date published: November 6, 2006
by Josh B. Wardrop
Best-known to audiences as eldest son John-Boy Walton on the beloved family drama “The Waltons,” actor Richard Thomas has been a star of stage, TV and film for nearly 50 years. He arrives in Boston on November 7 for a two-week engagement at The Colonial Theatre in a revival of the classic legal drama Twelve Angry Men.
Q: Why do, in 2006, a revival of Twelve Angry Men?
A: The judicial system is a vital and unchanged process, and the core of this story is about proving how one person can make a difference through participation in their government. It’s as relevant today as it was in 1954, and that’s exciting to me.
Q: Have you ever served on a jury yourself?
A: I never have! I’ve been called, but always had work conflicts. After this show, though, my interest is really piqued.…It’s such an important service to be able to perform.
Q: You’re co-starring with George Wendt (“Cheers”). Any fears the
audience will yell out “Norm!” when he walks onstage?
A: (Laughs) It hasn’t happened yet, but maybe now that we’re in Boston! George is absolutely great in the show, by the way.
Q: Television is very different from when “The Waltons” was on. What
do you think of the current TV landscape?
A: There’s interesting stuff, but networks seem to be mostly stuck on crime procedurals [like “C.S.I.”]. They’re well-executed, but it seems character-driven shows are much rarer these days. I worry about the easy cynicism—the preference to make shows that are dark for the sake of being hip.
Q: How often does someone call you “John-Boy”?
A: Oh, all the time. And it’s great! I really think if you’re lucky enough to have inhabited a character so vividly that you’re still identified with it 30 years later, that’s quite a blessing for a performer.