Remember walking through a crowded park on a beautiful day? Just three weeks ago, before there was no place but home, actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick showed "Sunday Morning" anchor Jane Pauley one of their favorite spots.
"We're in the famous, no-other-park-in-New-York-like-it Washington Square Park, the heart of the village," said Parker.
The park holds 30 years of memories for this longtime couple – and even more for Broderick, who grew up here. "All these new-fangled buildings everywhere?" he laughed.
Shared memories they don't often share. "We were just dating. I ran into Matthew, and he was on a payphone. And I was carrying a mattress with my friend John," she said.
That was the beginning of a long relationship, but a pretty short story.
Pauley asked, "The two of you, how quickly did you know?"
"It was complicated," Broderick said.
"It was?" Parker laughed.
"I don't remember!"
"We're not good at talking about this part. This is the part we don't talk about. We're not practiced."
Pauley asked, "What's your answer to the question?"
"From the first time we were together, we've never been apart since," Parker replied. "That's true. Sorry."
Lately, they're spending even more time together. The couple, along with other artists, recently joined Rosie O'Donnell for a live-streamed benefit for the Actor's Fund, a non-profit, in which Parker revealed that the couple has been watching "Columbo," playing games, and doing a lot of cooking and laundry.
Parker and Broderick were set to co-star in a revival of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite." But the very day they were to begin performances, theatres were shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"Plaza Suite" is one of the few new shows still expected to open … someday.
Just last month, the stars were playing to sold-out houses in Boston, and getting set to bring the play to Broadway for the first time since its hit run more than 50 years ago.
It's also the first time Broderick and Parker have acted together since they were married 23 years ago.
Parker said, "We had basically come to the conclusion, without ever having said it, that we will never really work together!"
"Every now and then, somebody would say, 'You guys should do something together,'" said Broderick. "And we'd say, 'What?' And they'd say, 'I'm … I have an appointment.'"
And Parker had her own reason for hesitating: "Actually, what I felt was, oh God, no, really? Because you know each other in such a different way. But I think it has been incredibly pleasant."
Audiences have been delighted. Broderick said, "At the very beginning, as soon as Miss Parker was revealed, they were just very, very happy to be here. And you can't help but feel reassured by that."
In this comedy about marriage, they appear as three different couples who check into the same Suite 719 at New York's Plaza Hotel.
Act One: Karen and Sam are celebrating an awkward wedding anniversary…
Act Two: Jessie, a Hollywood producer, hopes for sparks with his high school flame, Muriel.
Set in 1968, "Plaza Suite" affords Broderick the opportunity to wear a costume that he calls the most fun: a burnt orange jacket and turtleneck: "I get a really nice outfit," he said.
Finally, as Norma and Roy, parents of the bride who's got cold feet. "They are moments away from handing off their daughter who has locked herself in the bathroom," said Parker.
Of course, it's a challenge to change characters multiple times in one night. But Parker and Broderick are experienced actors each with decades on stage and screen.
Movie fans still know him best from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." He laughed: "Yeah. I like it 80% as much as they do!"
And she's most famous as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City."
Pauley asked, "Would a young Carrie Bradshaw have dated Ferris Bueller?"
"I don't know if Ferris Bueller would've dated Carrie Bradshaw!" Parker replied.
"Well, one is DC, and the other is Marvel," Broderick laughed.
Broderick not only knows comic books; he's a devoted baseball fan. And so is she.
Parker said, "Before we had too many kids, we had a dream we were gonna – not 'too many kids,' I mean, before we had so many children that …"
"I think 'too many' is fair," Broderick interjected.
" … rightfully took up our time, we had a dream before all the baseball stadiums changed, we were gonna hit every single one in the country."
"How many of them are there? Children?" Pauley asked.
"We have three," said Parker.
"That we know about," Broderick added.
"No, we're sure. We're sure."
They have two girls – 10-year-old twins – and a 17-year-old son.
Re any, or all, of them aspiring actors? "It sounds like one of the girls," said Parker. "Yeah. Which is an absolute surprise. But she did clarify that the other day, and said she wants to get her degree in education 'cause she really wants to be a teacher. And I said, 'That's a fine and good idea. And then you can always go to acting school.'"
Broderick said, "These are funny conversations with a ten-year-old, you know? 'I think you could pass the bar. Certainly!'"
They both started young. At 13 she was "Annie." And at 17 he made his stage debut alongside his dad, the late actor James Broderick.
The only time Parker and Broderick had worked together before "Plaza Suite" was in a 1990s revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." "Happy to keep his dinner warm 'til he comes merrily home from downtown," sang Parker as Rosemary Pillkington to Broderick's J. Pierrepont Finch, a role for which he won his second Tony Award.
"Matthew Broderick would be the man you're singing about?" asked Pauley.
"Yes. She was singing about 'Ponty,' J Pierrepont Finch. 'Oh, Ponty!'"
Great chemistry, both on-stage and off-.
Parker said, "Yeah, I mean, we spent more time together in the last two-and-a-half, three months than we've spent since we were courting, really, sincerely."
While they're still seeing a lot of each other, audiences will have to wait to see them live on stage. But homebound fans can still spend quality time with some old friends, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
"We both feel so lucky and so privileged," said Parker. "Because how many great actors haven't had the sort of success that you think that they're deserving of? If you're not cognizant of that all the time, you're a fool and an ingrate. And I'm enormously grateful."
For more info:
- "Plaza Suite," opening soon (?) at the Hudson Theatre, New York City | Ticket info
- Follow Sarah Jessica Parker on Instagram
Story produced by Mary Raffalli. Editor: Steve Tyler.