Cynthia Nixon Knows What Poem She Wants Read at Her Funeral

Cynthia Nixon hadn’t been onstage since 2017, when she and Laura Linney alternated the roles of Regina and Birdie in “The Little Foxes.”

She wasn’t expecting her comeback to be “The Seven Year Disappear,” playing an artist who also re-emerges after seven years.

“It was really startling to me and a weird, uncanny echo of the play,” Nixon said. The Jordan Seavey production runs through March 31 at the New Group, and four performances, from March 29 to 31, will be live-streamed.

Nixon is a two-time Tony Award winner, including one for “The Little Foxes,” but she is widely known for her work in television, including as Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City” and in “And Just Like That …” and as Ada Brook in “The Gilded Age.” This summer, she plans to begin shooting the third seasons of those latter two series, volleying from one to the other.

“I can see in some ways it being fun,” she said. After all, she’s pulled off something like it before.

“I did this thing when I was 18 where I was in two Broadway plays at the same time,” said Nixon, who ran back and forth between “The Real Thing” and “Hurlyburly,” both directed by Mike Nichols, and even made the curtain calls.

“We contain multitudes,” she said in a video interview before talking about “Bright Lights,” her “Seven Year Disappear” co-star Taylor Trensch and the poetry of Emily Dickinson. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.


I’m in the kitchen most of the time I’m at home. I am always cooking and washing dishes and doing a million things, so it’s great to have a place to wipe my hands. But on a much more physiological level, I’m a very loose-jointed person, so it’s always good for me to have support so I feel ready to work.


I love flowers like lilies, hyacinths and gardenias, those really, really pungent, sweet ones. I love to light candles and have those good smells.


I have a particular blend that’s my house blend, which is a jasmine green as the base. And then I have this thing from Empire Coffee & Tea, which is all this dried peach and passion fruit. And then lemongrass, which I also grow and have drying all around my house.


Every single moment of the documentary is so delicious and shocking and surprising. I loved Carrie Fisher. I loved Debbie Reynolds. Just to watch that mother and daughter and everything they’ve been to American cinema, and everything they are to each other, and how they can be both so on as performers in front of the camera, but can also be so naked and revealing.


When I was in seventh grade, it was the year that the King Tut exhibit was coming to New York, and there was such a run on tickets that you basically had to spend a night there to get a ticket for months later. So my friend Charlotte and I waited on line. There was some hippie guy next to us, and he taught us to play backgammon, and we played all night until the doors opened.


Whatever terrible things are happening in the world, to be able to take an hour and laugh, try and answer the questions and be so charmed — it’s a little vacation for my psyche.


When my wife and I first got together, she was so open and game, and she just went into musical comedy boot camp. Every time we were in the car, it was like, “And now you’re going to hear ‘Merrily We Roll Along.’ Let me explain.”


I was a child actor and he was a child actor, and I feel like that’s a very particular thing that you either lived through or you didn’t. I feel such a kinship with him. He was the person that, as soon as I read the play, I wanted to do it with.


Any salad you’re going to have is always going to be enhanced by blue cheese in it. Any piece of apple you’re going to have, wouldn’t it be better with a smear of blue cheese on it? A steak with a little blue cheese?


I got to play Emily Dickinson a few years ago in a movie, and it was like a dream come true. My mother had a record of Julie Harris reading Emily Dickinson poems and letters, and her voice is so great. They live inside my head. Poetry is wonderful to read silently, but poetry is so much better when you say it out loud. I love “I heard a Fly buzz — when I died.” That one gets me every time. I want that read at my funeral.

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