TRANSCRIPT

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Exclusive HPN Interview - Site admin sits down for a Q&A with Hugh Panaro before a performance of Company in Seattle, October 26, 2006

Ok first of all, how did you end up getting the role of Bobby in Company?

This was actually the first, I’m trying to think, the first time anybody’s ever just offered a role. Um, the artistic director David Armstrong, he saw, I’m not sure if he saw… if it was opening night or one of the early performances of Lestat and um, he actually liked the show. (laughs) And when they came to casting Company, he tracked down my agent and um asked Charles- oh I’m sorry that wasn’t Charles that was Mark, too many agents- asked if I would interested in and available in playing Bobby. I had never played Bobby before, I had seen two of my better friends, had both played Bobby. One person did it in Nyack and one at the Kennedy Center, so I had seen it twice, but never played the role and with the exception of “Being Alive”, well only the second part of “Being Alive”, I didn’t even know any of the music.

1:25

So you mentioned during the spotlight night you spoke to Hal Prince and Sondheim. What else did you do to prepare for the role?

They were so, um, probably tired of seeing me at the Lincoln Center library. And you know, you can go in there if you have a reason to-they don’t just offer it to anybody on the street-but if you’re preparing for a role, they’ll let you view whatever they have on file-um (muffled talking… Paula jumping to save the recorder) As far as uh video tape and I guess now DVDs. Like, the day I was there, somebody from Jersey Boys was there to watch the show and they asked him, “well, why are you here to watch Jersey Boys if you’re from the show?” and he said. “well, I want to see what I’m a part of, I want to see what it looks like. The dance captain had been there to look at some choreography issues.

So you have to go fill out, like, little forms. They actually had four, four or three productions. They had the original first national tour with Donna McKechnie in it. She was amazing, that was the first one I watched because that was the Hal Prince production. I figured let’s start with the original. And then I saw the- (phone rings, plays Charlie Brown tune. Hugh sings along). That was Charlie Brown, ladies and gentleman. Is this…are you going to transcribe this?

No, I’m actually going to upload it.

Oh so you can cut this boring part?

No, I think Bonnie can do it.

Bonnie, if you could cut all the boring part, like the phone call. If not, how ya doin’, Bon? (laughs)

OK, and then I saw the Roundabout- is it vibrating? Oh my gosh! (pause, laughs) Then I saw the Roundabout production and uh… keep talking? OK (pause) we have major phone issues. (pause) Roundabout. (pause) York Theater, have you heard of that? The York Theater had done a production. That one was interesting because it starred David Carroll, and he’s passed. I just though, he was probably one of the, I liked his work so much and I saw him in a couple of Broadway productions and I can’t believe he was so young. Anyway, this is only three? I thought I saw four productions but I guess between the three productions I viewed on video and the two productions- one in Niack and Kennedy Center and also I got a copy of the original script, um aside from that our musical director Ian Eisendraft sent a work tape so I could get a headstart on the music. Because we really only had I guess four, not even a full four weeks of rehearsal, because everybody was called in a little differently. And because of my trip to the emergency room, with the spider bite, I actually called, because, I didn’t think I would still be able to do the job but luckily I was able to come in a few days later than the rest of the cast to start rehearsal.

So um, but I also, I have a lot of you know, I think every actor has someone in their life they draw from and I think there’s a few people I think of as a composite of Bobby. I won’t give out any names to protect the-I won’t say innocent, I don’t know, the non-innocent.

5:41

So what’s the biggest challenge that you have playing Bobby?


I think the biggest challenge playing Bobby is making the role active, because as you know from seeing the show, um, he listens a lot and these couples are written very, you know, eccentrically and, you know, they’re kind of the, I don’t want to say focus, everyone’s the focus, but they are the zany characters and Bobby is kind of the catalyst that links them all together.

So, um, and that was a note that, um, Hal Prince gave me about, he said “you have to navigate through these couples”, and he gave me, um, two adjectives, or two, I’m sorry, a two word phrase: aggressive disdain. You can you know kind of observe them with aggressive disdain, not for marriage but for what Bobby perceives as, you know, the pitfalls of marriage and maybe the hypocrisy.

And I think that’s the hardest thing about the role is that you spend so much of your time onstage, you’re onstage the entire evening, but if you add up the lines its not nearly as much as you think because everybody else is talking all the time.

7:18

So what was the easiest thing?


