Because there already was a Joseph Lane registered with Actors Equity, he changed his name to Nathan after the character Nathan Detroit from the musical Guys and Dolls. He moved to New York City where, after a long struggle, his career began to take off, first with off-Broadway productions at Second Stage Theatre, and then his 1982 Broadway debut in a revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter with a cast headed by George C. Scott, Kate Burton, Dana Ivey, and Christine Lahti. His second Broadway appearance was in the 1983 flop Merlin, which starred magician Doug Henning and Chita Rivera. Commenting on the show, Lane later said, "Doug Henning's greatest magic trick was making the audience disappear". His major breakthrough came with the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls, in which he portrayed the character who lent him his name opposite Peter Gallagher and Faith Prince. His professional association with close friend, playwright Terrence McNally, includes roles in Lips Together, Teeth Apart and Love! Valour! Compassion!.
The two eventually had a falling out when Lane was not available for the film version of the latter. The early 1990s began a highly successful stretch of Broadway shows for Lane. In 1993, he portrayed Sid Caesar-like Max Prince in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, inspired by Simon's early career writing sketches for Your Show of Shows. In 1994, he starred in the highly successful revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, for which he won a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical. (His association with Sondheim continued when, in 2004, he revised the original book for and starred in the Broadway debut of the composer's The Frogs at Lincoln Center.
He also sang a song written especially for him by Sondheim in the film The Birdcage.) Lane won his second Tony Award for his portrayal of Max Bialystock in the musical version of Mel Brooks's The Producers opposite Matthew Broderick, with whom he competed for the honor. He later replaced Richard Dreyfuss in the role at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane, but a back injury forced him to leave the show two weeks before his contract expired. He recreated his performance for the film version, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. In 2005, Lane rejoined Broderick for a limited run of The Odd Couple. In 2006, he changed gears to take on a primarily dramatic role in a revival of Simon Gray's Butley, which is still running as of this writing. He has appeared in nearly fifty films, including Ironweed, Love's Labours Lost, Nicholas Nickleby, Mouse Hunt, Frankie and Johnny, Stuart Little and its sequel, Stuart Little 2, Jeffrey, The Lion King, Joe Versus The Volcano, Addams Family Values, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Austin Powers in Goldmember, and Isn't She Great, in which he played Irving Mansfield opposite Bette Midler's Jacqueline Susann. His television credits include a recurring role on The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1989), the title role in The Man Who Came to Dinner (2000), and guest appearances on Mad About You, Sex and the City, Frasier, and Saturday Night Live.
His attempts at a regular series of his own, One of the Boys (1982), "Encore! Encore!" (1998) and Charlie Lawrence (2003), were critical and ratings disasters. Lane, who has been openly gay since the death of Matthew Shepard, describes himself as an "old-fashioned homosexual, not one of the newfangled ones who are born joining parades." --Theater awards and nominations-- * 2006 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play (Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams, nominee) * 2001 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (The Producers, winner) * 2001 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (The Producers, winner) * 1996 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, winner) * 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, winner) * 1995 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Love! Valour! Compassion!, winner) * 1992 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Guys and Dolls, nominee) * 1992 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Guys and Dolls, winner) * 1990 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play (The Lisbon Traviata, winner) * 1983 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Present Laughter, nominee) --Trivia-- * He was one of several actors considered for the role of George Costanza in Seinfeld. * He has performed two roles originated by Zero Mostel, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Max Bialystock in The Producers. He declined the role of Tevye in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler On The Roof because he didn't want to be seen as always following in Mostel's footsteps. Coincidentally, both of Lane's Tony Awards were for Mostel's roles; when he accepted the second, he looked up and thanked Mostel's "spirit" for inhabiting him. * He and Broderick were awarded a joint star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 9, 2006. Read more on Last.fm.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more