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The Henrietta

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Blaine Smith
May 27, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor.

What is your show about?
It is a farcical comedy about a wealthy Wall Street family that plots and conspires against each other in matters of love and finance.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I can remember being captivated by the touring performances that would come to my elementary school. We'd all be sitting on the floor of the gymnasium and for that hour, I was mesmerized. Then in the sixth grade, I was selected by my teacher to be in a little play to be put on for the PTA. I was the Umbrella Man and I think I had two lines, "Umbrellas, umbrellas, umbrellas for sale!" that I said once at the beginning and once at the end of the play. As I stepped out on the stage, I completely blanked on my line, not from stage fright, but from wonder. But I just started ad-libbing with the mothers in the audience and getting lots of laughs. That was it; I was hooked.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I play villains a lot which I really enjoy. I've played Satan a couple of times in THE APPLE TREE and THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT. I've also played Judas Iscariot in GODSPELL. One of my favorite villains was Don John in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. But I also loved playing nicer guys like Jim, the Gentleman Caller in THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Lysander in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Henry Carr in TRAVESTIES and Fluellen in HENRY V.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
My character, Bertie, excited me when I first read the script. He has such a wonderful sweetness and innocence about him that he maintains throughout the entire piece. I thought he would be a fun challenge. He's optimistic and even when things don't turn out his way exactly, he finds a smile and another way. Plus, I thought Bertie's scenes were some of the funniest in the play. I just hope I'm doing them justice.

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
I think Bugs Bunny would definitely love our show. Bugs is many things: zany, shrewd, hilarious, energetic with just enough bite to be funny but not too much to be mean. Bugs Bunny has a direct relationship to the audience. He knows they're there and he uses that. Asides to the audience are big part of our show. Each character has a different relationship to our audience but we know they're there when we need them.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
It depends on if it's my personal money or if I'm spending someone else's funds. If it was my millions, I would give significant endowments to my high school theatre department, my undergraduate theatre department and my graduate program. I would also give smaller gifts to companies I've worked for. These are the places I was taught and inspired and encouraged and given opportunities; and I think it's important that my gifts could help do that for others. Then I would selfishly invest in my own dream vanity production where I could afford to hire personal heroes and professional inspirations to do whatever production I wanted and run on Broadway for a little while. If it's someone else's millions, I would love to create an endowment for theatre to develop new talents and new ideas and promote them while also giving the classics their fair share of support. It would be great to give financial support based on the integrity and quality of a production rather than what stars are in it or what old movie was turned into a juke-box musical because it's easier to sell a known product than unknown.