Actor, Peter Scolari of "Bosom Buddies" and "Newhart" fame made his mark in musical theatre in A&E's "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off" March 9, and he came to Playbill On-Line March 7 to chat about it. The following is an edited transcript of the evening.
Scolari has appeared in hundreds of television shows, TV movies, feature films and theatrical productions. He is perhaps most memorable in the television comedy "Bosom Buddies," starring opposite Tom Hanks and on "Newhart" for which he received four Emmy nominations for his role as Michael Harris.
Scolari began his acting career as a New York stage actor in 1974 with the Colonnade Theatre Lab in "Reflections" and continued with the Obie Award-winning seven years. Peter Scolari will be featured on A & E in the international hit musical "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off" along with Stephanie Zimbalist of "Remington Steele" fame.
Written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, "Stop the World" is about drive for power and fame. The show traces the life of Littlechap (Peter Scolari) as he goes through school, marriage, business, love, politics and death.
The event was emceed by Playbill On-Line Associate Editor Katia Lundy.Playbill On-Line: This question comes from JJamesk
Question: What is your attraction to doing live theater?
Peter Scolari: Danger. It makes you remember why you got into the business in the first place.
Playbill On-Line: From DBooth347
Question: Dear Peter, How did it feel to star in "Newhart?"
Peter Scolari: "Newhart:" was a family experience for me. Very rare in television indeed.
Playbill On-Line: This comes from Eto16.
Question: Is Peter on the East Coast?
Peter Scolari: We're here with our pal Katia at Playbill's NYC office.
Playbill On-Line: This Q comes from SirKriket
Question: I liked ya better than Hanks in "Bosom Buddies." When are ya going to do a movie?
Peter Scolari: What did you have in mind? Tom is my friend. I am making a small appearance in Tom's feature film directing debut, "That Thing You Do."
Playbill On-Line: This Q's for you from Lunchboxer
Question: Peter -- Did you do any juggling in "Stop the World"? (From Morley!) P.S. Lisa bought me juggling balls for Christmas.
Peter Scolari: I juggled four balls in the prologue and walk a tightrope shortly thereafter.
Playbill On-Line: Twitcj ask
Question: any chance of working with Bob Newhart again?
Peter Scolari: If he asked, I'd come running. I think he is enjoying his near-retirement.
Playbill On-Line: From SeeAHaze
Question: I saw you on Regis and Kathy Lee the other morning, and I never realized what a wonderful singer you are. Have you been singing for a long time?
Peter Scolari: I used to be a living room singer. I've been training for six months with a wonderful teacher.
Playbill On-Line: Jekyll511 wants to know
Question: have you done any musicals on stage before?
Peter Scolari: I did a musical off-Broadway in 1977, adapted from Goldoni's "A Servant of Two Masters." I played a stammerer who stammered in his songs.
Playbill On-Line: This question is from Bilpoz
Question: Who inspired you to be an actor?
Peter Scolari: Robert Morse.
Playbill On-Line: From Lunchboxer
Question: Pete -- would you tell your story about how you started juggling? (The competition with the other actor in some play.) it's a great story.
Peter Scolari: I played a jester in a history comedy in 1976. I dueled with another jester for the king's attention I won for two months straight, until he came out juggling. His name was Tom Tammi, a wonderful actor. I asked him to teach me. He said "maybe next month" and taught me the next day.
Playbill On-Line: Q from DBooth347
Question: What is your favorite sport and team?
Peter Scolari: Hockey...The New York Rangers.
Playbill On-Line: From Bilpoz
Question: Which do you enjoy better theatre or tv
Peter Scolari: I try to make one feel like the other but I guess I'd have to say that you already know the answer...the theater.
Playbill On-Line: From Eto16
Question: Is there one role\character that you would like to
Peter Scolari: When am I gonna get my chance to play Finch in "How to Succeed"?
Playbill On-Line: Maybe soon, you never know. Peter, how did you come to do "Stop the World..."
Peter Scolari: I was asked back in September while filming "Dweebs" and the nice people from Clairol on Broadway invited me. I said yes contingent upon availability and CBS was more than happy to oblige by cancelling the series.
