PLAYBILL ON-LINE'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with Andrew McCarthy

PLAYBILL ON-LINE'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with Andrew McCarthy Andrew McCarthy impressed a generation of filmgoers in the 1980's as a member of the "Brat Pack" (a label of which he abhors the media's use), starring in such films as "Pretty in Pink," "St. Elmo's Fire," "Less Than Zero" and "Mannequin." 1999, however, finds him busy in the theatre, having played James Tyrone, Jr. in Hartford Stage's revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night with Ellen Burstyn and stepping into Broadway's Side Man, replacing Scott Wolf as Clifford, the play's narrator and estranged son of jazz trumpeter Gene (Tony winner Frank Wood [see previous PBOL Brief Encounter).

Andrew McCarthy impressed a generation of filmgoers in the 1980's as a member of the "Brat Pack" (a label of which he abhors the media's use), starring in such films as "Pretty in Pink," "St. Elmo's Fire," "Less Than Zero" and "Mannequin." 1999, however, finds him busy in the theatre, having played James Tyrone, Jr. in Hartford Stage's revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night with Ellen Burstyn and stepping into Broadway's Side Man, replacing Scott Wolf as Clifford, the play's narrator and estranged son of jazz trumpeter Gene (Tony winner Frank Wood [see previous PBOL Brief Encounter).

Playbill On-Line: Is there anyone in theatre today that you particularly admire or would like to work with?
Andrew McCarthy: I would love to do a play with Julie Harris. I adore Julie. You know, if Al Pacino wanted me to do a play, I would say "Okay, Al."

PBOL: Did you ever have anything on your resume you couldn't wait to get off of it?
AM: Oh, yeah. Occasionally, they show up on cable. Several of them.

PBOL: Anything specific?
AM: Yes, but I can't tell you! (Laughs) There are several of them. I have done projects that have never even come near my resume. I knew before I started them that I wouldn't put them on my resume.

PBOL: Has something embarrassing, strange or amusing ever happened to you on stage?
AM: I often forget to zipper my fly, so I walk out onstage with my fly down. I'm afraid I'll have to go to the bathroom out there, so I go right before I go out all the time and I often forget to zipper my fly. I often check it on stage actually. I just suddenly move my hand over to check and see. PBOL: Has the "Brat Pack" fame been a positive or negative experience for you?
AM: From the people, it's a very positive experience. From the media, it's been a very limiting, stigmatizing one. But from the people who were affected by these movies, it's been lovely -- sort of warm -- and often they say, "Remember when you said so-and-so -- it changed my life!"

PBOL: Why did you want to join Side Man as Clifford?
AM: I had seen the play a few times before, actually. I just thought it was a beautiful play, a wonderful play. I love that theme -- the father-son alienation and reconciliation kind of thing. I think that's a great American theme. I'm very well suited to the part, I think. There are a lot of similar characteristics that I have that Warren has put into Clifford.

PBOL: Was it intimidating joining this ensemble cast that has mostly been together for a year and a half now?
AM: Only in the obvious way it would be hard with a new person -- there's new rhythms and everything. But they've been really great. They are just so happy to be there. They love the play and they love doing the play, so they want to create whatever will make the play still be wonderful. So, they're really welcoming. They're really nice people. I've been on shows where if this were a different group of people, it would be different. You know, you've been there since the beginning and you wish you weren't. You know -- some of those [resume] things we weren't talking about before.

PBOL: Do you have a dream role?
AM: I would love another pass at Long Day's Journey in a couple of years. I'd like to do Glass Menagerie and a couple other plays that I can think of.

PBOL: Would you like to do Jamey again?
AM: Yeah, yeah. I would love to do Edmund, but I'm getting a little long in the tooth, you know?

-- By Christine Ehren