Where are you from? Adrian, Michigan
Broadway credits: Brooklyn - The Musical, The Philanthropist, Bonnie & Clyde, Disney’s Newsies, and Jekyll & Hyde
How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? The director called me first thing in the morning before press made it known across town. He wanted to be the one to tell me because he knew how excited I’d be with it being my first Broadway production. As I recall, I squealed and knocked my coffee cup over.
What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? The Gypsy Robe Ceremony. While light-hearted, superstitious and more than a little goofy on the surface, to me, it represents the incredible continuity and legacy of our community. Like the robes themselves, “Broadway” is a messy, colorful collective of people and skills – vibrant, seemingly cobbled together, always building on itself and perpetually being added to. Every time I’ve participated in the ceremony, the hair stands up on the back of my neck and I get a little weepy – it quite literally feels like you’re adding to history.
Theatre is ephemeral; even the longest running shows will eventually close. Sets will be scrapped, costumes will be sold, and recordings, photos and reviews will pretty much be all that remain. Except for this robe. For that brief moment – only a few minutes before the curtain goes up – an entire cast drops what they’re doing, sets aside the pretty important things they are thinking about and getting ready for, and launches the luck of their production with the quirkiest and most unlikely ceremony ever.
When I see a retired robe, I think of the sheer number of Broadway folks, show to show, who literally touched it and enacted this ritual at a moment of unparalleled excitement before their show began. As ridiculous as I likely sound, I believe there is power in that; it strikes me as an oddly fitting way to document the history and spirit of what Broadway is at it’s very best.
What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? Old Broadway theaters that either no longer exist or have been repurposed; the history of many of these incredible places that now one can only read about.
What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Spending time outdoors and outside of Manhattan.
If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… Pope Francis.
If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... I’m still thinking about this one…
To be successful in this business, it takes… Levity and flexibility. In that order. Then happenstance and maybe talent (but to what degree on the latter I’m not so sure.)
Tell us a secret. I love the smell of Alberto V05 Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks Shampoo. Really love it. It’s like $1.37 for a gallon and it smells like a Strawberry Shortcake doll farted in your face. But I’m embarrassed to have the big, pink, not-been-updated-since-1983 bottles sitting out in my shower, so I decant the precious berry stink into a more-butch, empty bottle of shampoo for men. I feel like I’m closeting my hair product.
OR… Secret #2: I sincerely hate, hate the nomenclature “artist.”