Joshua Jackson visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert less than 24 hours after bowing in his official Broadway debut in Children of a Lesser God, which opened April 11 at Studio 54.
The actor, who made his New York stage debut in Second Stage’s Smart People, currently plays James Leeds in the first revival of Mark Medoff’s Tony-winning play. Though Jackson began his career on screen in movies like The Mighty Ducks trilogy and Dawson’s Creek, the actor is ecstatic to make his Broadway debut and learned sign language to do it.
His co-star is Lauren Ridloff, a Deaf actor making her Broadway debut as well. She started off as the sign language teacher to director Kenny Leon, and it wasn’t until she made Jackson (and a room of industry folk) sob during the first read-through that she became the show’s official leading lady. Watch Jackson tell the full story of how he was driven to tears—and could barely finish his performance.
It’s not all tears, though. While Jackson has become close to fluent in sign language in the past year, he is a novice. One night, he incorrectly signed a line and changed the entire meaning of a sentence. “I'm in the middle of a scene with Lauren and I'm supposed to sign ‘Yesterday I had a lousy visit with your mother,’” recalled Jackson. “But what I said was ‘Yesterday I had a louse [bleep] with your mother,’” he shares. “Small difference.”