Have Razor, Will Act: Cueball Is Key to Nomination for Chitty's Kudisch

Tony Awards   Have Razor, Will Act: Cueball Is Key to Nomination for Chitty's Kudisch Timing is everything, they say. And so it was for Tony-nominated actor Marc Kudisch, when he auditioned for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang last summer.

At the time, Kudisch—who has been nominated at Best Featured Actor in a Musical—was sporting a shaven head while playing a sinister role in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. "When I auditioned for Chitty, I was bald. This is how they saw me. It's all they knew me as."

A few months later, he was preparing to play Vincent Van Gogh in Michael John LaChiusa and John Strand's The Highest Yellow at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. For that role, Kudisch nursed a full head of hair, as well as a beard and moustache, and that's the coiffure he brought to a fall reading of Chitty.

"They didn't even recognize me," he told. "And they said, 'Oh. You look like too much of a young man to play this role.' And I said, 'You never would have hired me if I'd looked like this when I auditioned, right?'" Kudisch reshaved his dome when it was time to rehearse Chitty.

The actor got a supportive call from another hairless actor the day the nominations were announced: Michael Cerveris, who won a Tony Award in 2004 for playing John Wilkes Booth in Assassins.

"He said, 'See, the bald head works, doesn't it?'"