play’s Blair Underwood plays Captain Davenport eight times a week at the American Airlines Theatre and, just like his character’s calm demeanor, the performer was thrown off only once in the first preview when the audience cheered wildly during a shirtless scene. Underwood told the ladies of The View about it above—and how it probably wasn’t a surprise to director Kenny Leon, whose idea it was to undo a few more buttons during rehearsals.
The stage alum was joined on the talk show by co-stars David Alan Grier and Jerry O’Connell, who play Sergeant Waters and Captain Taylor, respectively.
Grier talked about how it’s a rare opportunity to see nearly a dozen men of color on stage. “I describe it as an interracial whodunnit,” said the Tony nominee from The Gerswhin’s Porgy & Bess. “It’s all of this stuff that’s within our race. To see all these men with different shades and hues arguing amongst themselves...it’s a rich roux of ideas and emotions.”
As for O’Connell’s take on a racist character (Captain Taylor actively tries to prevent Captain Davenport from investigating Sergeant Waters’ muder), the performer said it was the most important and difficult thing he ever worked on. “I have to give a shout-out to our director. Usually, I’m pushing a dopey TV show or something.”