in Uncategorized

Theatre Notes

This thing’s being passed around Facebook to all theatre junkies, and since I’m slacking on keeping this blog updated as it is, I thought I’d not waste a lengthy piece of writing on anonymity.

1) What was the first play you ever did? What role or job?
I was, I think, ten years old, appearing in a summer school production of Maurice Sendak’s Really Rosie. I played a monkey. (Typecasting? You betcha.) It was the first time I’d ever found something that I was good at that would impress other people.

2) What was your most recent show? What job/role?
I directed Guys and Dolls at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in 2004. Haven’t done anything remotely theatrical since. My last live performance was also at Tuacahn, back in 2000 as the lead in The Music Man.

3) What was your favorite show/role?
Hands down, playing the title character in Eugene Ionesco’s bizarre existential weirdfest Man with Bags at USC. I’ve never had a performing experience that has even come close.

4) What was your most challenging show/role?
Well, that Music Man performance involved me stepping into the lead for two weeks at the end of the run, after a summer where the cast was told that I was a combination of Satan and the King of Suck by the woman playing Marian. The hostility was palpable, and it would have been tricky under the best of circumstances, and these were by far the worst. I still nailed it, though, because I’m a friggin’ genius.

5) What is the most bizarre show or role you’ve ever done?
Again, Man with Bags comes to mind. It had people with trees growing out of their stomachs.

6) Has anyone ever written a show for you?
I think Ed H. tailored a role he wrote in the USC Senior Experimentals for me, but it wasn’t really written FOR me. I’VE written several roles for me, however, none of which have ever really been produced.

Wait! Scratch that! Greg H. wrote a role for me as “the Pianist” in the original kid’s Rock Theatre in 1983. It was a great, wonderfully fun show, but the role was wafer thin.

7) Have you ever quit a show to accept a better one?
Actually, the reverse. I was offered a slot at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and went to the Playmill instead. Although Playmill offered me much better roles, and I think I had more fun up there than I would have had carrying a spear at Utah Shakes.

8) Have you ever completely blown character on stage?
You mean just once? Playmill ’93 was filled with such moments. I remember splitting my pants onstage and everyone onstage and off breaking into convulsive giggles. I leapt over a couch in See How They Run and felt the thing split up the middle, but because of the Playmill’s odd seating layout, only a third of the audience could see my butt. So they started laughing, while the rest of the house had no idea what was going on. Eventually, Heidi M. walked onstage with a fresh pair of pants, and I changed in full view of the crowd, and then the show went on, sort of.

9) What show(s) are you just dying to do?
My original Peter Pan musical, Neverland.

10) Have you ever done one of your “dream” shows?
I’m not sure. I don’t really have show dreams anymore, so I’m not sure which shows would be dream shows at this point.

11) Who was your favorite director?
Huge Michael K. fan, probably because he directed Man with Bags.

12) Who was your least favorite director?
I’d go with “me.” Or Thor N., the insane man who threw full 7-up cans at children during a production of Hans Christian Andersen in the early ’80s.

13) What is the most surprising role you have ever been offered?
Some guy at USC wanted me to play a dude version of Blanche in his all-male Streetcar Named Desire. I think it was only for one scene, but I passed.

14) Have you ever injured yourself onstage or offstage?
Ever? Yes. Theatrically related? Not often. I remember I gouged my leg running up to the front of the Bing Theatre at USC and attempting to leap from the house to the stage to give Lenanne Sylvester a hug. It took a chunk out of my bone that still wobbles if I fiddle with it.

15) What show(s) have you done multiple times?
There’s The Music Man, which I performed in three times, twice as the lead. (Both times were stories in themselves – see and .)

I was in a constantly shifting standing company of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown for the better part of six years, playing Schroeder. I also directed it for my church, playing Snoopy. I’ve been in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat umpteen times in a bunch of settings and roles, once as the lead in high school. Done Guys and Dolls three times, twice as a cast member, twice as a producer, and once as a director. Annie Get Your Gun – twice produced, once directed. Twice produced Fiddler on the Roof. Actually, this list is boring me, so I’ll stop here. (P.S. Produced The Foreigner twice; directed it once.)

16) Have you ever had an onstage kiss?
Have I EVER! (Up through puberty, that was pretty much all the action I got.)

17) What was your scariest moment in a show?
I once dropped a roll drop without warning in Jackson Hole in order to go make an entrance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I could have killed someone.

18) What is your best show memory?
I can’t think of one standout. Man with Bags again, Into the Woods at USC, and not single-handedly destroying Tuacahn with my performance in The Music Man. Maybe playing opposite Gok Festuf Gearin in The Odd Couple and throwing a plate of spaghetti off into the wings and hitting a guy in the eye.

19) What is your worst show memory?
My first year producing shows in Jackson Hole and playing to empty houses for The Mystery of Edwin Drood was always deeply, deeply depressing. I was the only one onstage who knew just how much money we were losing.

20) What is your saddest show memory?
Actually, I hark back to my first show – Really Rosie – and being totally crushed when it was over. Just devastated that I had to go back to real life. I felt the same way after a summer in The Wizard of Oz at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood. As a little kid, those casts represented the only communities that didn’t think I was a freak and a half. It was always very hard when it all ended.

As I got older, however, closing nights too often became glorious moments of relief. Or, in the words of Jack R., “This, too, shall close.”

21) Do you have any theatrical superstitions?
Nope. Macbeth Macbeth Macbeth. Good luck! I’m off to go whistle in the dressing room.

A Letter I Recently Received
Are these your pants?

Leave a Reply