Playbill On-Line: Yikes! This Q's from Twitcj
Question: Do you enjoy working with Stephanie?
Peter Scolari: Yes. Very much.
Playbill On-Line: This is from Kellybelly
Question: I wish I could see more of your work. My VCR is already set to tape "Stop the World.....!"
Peter Scolari: Is it flashing 12:00 over and over again??
Playbill On-Line: She said YES for the past year! Q From Bilpoz
Question: Hi, Pete. What do you think of Tom Hanks' success?
Peter Scolari: It is deserved, marvelous, and I am always happy for him. He is a good friend.
Playbill On-Line: Bilpoz wants to know... what is your favorite movie?
Peter Scolari: My favorite comedy is "Casino Royale". My favorite dramatic film of late is "The Madness of King George."
Question: what has been your most challenging role?
Peter Scolari: I just played it...Littlechap.
Playbill On-Line: Alcienne asks
Question: Did you bronze any of your brassieres from "Bosom Buddies?"
Peter Scolari: Yes I did, but they never fit well again.
Playbill On-Line: Lunchboxer is back with this
Comment: Hey Peter! You're even later than I used to be on table reading day!!!! (It's your "Dweebs" pal, Dave K.)
Peter Scolari: How you doing Davey! I miss you. How's Lisa?
Playbill On-Line: Peter, aren't you doing a tv series for NBC
Peter Scolari: Not that I know of.
PBOLEmcee: "Family Court...?" "Home Court?"
Peter Scolari: You know my career better than I do. I have a reoccurring role with my friend Pamela Reed on her series "Home Court". I almost forgot.
Playbill On-Line: From Joe7475 (thanks Joe)
Question: I think Peter is such a great comic actor, does he remember Greg Jbara ("Victor/Victoria") when he was on "Newhart?"
Peter Scolari: I do remember his name...and his size. But I can't remember the episode at the moment.
Playbill On-Line: How about that, Greg also did a chat with us...last year. Q From Harcort46
Question: I saw you in "Perfect Harmony". Did you enjoy making that movie?
Peter Scolari: Directed by my friend Will MacKenzie, it is one of my all time favorites.
(Katia Lundy): Paigelyn says
Comment: Peter...just FYI, the Rangers are down 3-2 in the
Peter Scolari: I appreciate the update. I'd like to talk with you more about it.
Playbill On-Line: BP's question
Question: Which do you prefer? dramatic parts or comedic parts?
Peter Scolari: I like when the two are confused.
Playbill On-Line: A deep question from Tarapjo
Question: Why do you think we keep looking back to the Seventies and early Eighties, in Entertainment?
Peter Scolari: That's a tough question. It seems as though modern television emulates the best shows of those years. Some day the industry will make shows of a less derivative nature and we will all be better entertained
Question: Pete -- who else is in the cast of "Stop the World?" besides Stephanie Zimbalist? Anyone else we would know?
Peter Scolari: Perhaps not by name, but the talent in the ensemble cast is huge.
Question: You seem to have a different comic sensibility than Newhart. What did you learn from him over the years you worked with him ?
Peter Scolari: I learned how to be a better human being from Mr. Newhart. Perhaps that has equally well influenced my humor.
Playbill On-Line: DBooth347 is back with an update
Comment: Kovelev took a high sticking major in the first period and the Rangers killed it off.
Peter Scolari: I never liked him.
Playbill On-Line: SFPRCO's Q
Question: Why did you move from Weyburn in Westwood?
Peter Scolari: Daytime thieves parked a stolen Cadillac in front of my house and ran up the street brandishing weapons. I'm glad my children were indoors at the time.
Playbill On-Line: On that note, we have to say good-bye to Peter. Our time is up--another chat is scheduled in here. Thanks for your patience folks and thank you Peter! Maybe we can do this again, there are so many more questions.
Peter Scolari: It has been a pleasure and thank you. I'd love to come back.
Playbill On-Line: Good night!
Copyright 1996 Playbill, Inc.