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Actor Nathan Lane likely done with Broadway musicals: 'it's a young man's game'

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BANFF, Alta. - Say it ain't so.

Nathan Lane, the two-time Tony Award-winning toast of Broadway, says he doesn't expect to be doing much in the way of musical theatre in the future.

Lane is attending the Banff World Media Festival where he received the Sir Peter Ustinov Award for comedy.

The man best known for his roles as Mendy in "The Lisbon Traviata," Albert in "The Birdcage," Max Bialystock in the musical "The Producers," Ernie Smuntz in "MouseHunt" and Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls" said except for an occasional indulgence he's out of musicals.

"I've enjoyed it, but I feel like my time in musicals has come to a close," Lane said in an interview with The Canadian Press Wednesday.

"I feel like musicals are a young man's game and I'm sort of done."

Despite decades of appearances in television and film it is theatre that remains his first love.

He is impressed with the current slate of Broadway plays and actors such as "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston who won a Tony Sunday for best actor in "All the Way."

"Bryan is a wonderful actor. I loved him on 'Breaking Bad,' which was one of the great performances. From what I can see they're a terrific group of actors," he said.

"Certainly there is now a template for theatre. You find one movie star who wants to do theatre or if you're lucky enough have done theatre, you put them in a recognizable title of a classic play and run for 16 weeks," Lane said.

"Hopefully you recoup quickly and make a little bit of money."

Lane, who is 58, is attempting to balance his career in the theatre with recurring roles on "The Good Wife" and "Modern Family." In "Modern Family" he plays Mitchell and Cam's friend Pepper, who is an event planner.

In "The Good Wife" he portrays Clarke Hayden, a bottom line-obsessed manager imposed on Lockhart Gardner by the bank to cut costs and get the firm back to fiscal health.

"It's wonderful to work on shows like that where the writing is so strong and they're just terrific actors," he said.

"'The Good Wife' is easier because they shoot in Brooklyn and it's easier to get to on a Monday or a Tuesday. 'Modern Family,' it would be nice if I could get to do one if I can work it out and still do eight shows a week."

Lane said he is excited to be part of "The Iceman Cometh," which will be staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music next spring. He is also hoping to do some Shakespeare.

Lane signed a number of autographs while in Banff. He said everyone recognizes him for something different.

"Inevitably people always want to talk about 'The Birdcage' — they love that film. Now recently there's more of 'I love you' on 'The Good Wife,' where they don't know whether they should love me or hate me, and of course there's 'Modern Family.'"

Follow @Bill Graveland on Twitter.

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