Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Second Chances

Surprising as it may seem, 2016 marks the first opportunity in my 25 year career that I have had to reprise a role I have played previously.  And, even more surprisingly, this season it's happening three times!

Cookie Returns!

With Karen L. Robu in "Nice Work"
Music Theatre Wichita invited me to rejoin director Larry Raben and choreographer Peggy Hickey in recreating my performance as Cookie McGee in the joyous "Nice Work If You Can Get It."  Not only one of the most shamelessly enjoyable parts I've played, but the one that paired me last season with the genius of Sally Struthers, and inspired the IRNE folks to give me an award for my work at Ogunquit Playhouse.  I loved the Wichita cast, especially my Duchess there, the fearless Karen L. Robu, and a great time was had by all!

A Talbot!  A Talbot!

As Talbot, Taffety Punk 2016
Hot on the heels of this reprise, my friends at Taffety Punk Theatre Company in DC invited me to play Lord Talbot in this year's Bootleg Shakespeare, "Henry VI, Part One," a rare staging of this early history play, almost never produced on its own, but almost always conflated with the cycle's second and third parts.  It was a wondrous full circle for me with artistic director Marcus Kyd and his partner, Lise Bruneau, as the three of us performed this play as part of the Wars of the Roses cycle at Alabama Shakespeare Festival in 2007, I playing Talbot and four other roles.  It was there that Marcus and Lise conceived their cutting edge theatre company and the concept of Bootleg Shakespeare: taking one of the Bard's lesser performed works, casting it and giving the actors several weeks to memorize their lines... joining together one summer morning at the Folger Theatre and using that one day to sketch out a roadmap for the play... and then presenting one performance, free to the public, having never run through the piece!  I have now done six of these kamikaze theatre projects with Taffety Punk, and it was a joy this month to return to the heroic role of Talbot and bring the wisdom and experience of nine years to my interpretation.

"You Won't Succeed On Broadway..."

As Sir Robin, "Spamalot" First National Tour
And this fall, it pleases me to announce that I will get to return to a role that changed the course of my career and presented me with my most prestigious gig to date: the not-so-brave Sir Robin in "Monty Python's Spamalot."  In two spectacular years on the road with the First National Tour--playing almost 700 performances--bringing laughter to thousands across North America, I had the honor of performing this fantastic part alongside stars Gary Beach, Jonathan Hadary, Richard Chamberlain and John O'Hurley.  Seven years since the tour ended, I am getting the chance to don my green and white motley again for the very first time--and, lo and behold, at my hometown theatre, North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA.  To perform this special role again in the town where I was raised, for family and old friends, is going to be something unforgettable.  "Spamalot" runs September 27 through October 9 at this wonderful theatre in the round, where I last got to play a bucket list role: Max in "The Sound of Music." Thank you, producer Bill Hanney, for inviting me back!