How did you get started in theatre?
In first grade I was given the male lead in a production of The King of Hearts.I played said King and it was my touching first line, "Where are the tarts? They should have been here at noon!" that was most memorable. I am happy to report that since that performance I have rarely been without a tart at noon.
What was the first show you ever saw?
The first Broadway show that I can remember seeing was Fiddler on the Roof in the mid 1960's. My grandfather took me to see it because his cousin, the opera singer Jan Peerce, had taken over from Herschel Bernardi who had taken over from Zero Mostel. I remember going backstage with my grandfather, thoroughly amazed....that a man could be named Jan.
What is your position on a production?
I prefer to be, what I laughingly like to call, the director.
Did you go to school to learn what you do?
I went to Colgate University where I studied Drama and directing. I also studied briefly with Stella Adler in NY in her Script Interpretation class. I also studied briefly in London with Euan Smith, a director at the Royal Shakespeare Company...but your question, "Did you go to school to learn what you do?"...In my last production I had Caz Marino hidden inside a garment bag, while Gary Milenko played a drunk Rabbi who lost his pants, the only witness to the walking garment bag, while Howie Orlick in a backwards wig square danced with Scott Hofer...The answer to your
question: NO...Stella Adler taught none of this.
What has been your favorite show to work on?
Falsettos at Studio Theater...Nothing in my life has ever made me feel so gratified. The production accomplished everything we wanted it to do every single night.
What motivates you to keep doing what you're doing?
I just took a year off from theatre. What motivates me to keep doing that? I don't like to miss Fear Factor.
How do you feel about pre-casting?
I suppose I feel the same way most actors do: I like it a lot when I'm pre-cast. I hate its guts when someone else is pre-cast...Actually, for a variety of reasons, it is sometimes necessary or desirable.How could I possibly have done What the Rabbi Saw without pre-casting Caz Marino as the walking garment bag?
I strongly believe that it should be made clear in advance when a director has pre-cast certain roles, however. I think that goes without saying.
What was your worst theater experience?
I don't know where to begin; everything has been so very bad. Oh, I imgine it was my second show for the BroadHollow Theater back twelve years ago. It was I'll Be Back Before Midnight. Unfortunately, the lights were back before the dead body got back into place at the start of the second act. The poor dead actress had been locked backstage when the cabin door inadvertently jammed. So as the lights came up there was the lovely corpse marching across the stage floor, arranging herself in full view of the patrons. The audience had the time of its life; I was slamming my head against the wall.
Why do you work at the theatres that you do?
I prefer to work only at theatres that have low enough standards to hire me.
Do you think Long Island theatre will continue to grow?
I know what answer you would like...but I don't see how. I would be very happy to find that I'm wrong, but the audiences are quite distinctly white-haired. Only if that changes, and I'm not talking about one of Bobby Siegfried's crackpot dye jobs, will LI Theatre continue to grow. The fact that 700 people subscribe to this newsletter is a good sign, however.
What brings you the greatest joy?
Let's see, should I share that with 700 of my closest friends?
What irks you?
Truthfully, I haven't had a good irking in quite a while.
If you won lotto tomorrow you would...
Alert the IRS immediately, wouldn't you?
Is it true you would rather be rich than good looking?
I would rather be Mr. Dolce, because then I could be Rich and good-looking.
Assuming that there is a heaven, what do you want to hear when you get there?
"David, look to your right. All your former pets are running over to greet you!"