Um. (laughs) You’re gonna laugh. (laughs) It’s sounds so silly, but the easiest thing compared to so many of the roles I’ve done in the last, you know, few years is that I don’t have to wear a wig! I don’t have any prosthetic makeup, I don’t have any fake blood on me. I get to come to work, um, put on one costume, you know, a very nice comfortable suit, I don’t have to do a wig, barely any makeup for the show, you know, cover up your zits for the night or a little bit of eyeliner. But you know, the easy part is, I have to say, after doing these big shows, the cosmetic part is so much easier, it’s nice you can come in and just focus on the acting or singing, it’s not like, you know, “oh, I have to go to wigs now and get my mic glued to my face.” (laughs)

8:25

So is there anything about Bobby that you personally identify with?


Um. Yeah, I think, at least my younger self especially. I think when you… I think one thing, we had a group of high school kids here, it was really interesting to talk to them about how they related- or did not relate to the show since it was written in the ‘70s. You know, but one of the high school kids said “I’m looking for an authentic relationship, my older brother has a,” he said, “my older brother is really screwed up!” (laughs) “and I definitely don’t want that.”

I said this in the talk-back session, um, with you the 5th Avenue Evening you know, I think everybody gets to a place where they grow up and you can be immature and party and do all that stuff, but to a certain point most people get tired of their twenties and realize that, you know, it doesn’t take much to be fulfilled. Um, I think, like, Bobby is a decent guy, I think I’m a decent guy, I think. Um. I don’t think I… I think I’m able to use a lot of my personality and interject my humor. I don’t know if George Firth meant him to be sarcastic, but that’s part of me, and I’ve kind of integrated into him.

10:20

So, any funny incidents with the show?


Oh boy, let me try and think. I don’t want to waste your tape while I think, so maybe you can pause it while I think…or edit. Edit the big pause, Bonnie! Um. (pause) Not that funny, but one night after “Barcelona”, where you know April and I have to get out of basically all of our clothes into the bed, and as you know from seeing the show, the last thing to come off are underclothes, undergarments! You know, we’d throw them on the floor, and during the blackout before the next scene, the stage crew and dressers would come out and collect all our clothes. Well, in the dark, they missed an item, so my underpants (laughing) were on the stage for most of the duration of the rest of the show, and then in the nightclub scene, thank god, one of the guys playing the waiters, as they made their exit, he bent over and picked it up. We hoped that maybe the audience thought it was bar towel and not a pair of underpants.

I can’t think of anything else happening during- it wasn’t this show, but apparently when they were doing Wizard of Oz here, um, there was another show, a big party was being put on and they were using a lot of similar radio frequencies, and the man in our show who plays Larry was also playing the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, and when they came out to sing “I am the king of the forest!” it picked up another radio frequency from this party and you heard the song “Spinning Wheel” come out of his microphone. (laughs) But we haven’t had anything too crazy. I hope we don’t.

12:25

So of all the roles you’ve played over the years, which has been your favorite?


(pause) You know what, it’s, I have a lot of favorites, the minute you asked me that question though, the thing that popped into my mind, truthfully, was Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. And I know it’s easy to make a joke and say how can you get much better thank playing God? (laughs) But, um, part of the reason was, it was one of my first Equity jobs in the union, and I was waaay too young to be playing Christ, um but I didn’t care, it was so great to have the job, singing the music and it was a great cast, um, the man that was playing Judas, Thomas Young, was a brilliant singer, and I learned a lot hearing him sing every night. That was one of my favorite roles ever.

And um, I have to say Lestat was so much fun because it was creating something brand new, and um, I love Anne Rice and the books so much, so that was fun, you know, creating that.

13:48

And your least favorite role?


Yeah, the one that just popped into my mind was Lieutenant Cable in South Pacific. And um, I have to be honest, that was very difficult for me, and you asked what was similar between me and Bobby, and I felt like, that was, I felt like it was so foreign to me, and you know, it’s a period piece, and a lot of the dialogue about going to war and they used phrases like “going to kill some Jacks” and stuff like that, and I know it was a part and everything, but it was so foreign to me and I was also very young playing that part, and, you know, I’m not a war person, and it was very, that aspect was very difficult for me to wrap my head around, why people would want to go to war, about, you know, talk about killing people, not with glee, kind of like it was not a big deal, that was hard for me.

And that was probably the last time I read a review. Because the reviews were not good, and um, so that was probably one of the last reviews I ever read because I thought, you know what, it’s interfering with my work.

15:25

So are there roles other than that you regret playing? For any reason?


