Kevin McGuire of Broadway's Les Miserables appeared in a Playbill On-Line chat April 7. McGuire returns to the Broadway company of Les Miz after having played Archibald Cravin the national tour of The Secret Garden. He currently plays Claquesous but has portrayed practically all of the major characters from Jean Valjean to Thenardier in the hit musical. Off-Broadway, he has starred in Hamlet, The Seagull and Forbidden Broadway to name a few.
The chat was moderated by Playbill On-Line Associate Editor Katia Lundy. An edited transcript follows.
Playbill On-Line: Hi Kevin, Welcome, welcome.
Kevin McGuire: Hi Katia, Thanks for having me. This is my first time On-Line so please be gentle.
Playbill On-Line: Don't worry, we'll be extra gentle with you! Kevin McGuire: O.K. Thank you. It's been a long week spinning around in the dark.
Playbill On-Line: We have some really big fans of "Les Mis" are you ready to start taking Q's?
Kevin McGuire: Absolutely. Can't wait.
Playbill On-Line: This Questions comes from IM JVJ
Question: What is your opinion on actors such as Marsh Hanson who like to laugh and giggle on stage during Eponine's death? I think its disgraceful and I would like to commend you on being 100% into your performances!
Kevin McGuire: In a show that is three and 1/2 hours long it is difficult to maintain 100 0/0 connection. I find the company to be extremely committed to each performance and proud to be in ""Les Mis."
Playbill On-Line: The next question up comes from LMBerrios
Question: How did you get started in acting?
Kevin McGuire: I began acting in sixth grade in a production of Arsenic and Old Lace in a Catholic School in upstate New York. At nineteen, I went to London and studied for one year at RADA. I then spent three summers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Circle in the Square and with Group 9 at Juilliard. I received my Equity Card in 1980 and have been working ever since.
Playbill On-Line: This question is from GoodyGa
Question: What draws you to "Les Mis."
Kevin McGuire: The first time I saw "Les Mis" at the Broadway Theatre I could barely walk home. I was overwhelmed as I had not done a lot of singing, the next day I made an appointment with Bill Reed, a vocal coach and started lessons. I wanted to be a part of this show.
Playbill On-Line: This Q's comes from LMBerrios
Question: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming an actress?
Kevin McGuire: Find passionate and compassionate teachers. If you are interested in musicals take acting lessons as well as singing lessons. In this day of serious musicals I think acting ability and technique separate the "men from the boys", so to speak.
Playbill On-Line: For those of you who just tuned in, we are chatting with Kevin McGuire of ""Les Mis""
Playbill On-Line: To send your question to the speaker, click on the Interact icon, then use the Ask a Question option.
Playbill On-Line: This comes from Eponine 0
Question: What is it like performing in such a great play everyday(except Mondays)?
Kevin McGuire: It's is a difficult show to maintain. Both vocally and emotionally. Sometimes you want to do a tap dance and smile but...you can't. Seeing people in the audience so moved is a great inspiration.
Playbill On-Line: This q comes from Clvnhbs
Question: Hi, how do you remain so interested and upbeat EVERY DAY on doing the same show?
Kevin McGuire: First of all it's my job and what I am trained to do. I often think of my first experience of seeing a Broadway show and how inspired I was and sometimes I think maybe someone out there needs to be inspired.
Playbill On-Line: IM JVJ is back with this
Question: How many times have you played JVJ??
Kevin McGuire: Mostly I played the part in San Francisco. I think altogether 250 times.
Playbill On-Line: This Q's from Nfarsi
Question: Have you been approached my any Hollywood agents? Any movie offers?
Kevin McGuire: NO! Why are you one?????
Playbill On-Line: Q from NJ24601
Question: How old are the actors who play Gavroche?
Kevin McGuire: Between the ages of 8-11. It's really based on their height not necessarily their age.
Playbill On-Line: From Rgunnar25
Question: How long does it take to get all the equipment and props taken down after a performance?
Kevin McGuire: First, I am currently in the Broadway Company so props or sets are not taken down. However, on the road they break down the set weekly and it can take roughly around eight hours to break the set.
Playbill On-Line: From KBPhantom
Question: Have you ever worked on any Canadian stages, or have any plans to?
Kevin McGuire: Yes, I did "Secret Garden" in Toronto for eight weeks and in Vancouver. I plan to start rehearsals for the new musical of "Jane Eyre" directed by John Caird ("Les Mis") in September in Toronto to open at the Royal Alex.
Playbill On-Line: JVJ has this to say
Comment: First I would like to say that you were excellent as JVJ
Kevin McGuire: Thank you so much.
Playbill On-Line: From Rgosh
Question: Kevin, it's Rory from Arizona. What's your favorite role you've played in "Les Mis"?
Kevin McGuire: Hi Rory! Happy Birthday. So glad you could be with us. How's Mom! My favorite role is Thenardier. I love to get laughs and always have felt that comedy is one of acting's greatest challenges and so much fun. Thanks for your question.
Playbill On-Line: Eponine O asks
Question: What is the atmosphere backstage between scenes? --Ellen
Kevin McGuire: The choreography backstage is complicated as the scenes appearing on stage. Even though everyone is very busy with numerous changes we all have time to laugh and support each other (in a really beautiful sort of way).
