PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Aspects of Love Star Michael Arden

Cue and A   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Aspects of Love Star Michael Arden
 
Michael Arden - currently starring in the revival of Aspects of Love at London's Menier Chocolate Factory - fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Michael Arden
Michael Arden

The Texas native made his Broadway debut as Tom Sawyer in the 2003 production of Big River in 2003, and more recently he was seen in The Times They Are A-Changing, Twyla Tharp's dance musical based on the music of Bob Dylan.

Other theatrical credits include Swimming in the Shallows, Bare, Ace, God of Vengeance, As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale, Pippin and The Secret Garden. A singer and musician who has toured Europe with Barbra Streisand, Arden is the composer of such works as Easter Rising, As You Like It and Ripley.

Full given name: Michael Jerrod Moore. I changed it to Arden when I joined Equity. I was being confused for making political documentaries.
Hometown: Midland, Texas
Zodiac Sign: Libra. Which apparently means I can’t make up my mind about things. This questionnaire was incredibly difficult because of those damned stars.
Audition song/monologue: I enjoy singing "Desperado." If I have to do a monologue, I like Cassius from Julius Caesar.
Special skills: I can communicate almost fluently in ASL (American Sign Language) and I play the piano. I also can make the sound of a baby crying. It’s uncanny.
First Broadway show ever saw: Master Class with Patti LuPone. It made me know I wanted to act.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? I wish I could have seen West Side Story originally. To hear that music and see that dancing and story for the first time must have been stunning.
Current show you have been recommending to friends: I recently saw The White Guard directed by Howard Davies at the National Theater in London. It was one of the best plays and productions I’ve seen in a long time.
Favorite show tune: I really enjoy “The Beauty Is” from Light in the Piazza. Kelli O’Hara is incredible. As is Adam Guettel.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:

The Actors Fund did a benefit performance of Once on This Island with its original cast shortly after 9/11 at the Winter Garden Theatre. It was one of the most emotional evenings in a theater I have ever attended. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Its message of undying human spirit and the power of love over the threat and reality of death was profound.

Another would be seeing a one-woman play called The Syringa Tree. I remember wandering the city for several hours afterwards crying without end.

MAC or PC? Definitely Apple products all the way. Maybe it’s the marketing campaign, but they’ve hooked me.
Most played song on your iPod: At the moment, “Little Secrets” by a band called Passion Pit. I can walk from my door to my stage door in the time it takes to play. It makes me smile and gets my energy up for the show.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Every time I listen to the end of Once on This Island I get a bit emotional. “Why We Tell The Story.” I also get incredibly emotional listening to "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland.
Web obsession: I read Huffington Post as if I am a shareholder. The iPhone app is pretty great as well. (Again... Apple has me hooked.)

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Where else can you read about World Politics as well as Mel Gibson’s foot-buffet all in one place?

Last book you read: In the process of reading “Sidhhartha”
Must-see TV show: “Summer Heights High” and its companion show “We Can Be Heroes.” Creator/actor/genius Chris Lilley is a revelation.
Last good movie you saw:

“Exit Through The Gift Shop.” It’s an incredibly provoking as well as hysterically funny documentary made by the elusive street artist, Banksy. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It begins as a documentary being made about him, and he ends up hi-jacking the camera and turning the tables on the filmmaker. Incredibly unique and leaves you thinking about the nature of art vs. commerce.

Favorite team/athlete: I think Rafael Nadal is pretty spectacular. I have a feeling he might be part animal.
Performers you would drop everything to go see:

Fiona Shaw (who I recently got to see in London Assurance at the National alongside the brilliant Simon Russell Beale). I saw her four times in Medea, both at BAM and on Broadway. That’s a lot of dead kids. She was also fantastic buried in dirt in Happy Days.

Pop culture guilty pleasure: Lady Gaga. Although she may transcend “pop.” By saying that, I acknowledge the fact that I am a full blown fan.
Three favorite cities: New York, London, Berlin
First CD/Tape/LP you owned "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast" film soundtracks. I wore them out.
First stage kiss: If I recall correctly, it occurred during a middle school production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in Midland, Texas. I kissed one of the seven, though I can’t quite remember which Bride.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child: The first real role I ever had was Colin in The Secret Garden. I’ll never forget it. Incredible music and story. It was a treat to do it again in concert a few years back. I will always hold that show close to my heart.
How you got your Equity card: I replaced someone right before the opening of Once in a Lifetime, directed by Michael Greif, at the Williamstown Theater Festival. It was between my first and second year at Juilliard.
Favorite post-show meal: The meatloaf at Joe Allen’s is incredible. Plus, I get to look at a poster of The Times, They Are A-Changin’ whilst I eat.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Nothing beats Iced Sweet Tea... I suppose that’s the Texas in me.
Worst onstage mishap:

I completely went blank on my lines during a performance of the show Ace at the Old Globe in San Diego. I was supposed to make a very important bet with another character which was integral to the plot of the show. When I finally managed to get something out of my mouth, it was the complete opposite wager I was supposed to be making, leaving the other actor onstage with me with a look on his face of complete confusion.

He finally nodded his head and said, “Okaaay.” I have a feeling the audience was left in his same boat for much of the rest of the show.

Pre-show rituals: Before every show I give myself an Alexander (Technique) self-lesson on the stage floor. It’s a time to connect with the stage I’m about to be on for the evening and re-tune my body.
Worst costume ever: It may have been a costume for As You Like It I wore in high school. I was playing Oliver, the evil brother and somehow ended up in a completely “pleather” riding suit... complete with riding crop. I’ve attempted to have all photos destroyed.
Favorite junk food: Ice cream. If we are being specific, Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Crunch is pretty badass.
Worst job you ever had: Moving office furniture in the dead of summer. But the company was great. Friends can make any job fun.
TV or commercial gig you most enjoyed: Possibly the most recent movie I finished, "Source Code," with director Duncan Jones. I got to have some really incredible special effects moments, and working with Jake Gyllenhaal is a dream.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: I would absolutely love to play Prince Hal in Henry IV parts 1 and 2. And I might as well make it a trilogy and play Henry V.
Leading lady role you wish you could play: I think I would make a very good Rosalind in As You Like It.
Person, living or dead, you'd most like to meet: Probably my father. I never had the chance to know him before he died.
Three things you can't live without: My family, friends and music.
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