(muffled speaking) That I regret playing. Not that come to mind, I think every- and you know what, Paula, I don’t regret playing Lieutenant Cable because it- you know what I learned from it, I learned not to read reviews and to not get wrapped up in what other people think and to let that get the better of you, so I can’t even say I regret that. I think I’ve learned something from every single show I’ve ever done whether its something that, you know, even if its something that you learn that you never want to do again, you know.

Um, The Red Shoes was a very negative and sad experience because of, um, we had a wonderful director, Susan Schulman, and for political nonsense she was replaced by another director and um, it was a nightmare from that point on and he was a nightmare, um, but I learned from that, I learned what I will never put up with again, I won’t put up with anybody being an abusive kind of, you know, group leader or name-calling or anything like that.

16:58

Is there some dream role out there that you’ve always wanted to play, whether-


Yeah!

-whether you have, or want to in the future?


Yeah. It’s interesting because I think the two roles that I usually talk about, um, I’m past that point in my life, I mean, they’re roles for somebody right out of college or younger, like Tony in West Side Story. And Pippin, Pippin I always thought- I love Stephen Schwartz, um, I love that score and I always wanted to sing that, and Tony in West Side Story also is another one of those roles I think every guy wants to sing. Um, so now I just do them in concerts. (laughs).

17:35

Who would you say- who or what- was the biggest influence on you professionally?


My mom and dad, because, had I not been exposed to theater, um, or you know a Broadway show, I wouldn’t be sitting here, I’d be a vet right now. Which is a blessing and curse, you know, because I, um, I saw these two dogs on the street today (laughs) and the one dog, his back leg was bothering him, and I thought, “aw, if I didn’t sing, I could fix that,” (laughs).

No. Um, but, um, the best- that’s the truthful answer, is that my parents were responsible for my theater education and also were responsible for me, you know, taking piano lessons from the time I was really little and, um, then taking voice lessons as well. Thanks Mom and Dad!

18:50

Okay-
Broadway Damage, how did you get the part?

Well, this is a casting director I’ve auditioned for many times. Um, they were holding auditions for this movie and I was very surprised to even be called in for, you know, like the bad boy role, who turns out to be a hustler, and that was so- I’m trying to think, you know, before that, I played, you know, Raoul and Marius and very ingénue-y, kind of nice, just nice guys. Um, there were three parts for, um, guys my age and there was one part that I felt like that if I were the casting director, I would’ve auditioned for- I forget the character’s name- but the kind of nerdy character ‘cuz that’s how I felt, you know, that I could put on a pair of glasses and be kinda bookworm-y and nerdy.

And then the other guy was kind of the leading man and I wasn’t really that interested in doing that again, since, that was interesting- it really wasn’t up to me what part I was brought in to read for, the casting director (muffled) I’m trying to think, in the chronology of everything, I had also auditioned for Joe Orton’s play at the Dallas Theater Center and I think that was before that movie audition and I think maybe that director remembered me from my reading for the Joe Wharton play, which again was not a leading man, more of an off-beat character, so it was interesting for me to be cast and the bad boy because its so, just so, not me. I don’t feel like the cool person, I never grew up in high school being, you know, the cool guy. You know, I was like, the nerdy musician person. Not the computer club, but music, you know, I played in band and stuff.

So, you know. I auditioned for it and read for it initially and might’ve gotten two, um, I got two callbacks and gone on camera and um, I remember the one thing I did that made me feel like I bad boy. (laughs) This is so stupid- I got one of those fake tattoos and I think I put it- I wore a short-sleeved shirt and I just had it on so the bottom of the tattoo was sticking out, so it wasn’t obvious, you could probably tell it was a fake, but that made me feel like, “ooh, I’m edgy, I’m bad.”

But, the other kind funny thing is- and you might have this in any questions already- but, the fact that I wasn’t, that the guy was a singer, the character was required to sing to songs, but they didn’t plan on hiring anybody who could sing, so they’d already recorded someone else singing these songs, so they were like, “hey, do you mind lip-synching to somebody else,” um and I said “no, let me hear so, I can make sure it doesn’t sound ridiculous,” and the guy that they had hired to sing had a great voice and I didn’t think we sounded so far apart that people would go “that’s bogus.” So it was kind of nice not to have to sing, though I did have to learn how to, um, learn the songs and how to lip-synch them, and that’s the only part of the movie for I have trouble watching, it’s so weird for me to see someone else’s voice come out of my body. That’s a little freaky. Ha, Freaky Friday.

22:36

OK, so nothing really embarrassing or crazy has happened at
Company, but what about other shows? Any funny mishaps?

