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Ogunquit Playhouse tackles the stage version of a blockbuster novel and movie

To put pressure on yourself to try to create a hit, said one of the actors, "is just going to undermine the enjoyment."

OGUNQUIT, Maine — As a novel, "The Da Vinci Code" sold tens of millions of copies. The movies based on the book—"The Da Vinci Code," "Angels & Demons," and "Inferno"—reportedly grossed more than one and a half billion dollars. Now comes the American theatrical premiere of "The Da Vinci Code" at Ogunquit Playhouse. No pressure there, right?

Well, if there is pressure to create a hit, the three lead actors in the production don’t feel it.

"One of my last big jobs was 'Hamilton' and with that, I felt immense pressure," Hannah Cruz said. "Mostly because everyone has an idea of what it looks like and sounds like." 

Since this is the first stage version of "The Da Vinci Code" in the U.S., the audience's expectations are, Cruz said, reasonably modest.

Even though the play is a fast-moving thriller, Charles Shaughnessy believes the actors need to have fun with it.

"We get in the sandbox and play make-believe," Shaughnessy said. "So to then add pressure onto yourself for any reason at all, like there's some kind of goal you have to reach, is just going to undermine the enjoyment. So I deliberately go, 'No, thank you, I’m not going to feel pressure.'"

The diversions that Ogunquit offers help to keep the actors from obsessing about their work. A few days before we talked, Cruz and Michael Urie went to the movie theater in town to watch "Jaws." 

"It was such a blast, so much fun," Urie said.

Shaughnessy had gone in a different direction, to a friend's lakeside home in New Hampshire. 

"This is absolutely true," he said. "We dove in the lake and I came up out of the water and the first thing I said was, "No sharks.'"

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