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Marriage or No, Tony Campisi Has to Go Where the Work Is

Kathy Bates isn’t the only busy actor in the Bates-Campisi household.

“This play closes on May 3,” says Tony Campisi. “On May 4, I’m on a plane to Rochester, N.Y. On May 5, I’m in a rehearsal hall.” For the time being, though, Campisi has his hands full with his role as Specs in Peter DeAnello’s “Two Way Street” at the Court Theatre, playing a former Wall Street trader who’s gotten himself into a major pickle.

“It’s one of those plays where you don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Campisi says guardedly. “There’s a lot of tension, elements of danger. It’s about three boyhood friends from Brooklyn; 20 years have passed. Now they’ve come together because of the unpleasant situation I’m in. But it’s really about trust, friendship and loyalty, and how those things come into play--even after 20 years.”

His relationship with Bates is also of the long-running variety: 13 years together before they finally tied the knot in 1991.

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“Being married has changed things,” Campisi allows. “There’s more of a commitment to try to be in the same city.” Although Bates was New York-based for many years, “now she’s really put down roots here,” he says. “So we try to spend as much time together as possible. But you have to go where the work is. Of course, so many demands are made on her time--and that affects me. Since the (Academy) Award, everything’s been thrown into a new gear.”

Campisi swears Bates is unfazed. “Her feet are on the ground, her head is screwed on straight. Remember, this came after a lot of hard work,” says the actor, who had a rare opportunity to co-star with his wife--playing new lovers--in a Chicago staging of “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” a few years back.

Coping with Bates’ celebrity “is like learning a new skill,” he says wryly. “There are a lot worse things.”


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