I think I might’ve told you about the time I was stuck in the angel in Phantom, at the intermission? I didn’t? Oh my god… I think this was back in 1999, when I just did it for a very short time. It was at the very end of Act I, and I’m singing, “you will curse the day you did not do, all that the Phantom asked of you,” and that is where the angel is supposed to start being hydraulically lifted up, so that the Phantom can jump out and reappear somewhere else and make the chandelier go crashing to the floor. Well, something, there’s a glitch in the computer, and I was stuck in the angel and I had to yell, “go!” for the chandelier from there, which meant they couldn’t- the chandelier couldn’t fall because I was in the way. If the chandelier fell, it would’ve hit me and the angel. So that poor audience didn’t get to see the chandelier, and they also got to see me in the angel all through intermission. And it was very funny because people kept waving at me but I was trying to stay in character as the Phantom, so you know, I wasn’t waving back, I would kind of just look at them and give them a dirty look and I tried to stay as low as possible. They had to get one of the crew guys to bring a hand wench and crank me up so finally they were able to get me out of the angel and I was able to go change into the Red Death costume for Act II.

You know, I can’t remember what I’ve told you, we’ve talked about this sort of thing a few times, but I went to kiss Christine one night, my prosthetic lip was very loose, and as I kissed her, my lip adhered to her, so as I pulled away from the kiss, my lip was now stuck to her face. And I think we both laughed our butts off, because that, that was pretty darn funny.

And the only other thing I can think of, which was not funny at the time, but I can look back on it now and laugh, was when I was playing Raoul, I completely forgot my words during, the, um, the Raoul part of Think Of Me. I remember what I sang to this day, I sang, “long ago, it seems so long ago, how young and innocent she was, I do not remember anything but her, Christine.” And the funny part was that Hal Prince’s assistant, Ruthie Mitchell, may she rest in peace, was in the audience that day, taking notes. I saw her at intermission and I asked her, “Ruthie, did you like my new lyric?” and she said, “what are you talking about?” And I said, “didn’t you hear me mess up my words?” and she said, “no.” So it just goes to show you, if you do it with conviction-

(laughs) Phans would notice.


Oh, I’m sure phans would notice, and I’m sure phans did notice, and, I think, had the Internet been as big as it was- as big as it was now, then, I’m sure that would be- “did you hear Hugh Panaro’s dumb words?”

25:52

Of all the roles you’ve played, which one do you have the most in common with?


Um, oh my gosh, I don’t- I’m thinking back into my childhood because I’ve been doing this since like, 12. Um, it wasn’t Frederic in The Sound of Music ‘cuz he was, um, let me think about that one. ‘Cuz I’m trying to think. Part of it is, because as a performer, as I get further along in my craft, I think I’m learning to put more of myself into each character. Was the question actually who I identify with the most?

Yeah.

Um. (pause) God that’s hard, you’re going to have to hit pause and edit.

We can skip it.


Skip it for now, that’s a great question, but right now what’s coming to mind is I don’t know that there’s one, ‘cuz I’m definitely a composite of- there’s a lot of me in Lestat, there’s also a lot of me in Phantom, there’s a lot of me in Bobby, um. Let me brew on that one. Sorry, that’s a bad answer, but.

27: 21

OK, what would be the most memorable incident of your career?

(pause) These are hard questions, Paula!

(laughs) I’m sorry!


Um, of my career. Did you say one of or the most?

The single most.

The single most.

The first thing that comes to mind, something that really stands out.


Um, one thing stands out, um, in my mind, was, um, my last performance of Phantom. Um, for so many reasons, um, number one, I was sick as a dog, and I made it through the show and, um, it was the end of, I think, like, a little over two years of my life, and, I had met a lot of people that the show meant a lot to, whether it be family members, or, if you want to use the term “phans”, people from all walks of life that identified with the show, identified with the Phantom, with his journey and his pain, and I felt like that was a very shared experience with me with a lot of people, and um, so many people came out that night to support me on my last night, and I got so many beautiful flowers and notes. Um, Sandra Joseph made a beautiful curtain speech that really touched me, and um, and I also that I was leaving to go on to start something new, so it was bittersweet, it was sad but also happy, and I felt like I had been there the right amount of time. That’s one moment that really, um, stands out.

Also, another is, one of the early things, getting my Equity card. And that’s a big deal for an actor, moving to New York and not knowing anybody, and buying the trade papers. You know, it’s that chicken in the egg, how do you get an Equity audition without your Equity card, and how do you get your Equity card without an Equity audition, you know? Um, is that an decent answer? Ok.

