Kevin Spacey on "Clarence Darrow," love of theater and why he doesn't judge Frank Underwood

Kevin Spacey is known for his fourth-wall-breaking turn as the megalomaniacal Frank Underwood in Netflix's "House of Cards." Now, he'll break the fourth wall in a different arena as the one-man center of the play, "Clarence Darrow."

Spacey joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the real person who inspired the play, as well as his plans for hosting the Tony Awards for the first time and why he doesn't judge Frank Underwood.  

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Kevin Spacey in "Clarence Darrow" Manuel Harlan

In the one-man show, the Academy Award-winning actor portrays legendary defense attorney Clarence Darrow, who's best remembered for the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial where he defended a teacher's right to teach evolution in Tennessee classrooms. 

The venue is, appropriately, a court—a tennis court, that is. New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium will play host to the two-night-only event June 15 and 16.

The venue was chosen, in part, to mimic the theater in London where he first did the play in 2014, and also to facilitate audience interaction.

"There's a lot of audience participation. I go out into the audience, I make them read things, I choose them as my juries," Spacey said. "There's something, I think, really exciting about an audience watching an audience watching a play."

When asked why he chose to portray this character, Spacey said Darrow was "a remarkable labor attorney for workers' rights, for better conditions, for hours. In fact, he's the reason we have an eight-hour [work] day."

"In all of his arguments he used a kind of homespun logic and humor to make his points," Spacey said of Darrow's style in the courtroom. "I think that he managed to remove politics and remove statistics and just tell a person's story."

Spacey is also hosting the Tony Awards for the first time this Sunday.

Kevin Spacey serenades Switzerland crowd

"I'm the nerd host," he joked.

"First of all, I'm a theater rat. I love the living theater. I've learned everything I know about my craft in the theater," said Spacey, who is a Tony Award winner himself.

As for what's next, Spacey said he'd like to continue work with his foundation, which aims to use theater as a tool to help kids to learn about self-esteem and empowerment.

"I would love to find a place — a home — for that to exist and for me to be able to start to do more and more plays because I love it," he said.

As for his Netflix series "House of Cards," Spacey said that despite being in its fifth season, his role remains challenging and engaging.

Asked by "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King whether the show is playing off of real political headlines, Spacey replied, "I don't think we really feel the obligation to compete with the real world."

However, Spacey did admit that the show may be "a little closer to reality than people thought."

Does he like his conniving character? "It's not my job to sit in that seat, it's an audience's job to decide how they feel," Spacey said, to which King responded, "I judge him."