Shreve, Crump & Low sterling silver beaded mint julep cup ($874), 232 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-969-6262
You’ve heard him on both television and radio for years—Will Lyman has been the voice of BMW, but most famously remains the voice of Frontline. In April, he’ll be on stage at the New Repertory Theatre playing the lead role of James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night, which happens to be Lyman’s favorite of all of Eugene O’Neill’s work. “It’s such a heartfelt story, one of those plays where nothing really happens, but it’s riveting to watch the characters attempt to care for and express love for one another,” he says. “They’re just unable to do it. You can’t discount the past, so all the pain of their past comes up in their faces every time. I find it lovely and heartbreaking at the same time.”
“O’Neill’s plays changed the course of American theater history,” says Lyman, by leaving out spoken interior monologues and having characters confronting their failures in a naturalistic way. “Not realistic, but naturalistic,” he says. But Lyman is no stranger to monologues, having long been part of the voice-over business. “I got into it to survive in theater,” he says. “The first one I did was for Stanley Hand Tools. It’s so easy compared to theater—you don’t have to shave or have your hair done. I could do it in my pajamas… if I wore pajamas.”
The Burlington, Vermont, native is also on the board of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and is as passionate about the bard’s classic work as he as about O’Neill’s. He’s seen Hamlet 16 times, including standing through a four-hour performance at Stratford-upon-Avon at age 18. “I never even noticed my feet,” he says.
He’s always been a bourbon drinker, but after meeting his Southern-raised wife, Anastasia, and spending time with her family in New Orleans, Lyman developed a taste for the mint julep. As soon as the mint comes into season in his Jamaica Plain garden, he breaks out the muddler. “The key is to not put any water in it,” he advises. And he insists that including some bits of stem in the drink is not much ado about nothing: “There’s good oil in the stem as well as in the leaves.” For tickets to Long Day’s Journey into Night, call 617- 923-8487.
Lyman’s Mint Julep
At least 2 oz. good bourbon, such as Bulleit
6 to 8 fresh mint leaves (including top leaves and bits of stem)
¼ to ½ tsp. confectioner’s sugar
Use a heavy pestle and a splash of bourbon to muddle the mint leaves and the sugar, being sure to crush the stems to release the most mint flavor. Swirl until sugar is dissolved, fill the glass with crushed ice, and top with bourbon.
Photograph by William Brinson; Styling by Ed Gabriels for Halley Resources