ER's Anthony Edwards Joins Wife Mare Winningham in Girl from the North Country as Last-Minute Understudy
With only one hour of rehearsal time under his belt, the Emmy Award winner, 59, stepped in Friday to understudy the role of Dr. Walker in the recently Tony-nominated Girl from the North Country, in which his wife Mare Winningham portrays Elizabeth Laine.
After several of the company contracted COVID-19, lead producer Tristan Baker took to the stage to thank the musical's swings and understudies before asking if there's "a doctor in the house," referencing Edwards' beloved tenure as Dr. Mark Greene on ER.
Edwards explained in a backstage video that he was two hours away at their Connecticut home when he got the unexpected call from his wife that afternoon, saying they'd have to cancel the show without the absent actors and asking if he wanted to fill in.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime — you don't get this," Edwards said. "I know audiences are so loving and forgiving, I've seen someone go on with a book before. And I just thought, I love this show, I love everything about it. And if this means 800 people, a thousand people are going to be able to see it tonight as opposed to cancel it, I'm in. Let's go."
Winningham added that she was "beyond impressed and proud" with her husband's last-minute performance. "You're fearless and fun, and you're blessed," she said.
Although he relied on his script for a few scenes, Edwards was impressively off-book for much of the show. Viewers also got to enjoy his onstage chemistry with Winningham, 62. Edwards will continue in the role throughout the weekend.
Edwards' surprise performance comes after the show received seven Tony Award nominations earlier this week, including best musical and best actress in a musical for Winningham.
The Top Gun actor quietly eloped with Winningham last year, revealing that the nuptials consisted of "just the two of them and an old friend to officiate" during a February interview with Esquire. "We're too old to throw weddings," Edwards said.
They previously starred together in the 1988 movie Miracle Mile, but their friendship only became romantic in 2020.
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"She's just spectacular. She's an amazing singer and she's a wonderful actress and she's an incredible person," Edwards added.
He previously made his Broadway debut in the 2018 revival of the play, Children of a Lesser God.