When was your first Esther’s Follies show? What do you remember about it?
October, 2004. I don't remember very much, as I was very nervous and a little disoriented (I had always been accustomed to longer rehearsal periods). Here is the only particular instance I remember:I had to come down on a rope from the fly system to make an appearance as the Mountain Dew "Do the Dew!" guy, and I was having some sort of trouble getting settled into position to come down. I came down on cue and A O K, but I remember making such a nervous fuss up there that I noticed a few people in the first few rows pointing.
What do you do for the group? Your favorite character(s)?
Like everyone in the show, I do whatever is needed of me. I pull curtains, I do window gags, I sing, I walk on stilts, I change costumes like there's no tomorrow. As of this writing, my favorite things to do in the show are:
1) playing Ray's over-the-top assistant Tomas.It's a ridiculous costume, and I like making use of my tragic "Smell Here" tattoo.
2) It's a very minor appearance, but in Ray's "FRANK AND LUCKY" routine I make a few entrances to assist, and appear at the end to clap and point at Ray. I find this greatly enjoyable, as I'm changing costume by degree as the routine progresses. I also just like being a little helpful toady.
3) 6th Street Boys. There's something about all of us fellas being together...
What actor or actress inspired you growing up?
Buster Keaton, Woody Allen, and when I was very young I was pretty into Bobcat Goldthwait. At age 8, I thought he was incredible in "Hot to Trot" with John Candy as the voice of his horse.
Favorite Esther’s Moment onstage or off
It turned out to be a horrible experience, but I was initially just exhilarated by the fact that I was taking an audience member I'd just met home with me.
How has living in Austin shaped you?
Austin has been incredibly kind to me. It's allowed me to do a lot of the kind of work that I want to do with a considerable amount of success. For the past ten years, I've run a theatre company (www.rubberrep.org
), and the openness of Austin audiences has been great. Many times we thought that we were pushing things too far (even to the point where we might get in some sort of legal trouble), but the work has been embraced...
Where do you go when you aren’t working at Esther's?
Currently, I try to stay in my room as much as possible. I mainly venture out to act as a spectator...at the theatre, at the movies, at the opera at the movies.
I do love Jumpoline Park and public, chlorinated pools. I'm entering a period where I'll have other rehearsals. I'm in the Rude Mechanicals' re-creation of Dionysus in 69 that will have a brief engagement off-Broadway in November. http://www.newyorklivearts.org/event/dionysus_in_69
I'm also working on a new show using the songs of Austin legend Dick Price (www.dickprice.com
) and featuring the talents of (former-Esther's pianist) Lyova Rosanoff, among others.