30:04

Now, about your dog, Soot. Any funny stories?


Pick anything. Um. No, you know, I have to, I’ll go back to Soot, but I have to tell you the funniest story that comes to mind when I think of my dog or dogs. My dog before Soot, his name was Nino, and he was a pitbull-boxer rescue. And he was one of the most magical animals God ever put on the planet. Um, he was about 6 years old when I rescued him, you know, probably from being put down, and um, I was walking him very, very early on, and I was walking in Riverside Park, and there’s a monument and um, there were these little stone benches, and Nino loved to sit on these stone benches because they were very cool. Um, I would brush him, he would get up there, we had our little ritual. He would get up on the bench and I would brush him and you know, he felt all handsome and then we would finish our walk and go home. So, it was one night and it was pretty late and it was summertime. I think there were these like, they were probably like, early twenties, maybe younger, and they were a couple and they were sitting on the same bench that Nino was used to getting his hair brushed on. And I could tell he was like, “Dad they’re sitting on my bench!” And um, they were totally making out. And they were annoyed anybody else was even around, we were, like, cramping their style, but they were totally making out. And, Nino was off the leash, and I wasn’t really paying attention, you know, I was trying to be polite and not to stare at these two people making out, and then the next thing I know, I hear the girl scream! And it turns out, you know, it was summer, so the girl was wearing these little sandals, and Nino decided to go over and lift his leg on this girl’s sandal, which was you know, on his bench, and needless to say, they left and Nino got his bench and got his hair brushed. (laughs) So that’s my favorite dog story.

Um, we’re looking for funny? Soot just amazes me because he’s so much like a person. Um, he was in my Lestat dressing room a lot, and people would, I mean, he had more visitors than I ever did. People would come in and, I remember one day, Jim Stanek and Allison Fischer were giving him, like, a dog massage, and he was on the floor in a state of bliss, and they were rubbing his legs and his ears, and I think that if the theater had caught on fire, he would not have- he was just in heaven.

And um, I can’t think of, he’s very, everything he does is funny just because he’s like a human being, I’m waiting for him to talk to me. Um, so I can’t think of anything super funny, but he was (laughs) he was with me at the benefit in Bucks County, and this benefit, you know, it was held at a farm, so there were llamas, and donkeys, and horses, and he was very funny because he had never seen a llama before, and he was wagging his tail and talking to them, you know, “rrrrrrooooooorrr!” and making like Scooby Doo noises.

That’s my answer for now, I need to think about that. I have to think about two questions. Because I know there’s something really funny he did. There is one thing he did, well, it’s funny to me, he’s really smart because he loves to swim, and um, he is actually, if you put a pool float in the water, he will swim up to the pool float, climb on top of it, and he’ll just sunbathe. And he’ll swim when he gets too hot, and then he’ll climb back up, he does it all by himself, you don’t have to help him, he’s just like a person.

35:02

Ok, one thing everybody wants to know, one thing everybody asks, is your CD. Any news?


The news is that, you know, initially, we were hoping to get things underway while I was on my quote “hiatus” between Lestat San Francisco and New York, but we all went into rehearsals so quickly after that that there was no time. Um, immediately following Lestat, I started the, um, long process of going through music and sorting through songs and, um, I'd say out of, um, out of maybe I'm gonna say thirteen because that's a good number for a CD, I say we have about four or five that I'm really happy with. But it's a much more difficult job picking songs than I ever would've thought or dreamed about. And I'm listening to a lot new songs and I'm going through a lot older songs and seeing if there's new way to treat then and, of course, Company came up and that took me out of the City for six weeks. But, even while I was here in Seattle, I have been doing work over the phone with people from Sony and actually went into the studio here and did a demo.

And, so, it's an ongoing process and I'm really hoping that upon my return to New York, that I can really buckle down and, especially before the holidays hit us, you know, because Thanksgiving's practically here at the time we're doing this, um, well, Halloween and Thanksgiving, um, and then it'll be Christmas. Um, so, uh, I don't have a definitive release date. But I'm hoping that in the next, you know, six weeks or so we can nail down the list of songs. And then, of course, they have to be orchestrated. And then, you know, going into the studio to record them. Then they get mixed and, you know, that's a whole other process doing a CD. At the time that, um, Kris Chenoweth was doing her CD for Sony, we were room-mates...this is a long time ago in California...and I remember she was doing a TV show and flying back and forth to record and then flying to do the photo-shoot and, you know, you have to do your album cover and all that stuff and the liner notes and all that stuff so it's a big deal and you want to do it right. You know I held off, as you know from other talks, I think, I've held off on doing anything like this for many, many years because I thought if I do it, I really want to do something artistic. I didn't want to just take a bunch of, you know, my audition songs or things, you know, song that I love to sing and slap it on a CD and expect people to, you know, to get something out of it, that seemed like more of a vanity project and I really, I love all different kinds of music and I want to, I want do something that, you know, thirty years from now, I can look back on and go, "Oh, you know, I'm really glad I did that." And, you know, with respect to different aspects of my training, you know, at school, and some of my classical roots.

