Lily Rabe was born with thepedigree of an actor’s actor. Her father is playwright David Rabe (whose workswere the subject of a recent New Yorker retrospective), and her mother isactress Jill Clayburgh. But Rabe, who graduated from Northwestern University in2004, has been making theatrical inroads of her own. In 2005 she debuted onBroadway in Steel Magnolias and later took on George Bernard Shaw’s HeartbreakHouse, garnering award nominations for both performances. After a few filmroles, Rabe returns to Broadway for her latest project: starring oppositeMercedes Ruehl in The American Plan. Style.com caught up with the up-and-comerduring a break from rehearsal to talk about first loves, Ryan Gosling, and herAchilles heel: Alexander Wang. The American Plan opens in previews this Friday.
Born on the Upper West Side-- shortly after her mother earned acclaim in movies like An Unmarried Womanand Starting Over, and a few years before one of her dad's best-known works,Hurlyburly, made its Broadway debut -- Rabe says she had some growing up to dobefore she was ready to accept her parents as artists. Watching her mother'smovies, she recalls, "used to make me turn bright red and I sort ofwouldn't remember watching them when I was younger. You want your parents tojust be your parents and keep it at that." But now that she's 28 andcarving out her own acting career (which so far has included turns on Broadwayin Steel Magnolias and Richard Greenberg's The American Plan), she says,"I want to read everything my dad has written and see everything my momhas done. I feel better equipped to take that stuff in and experience themthrough their work. I almost feel hungry for it." This summer, however,her plate is pretty full. "When I am working, I have the tendency to gounderground," she says. "I have a lot of calls that I haven'treturned that I need to. My head is in it all the time. It's actually kind ofagreeable."
ctress Lily Rabe never wentto camp but imagines the experience is similar to her latest gig, starring asPortia in the Public Theater's production of The Merchant of Venice in CentralPark this summer. "The way we do Shakespeare in the Park, there is thatsummer camp feeling that we'll all be here through the rain and whatever else.Everyone's getting paid the same, and we're all sharing the same crowdeddressing room," says Rabe at Maialino, her neighborhood go-to restaurantat the Gramercy Park Hotel. So does that make Al Pacino, who plays Shylock,camp counselor? "It's a highbrow first camp experience!" exclaims Rabein her distinct contralto. Though she considers Pacino's The Panic in NeedlePark one of her "favorite movies of all time," it's hard to get toostarstruck when your mother is Oscar-nominee Jill Clayburgh and your father isplaywright and screenwriter David Rabe.