Actor Scott Foley takes on Broadway in 'The Thanksgiving Play'

Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Actor Scott Foley takes on Broadway in 'The Thanksgiving Play'
Scott Foley appears in the new Broadway show "The Thanksgiving Play" with Chris Sullivan, D'Arcy James and more. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK CITY -- Tens of millions of fans know Scott Foley as "Jake," the secret government agent who romanced Kerry Washington's character on "Scandal," but the guy who got so famous on TV is now on Broadway playing a TV actor in "The Thanksgiving Play."

It's a satire that pokes fun at political correctness in a shocking way so pointed that it had Entertainment Reporter Sandy Kenyon howling with laughter.

Kenyon said he admires any TV star like Foley who can risk having fun at his own expense as he does here, and make no mistake the play presented by 2nd Stage is a big risk because it amounts to a devastating takedown of so much of what has come to be called "woke." What makes it so entertaining is Foley's skill as a stage actor.

He plays a TV actor who's been hired to put on "The Thanksgiving Play" at a high school. The star explains that, "It's a comedy about four people trying to do the right thing, but doing it in the wrong way."

A teacher, played by Katie Finneran, thinks she is hiring a Native American performer, but when Alicia (D'Arcy Carden) shows up, it's soon apparent that this is not the case.

The anguished educator realizes to her horror, "We're four white people trying to do a culturally sensitive first Thanksgiving play for Native American Heritage Month."

After Kenyon got a chance to tell Foley he enjoyed his performance in this particular comedy, he explained that, "The difficulty in doing this play for the characters rests in the confusion a lot of us have, around what's appropriate now versus what was appropriate a year, 10, 20 years ago."

Writer Larissa Fasthorse is the first, female Native American to have a play produced on Broadway, and she has given us a vicious, even shocking, satire of political correctness that skewers the idea of being woke.

Throughout, Kenyon said he was laughing to keep from crying, but the members of the audience have gotten very offended.

"I've seen people stand up and walk out at certain points," Foley said. "Because it's so uncomfortable."

In fact, Scott's first reaction was not to do the play because he's asked to, "stand up there representing the straight, white male as - to a certain degree - a buffoon."

His character has lines like, "I just do my best and hope to Buddha that my karma makes up for the rest of it."

And for a man who built his career on playing strong, stand-up guys, this is a bold risk. So bold, Kenyon says he has no problem calling the actor brave for doing it.

Big risk as we all know can bring a big pay-off and Scott said, "At a certain point you find yourself playing the same characters and doing the same thing, and if you don't stretch, if you don't do something that makes you nervous or scares you, I don't know if there's any growth to that."

It's been two decades since Scott was last on Broadway because, "TV pays my bills," but here his fellow cast members (Chris Sullivan plays the group's most gung-ho character) all prove so effective.

The run at The Helen Hayes Theater ends June 11, buy a ticket to see "The Thanksgiving Play" before then.

It's 90 minutes without intermission, but this is one of the best bargains on Broadway right now because it has more laughs per minute than any other attraction.

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