CUE & A: Tony-Nominated My Favorite Year Star Douglas Sills on Jerry Orbach, Talking to Animals and His Hebrew Name

News   CUE & A: Tony-Nominated My Favorite Year Star Douglas Sills on Jerry Orbach, Talking to Animals and His Hebrew Name Douglas Sills, who will star as Alan Swann in York Theatre Company's Dec. 5-7 staging of the 1992 musical My Favorite Year, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Douglas Sills
Douglas Sills

Sills earned a Tony nomination for his performance in the title role of The Scarlet Pimpernel and has also appeared on Broadway as The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.

He has toured with Into the Woods and The Secret Garden and most recently starred as Gomez Addams in the first national touring production of The Addams Family.

Full given name:

Douglas Howard Sills. Although I was Eric for five days, and then Rhoda (that's my mother) seemed to panic that I wouldn't look like an Eric. Whatever that is. She told me many years later that if she had known I was going to look like this, whatever that is, she would've left it. I was as you are now likely, bewildered.

You can also cause call me Chezzy, which is the nickname of my Hebrew name. But don't try that funny CH sound at home without supervision.

Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born in Detroit, Michigan, at Mount Sinai Hospital. And I was raised there for a bit and then in the northwest suburb called Franklin Village, where I grew up across the street from the now famous movie director Sam Raimi.

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He and I and Bruce Campbell and other troublemakers were hellions of the neighborhood. Sam and I would take his mother's homemade pickles door-to-door with the red flyer wagon selling Ma Raimi's pickles for some reasonable sum.

Zodiac Sign: I'm a cancer. But I've had a lot of therapy so many of the peaks and deepest valleys have been reduced a bit in amplitude.
What your parents did/do for a living:

My father was a bootlegger and my mother was a physicist. But their occupations to the outside world were attorney/real estate entrepreneur and mysterious homemaker, respectively.

Siblings:

Larry, who passed away, was a doctor, general and family medicine trained as a DO. Then (in order): Susie (dental hygienist/attorney/philanthropist/mother of four) and Claudia (film production assistant/director/producer/attorney and philanthropist).

Current audition song/monologue:

“If You Don't Like My Peaches, Don't Shake the Tree” from the new musical biopic about Woodrow Wilson. And then the sextet from Lucia Di Lammermoor (I don't have songs at the ready in that way).

Special skills:

I can make a funny Cloverleaf shape with my tongue, I can read children's minds, and I can do the iron cross on a set of gymnastic rings. And I can name every African country with its capital and draw them on a map from scratch.

Something you're REALLY bad at: Interviews, the 21st year of a long-term relationship and walking away from any animal distressed or otherwise without stopping to chat.
First Broadway show you ever saw: I think it was Chicago with Jerry Orbach; however, I did see Fiddler with Zero Mostel on tour at the Fisher Theater in Detroit.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Something with Robert Preston- Music Man… and something with Alec Guinness and Ralph Richardson. I'd love to see Anthony Sher's Richard III. And Eva la Gallienne in anything.
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Curious Incident. And the amazing Picasso show at the Pace Gallery downtown.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Before the Parade Passes By," "Rose's Turn," "The Sadder But Wiser Girl," "Lonely House," "Sarah," "She Loves Me," "Anatevka," "Ragtime"
Some favorite modern musicals: Ragtime, Mormon, Les Miz
Some favorite classic musicals: Fiddler, Music Man, Kiss Me Kate, Forum
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Mad Kahn, Jessica Tandy, Jerry Orbach, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Marilyn Maye, Pavarotti, Ella
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: A Chorus Line
MAC or PC? Pencil
Most played song on your iPod: "My milkshake calls all the boys in the yard…"
Most-visited websites: Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, Snopes and Google News
Last book you read: "Happiness" by Matthieu Ricard
Must-see TV show(s): I don’t have one. I can always find something to watch. Nat Geo, Turner Classic Movies, Animal Planet, PBS...
Last good movie you saw: "Birdman"
Some films you consider classics: "Young Frankenstein," "Maltese Falcon," "Gandhi," "Sense and Sensibility," "The Producers"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Cherry, Rylance, Spacey, McKellen
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Levain cookies and "Family Guy"
Three favorite cities: NYC, Saint Remy, Florence. I love L.A. too.
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