Jon Cryer Recalls Falling Asleep Onstage During His Broadway Debut


Jon Cryer Recalls Falling Asleep Onstage During Broadway Debut You Have Not Experienced Terror’ Jon Cryer Recalls Falling Asleep Onstage During Broadway Debut You Have Not Experienced Terror’ 018

Jon Cryer.
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Jon Cryer’s Broadway debut did not go as planned after he accidentally fell asleep on stage.

“I fancy myself a very professional actor but apparently that’s not true,” Cryer. 58, said during a Wednesday, January 10 appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, “One of my very first jobs was in a Broadway show called Brighton Beach Memoirs … and my character had to fall asleep at one point.”

Cryer, who played Eugene Jerome in the 1983 Neil Simon production, explained how at one point in the play, his character was supposed to head upstairs and go to sleep in his room. However, Cryer seemingly took the direction a little too literally.

“You have not experienced terror until you’ve realized that you fell asleep during the Broadway show you’re starring in,” he quipped to Clarkson.

Cryer shared that while he was snoozing his costar Patrick Breen came to his rescue and woke him up.

“I remember just laying there and he was ‘sleeping’ across from me. But he is a better actor who fakes it, apparently,” he shared. “And I remember just the look on his face going, ‘Jon. Jon. Jon!’ And his eyes got all huge and then I was like, ‘Huh, I wonder what his problem is.’ And then the adrenaline shot of all time went through my body because I realized I had fallen asleep during the play I was supposed to be in.”

Jon Cryer Recalls Falling Asleep Onstage During Broadway Debut You Have Not Experienced Terror’ Jon Cryer Recalls Falling Asleep Onstage During Broadway Debut You Have Not Experienced Terror’ 017
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Once Cryer jolted awake, he confessed that “muscle memory” kicked in thanks to all of the rehearsals.He delivered his monologue and the show continued. Clarkson quipped that Cryer should have felt “fresh” from the nap.

While Cryer didn’t face any repercussions for falling asleep, he teased he was actually fired from the production for a different reason.

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“I was actually Mathew Broderick’s understudy for a long time … well not for that long cause they fired me,” he explained. “That was my first gig, I was 18 and I was terrified and Matthew is a wonderful performer.”

Broderick, 61, also made his Broadway debut in the same show and had originated the role that Cryer ended up performing briefly. Broderick’s performance in Brighton Beach Memoirs earned him his first Tony award and catapulted him into superstardom.

“They fired me right after he won the Tony,” Cryer confessed. “I think because they wanted somebody that people had heard of in the show taking over for him as opposed to me.”

Cryer wasn’t the only one to fill in after Broderick left. Fisher Stevens, Doug McKeon, Robert Sean Leonard and Jonathan Silverman all played Eugene at one point. While Cryer was heartbroken to have lost the job, he admitted it was a “formative experience.”

“And I did the most constructive thing, which was to vow revenge,” he joked.

Following his Broadway debut, Cryer went on to become a movie star and eventually snagged his own breakout role in the 1986 movie Pretty in Pink alongside Molly Ringwald.



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