And, so, we're taking our time. Someone...somebody actually said, you, know and I think this was a brilliant quote. Because I was like, "We've got to get going! We've going to get going on the CD! We've got to get going!" And I was really pushing the "Hurry Up, Hurry Up" button. And they said "You took eight months out of your life to work on Lestat and playing Lestat and the role of Lestat. Why would you do anything less for being yourself? You know, Hugh Panaro's CD. This is, this is something that you need to spend, you know, quality time on, not just rushing into it." And I thought, and that made me relax and I was like, "Oh, you know what, that's true!"

39:27

OK, so where do you see yourself in ten years?

Retired! And living on a beach in Hawaii and swimming with the dolphins! You think I’m joking, don’t you? No.

You know what, I have to tell you, Paula, I keep going back to this, but, I mean, I’ll never, music has been a part of music has been a part of my life ever since eleven, well, singing has been a part of my life since then, but music has been a part of my life since, I don’t even know, like, eight years old. You know, my grandmother was a wonderful pianist, and my mother was an aspiring opera singer, and still has a gorgeous voice, um, and you know, I played the organ at church while she sang weddings. So my life has been music since I could pretty much, you know, speak. So that’s never going to go away, I love performing, I love connecting with, you know, as much as I love animals, I love humans beings.

I do have to say I really like the concert, you know, setting where I get to be me and look out at the audience, at the cabaret, where I actually got to see you and talk to you as me instead of being a character with the fourth wall. I think that, I don’t want to rule anything out, I think we’re all on our own little journey here on this crazy planet, and um, but, if I had a daydream, you know, I would love to be in a place where I could adopt like every sheltered dog and have like, an animal sanctuary. In ten years, if I could make something like that happen, you know, the only thing I ever watch on television in Animal Planet, and I see all these places like “Big Cat Rescue” and you know, all the animal rescues with feeding the baby baboons. And you know, that’s so intriguing, intrigues me, you know I always wanted to be a vet until I saw my first show- you know what, maybe I could be like “the sining vet” or something. I don’t know but, that’s, I know in ten years, two things will be, music will always be a huge part of my life, and probably performing, whether it be acting or music or both, and some sort of crazy animal something.

Well, that basically answered the last question, too.


What was the last question?

42 49

(slightly overlapping): Well, it’s just basically anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet.


Yeah, there’s a lot, there’s a lot. You know, when I did my, uh, I don’t know if they have these anymore in high school. They do aptitude tests to see where your interests and your potential abilities may lie and, uh, my two, the things that came up for all my testing, that I was meant to be either a performer or a social worker. And I think they’re kind of connected, because again, performing is interacting with people and I think, in a healthy way, and performing I think provides people with a distraction from uh maybe an intense life and you can lose yourself for a couple of hours in the theater. Um, and I have to be honest, it has always interested me and also because I was a chunky child and I was working with a trainer for a project, actually, and I saw my trainer help some people who had really lost their hope and felt like they were out of shape and could never get it back and I, just through that, I was able to watch how he was able to transform peoples’ lives and make them happy. And you know, I think again, I think performers in general are in the- I don’t want to say the service industry, that’s a weird way of saying it- but most performers that I know want to help out in a larger way and whether that’s, you know, I think we’re all activists to a degree, whether it's animal or political.

Victoria Clark, who won a Tony for Light in the Piazza, we were in the original first national company of Les Miserables together, and I just remember, on like her day off, she would go to a soup kitchen, and I never forgot that. I thought, “what an exemplary human being” and I have to say a lot of actors are interested in a lot more than just performing and that- I have to say I’m proud to be in that profession for that reason alone. Actors get a very selfish reputation but I think along with that they’re very giving and I respect that about them, so. Yeah. laughs

I think that’s it, then.


That’s it? Well we can shut this off then and I’ll think about my questions and we’ll answer them later.

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