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Kevin Spacey defends his role at Old Vic

Actor is ‘determined’ to remain as artistic chief of London theater
/ Source: The Associated Press

Kevin Spacey defended his leadership of London’s Old Vic on Thursday, but acknowledged the theater’s latest production had been a disappointment.

Spacey, who took over as artistic director in 2004, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that he was “more determined than ever” to serve out his 10-year contract.

He acknowledged that the production of Arthur Miller’s “Resurrection Blues,” directed by filmmaker Robert Altman, had been “in trouble” before its opening night last month.

“Risible” and “incompetent” were among the adjectives used by newspaper critics to describe the production, which will close Saturday, a week earlier than planned. One of its stars, Jane Adams, has already quit.

“Everyone was completely open and honest about the fact the show wasn’t where it should have gotten, but I can tell you that after the critics’ night, that cast pulled themselves together,” Spacey said. “They started to deliver that play in a way that I think audiences saw a much better production than those critics saw.”

“Resurrection Blues” is one of several recent Old Vic productions panned by critics, although several shows, including a production of Shakespeare’s “Richard II” starring Spacey, have garnered good reviews and strong sales.

“I don’t think that, 18 months in, anyone needs to apologize for having done a program that has brought 425,000 people into the theater,” Spacey said. “We must be doing something right even though 11 or 12 people who write for newspapers don’t particularly like what we’ve done.”

The theater will be dark through the summer, with Spacey scheduled to star in a production of Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” in September.

Spacey said the long summer break was “not ideal, but at the same time we’re trying to get a financially responsible situation.”

The 46-year-old actor has won Oscars for his roles in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.”