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Herakles

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Arthur Bartow
March 21, 2013

What is your job on this show?
actor.

What is your show about?
HERAKLES is about what it is to be a heroic warrior and the fragile wall between heroism and madness.

What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
I acted for 25 years before becoming Chair of NYU's Tisch Undergraduate Department. Now, after retiring from NYU, I am able to write, travel, and keep up the very active careers of my former students.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I began in musical theatre with such shows as HELLO DOLLY with Betty Grable in Las Vegas, tours with Ethel Merman in CALL ME MADAM, Shirley Jones in ON A CLEAR DAY, Robert Preston in BEN FRANKLIN IN PARIS (what a true leading actor he was). In my later years I've been able to transition to classical plays partly because of their vocal requirements but mainly because I should always have performed in this kind of work.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
HERAKLES, in the way that Peter Meineck has translated it, is extremely current and leads to extended conversations about the ethics of war and what returning vets have gone through and what they bring home with them.

Who are your heroes?
There are so many great actors and human beings in our world. The best often are not the ones who are most celebrated. In my own past I owe most to my teacher Dame Eva Turner, England's great dramatic soprano who I had the extraordinary luck of the gods to study with for five years. Her work ethic, her technique, her humanity have stayed with me all my life and I am deeply indebted to her. There have been others, like the musical director Jack Lee, who have continued where Eva left off. I am a lucky man to have encountered them.