Playbill On-Line: This Q's from TBITWeee
Question: What was it like working on "Secret Garden" with Anne Runolfson?
Kevin McGuire: Anne is a huge talent. She has one of the most amazing and wonderful voices in the business. She is delightful to work with. We had a great connection. We continually tried to find new things and after all it's difficult to have a relationship with someone who's been dead for ten years and the other with a hump on his back. But somehow we made it work.
Playbill On-Line: From Eponine: How do they audition for "Les Mis" and is it an open audition?
Kevin McGuire: Sometimes it's an open audition. Often, it's agent submissions. The voice type is very important. As well as the physical work.
Playbill On-Line: Kevin, I heard through the grapevines that you have a wonderful music project in the works. Tell us about it.
Kevin McGuire: Yes, I've produced a CD of Matt Sklar's song: "Remember". We had 46 Broadway musicians volunteer and 28 singers. The proceeds go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. The CD is available for $25.00 dollars. They will be available as of Tuesday, April 9th. You can send a check to: "Les Miserables, 250 West 46th Street, NY, NY 10016.
Playbill On-Line: I see many, many of you have just tuned in. Just to fill you in, we are chatting with "Les Mis" star Kevin McGuire.
Playbill On-Line: Back to the Questions. From DramaDoll
Question: How much rehearsal time is put in before the opening of a show?
Kevin McGuire: For "Les Mis", we had seven weeks of rehearsal and two weeks of previews. A typical day was 10:00-6:00 PM. A six day week.
Playbill On-Line: R2th asks: Were you in the 10th anniversary concert they recorded in London?
Kevin McGuire: No, but I saw the performance and found it astounding. We will be doing something similar in this country for our ten year anniversary in March of '97.
Playbill On-Line: From Baleigh12
Question: Kevin, I talked to you after the show on Friday, I was wondering if you still get nervous before the show?
Kevin McGuire: Not really. However if someone I know is in the audience or if I'm doing Thenardier I still feel a pang occasionally.
Playbill On-Line: This question is from Springroc
Question: Does "Les Mis" have a fan club and newsletter?
Kevin McGuire: Yes, It's called the "Barricade." I'm not sure how to get in touch with it. Write the theatre at 250 West 46th Street, NY, NY 10016 and they can direct you.
Playbill On-Line: From Eponine
Question: Of the 4 parts you perform every night who is your favorite the Bishop, the Pimp, Fauchelevnt, or Claquesous?
Kevin McGuire: I've always loved the Bishop. It is a turning point in JVJ's life. It's about redemption and forgiveness. It's the first scene in the play and needs to set the tone of JVJ's struggle.
Playbill On-Line: Q from PointGuar
Question: What is the most dramatic scene for you to play?
Kevin McGuire: The Barricade. We you are really involved and in the story it can be overwhelming. When the students were rioting in Beijing I often thought of the comparisons.
Playbill On-Line: From Marius, I know you answered this q but could you answer again for the latecomers?
Question: Do they have anything planned for the 10th anniversary of the Broadway production?
Kevin McGuire: Yes. there will be a huge concert planned in Central Park. With the NY Philharmonic and it will be an amazing experience.
Playbill On-Line: This Q's from Sniff8667
Question: Hello Kevin! I just wanted to ask you how long you have been in "The Biz," and how long that it has taken you to get your first break? I am an actress, and a performer, and I would just like to know how long it took you.
Kevin McGuire: I have been a professional actor for 16 years. The first 6 years were slow, doing regional theatre, The Acting Company, etc. But the last ten years have been very exciting and busy. My big break was the National Tour of "Les Mis" in 1987.
Playbill On-Line: From BathThong
Question: During a show, you do not spend all of your time on the stage. What do you do while you were off stage? Read? Watch the OJ trial? Do crossword puzzles? What?
Kevin McGuire: I'm off stage very little time. I have twenty costume changes and it generally takes up the whole three hours and twenty minutes.
Playbill On-Line: Q from BP SprtFa
Question: What is your favorite song in "Les Miserables?"
Kevin McGuire: "I Dreamed A Dream." Because I never had to sing it.
Playbill On-Line: We have time for one more question and than we have to say farewell. This Q is from LOL in LA
Question: Will Kevin be in the March "97 show in the US?
Kevin McGuire: I plan to be working in Toronto in "Jane
Kevin McGuire: Eyre" but it is scheduled for Broadway in April of '97. So...perhaps I could get time off for the concert. That would be great!!!
Playbill On-Line: Thanks Kevin. I hope you had a good time. Remind the folks again when your CD comes out
Kevin McGuire: This Tuesday, April 9th. It involves the voices of the whole company of "Les Mis" and it is an astounding sound.
Playbill On-Line: Thanks again Kevin, I hope you can come back and do this again. There are a lot of Q's remaining in the Q Bin, but unfortunately, we are out of time.
Kevin McGuire: Thank you so much. Please ask me again.
Playbill On-Line: Will do. The "Les Mis" Club meets every Saturday 10-midnight in the Playbill On-Line Chat Room. Keyword: Playbill. Join in!
Copyright 1996 Playbill, Inc.