(Rob Weinert-Kendtjan’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1 /29; via Pam Green.)

CHICAGO — Nathan Lane is making people laugh in a rehearsal room here, ribbing a fellow actor about his guttural delivery of one of Eugene O’Neill’s simpler exclamations.

“I’m not hearing ‘Ha!,' ” he says, “so much as I’m hearing” — and here he does an exaggerated imitation of Brian Dennehy’s blurted moan. “Like an old Chevy starting,” Mr. Lane suggests, to general merriment. Mr. Dennehy shrugs and shoots back, “I’m more of a Ford man myself.”

Once the rehearsal gets started again — with Mr. Dennehy delivering a pointedly crisp “Ha!” — the voluble Mr. Lane is hard pressed to get even a titter from the crowd, which includes 17 actors, the director Robert Falls, and a small group of observers.

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