PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Gregg Edelman

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Gregg Edelman
 
Four-time Tony Award nominee Gregg Edelman, starring in the Primary Stages production of A.R. Gurney's Black Tie, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Gregg Edelman performs.
Gregg Edelman performs.

Edelman has appeared on Broadway in Into the Woods (Cinderella's Prince), 1776 (Edward Rutledge), City of Angels (Stine), Passion (Colonel Ricci), Falsettos (Marvin), Cabaret (Clifford Bradshaw), Les Misérables (Javert), Cats (Growltiger), Anna Karenina (Constantine Levin), Wonderful Town (Robert Baker), Anything Goes (Billy Crocker) and A Tale of Two Cities (Dr. Alexandre Manette).

Screen credits include "Little Children," "Spider-Man 2," "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "The Proposal."

Full given name: Gregg Jonathan Edelman
Hometown: Chicago
Zodiac Sign: Virgo but I must have some enormous moon rising in some other house because sometimes I just don't care if my room is clean or my Q-tips are lined up neatly.
What your parents did for a living: My mom was a model and my dad was a lawyer. They did many other things but I'm saving those tidbits for my book.
Current audition song/monologue: Audition? WHERE?!
Special skills: I can learn 20 pages of script overnight.
Skill/talent you wish you had or were better at: I wish I played the piano in public better. I'm pretty good alone but break into cold sweats the moment anyone watches... including the cat.
First Broadway show you ever saw:

Wings with Constance Cummings. It was a towering performance, but she scared the heck out of me when she glared at the crowd during the curtain call. Quite a few seniors had taken the opportunity to loudly siesta during her monologues.  

If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Hard question. There are so many artists and productions that I would have loved to have seen, but two productions that are likely never to be matched are the original Broadway productions of Follies and Pacific Overtures. I feel that I missed something truly great by not seeing those shows.
Favorite showtune of all time:

Really now... it's like trying to pick your favorite child. All right, I'll play your game, Mr. Playbill. For my more mainstream choice I'll go with "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line. For the "road less traveled" choice, I'll pick "Is Anybody There?" from 1776.

Three favorite musicals: The show with the largest heart of all time: She Loves Me.
The coolest show of all time: Dreamgirls.
And because it was my first Broadway musical: Evita.
Stage or screen star of the past you would most love to have performed with: Groucho Marx
The one performance — attended — that you will never forget: Well, one of the the first Broadway musicals I saw was Sweeney Todd. It was all so great, but Len Cariou's performance is still emblazoned into my memory. It was raw and dangerous and powerful. No way I'll ever forget that evening.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Movie music can really start my waterworks. Just ask my wife. At the top of that list is the score to "Field of Dreams." However, opera is a very close second. Pavarotti singing "Nessun Dorma" stops me in my tracks.
MAC or PC? MAAAAC!
Most played song on your iPod: Well, it's an orchestral piece, but I listen to it a lot. Five Variants of "Dives and Lazarus" by Vaughan Williams.
Last book you read: "Washington" by Ron Chernow
Last good movie you saw: "The Social Network"
Some films you consider classics: "The Godfather"
"Citizen Kane"
"Bringing Up Baby"
"Annie Hall"
"Raging Bull"
Must-see TV shows: "CBS Sunday Morning"
"Good Eats"
"Cash Cab"
"Mike and Mike in the Morning"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: I have been known to crawl over broken glass to see Derek Jacobi.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Project Runway" and "Wipeout"
Three favorite cities: Paris, NYC, and my hometown, Chicago
Favorite sport/team/player: Chicago Bears. They've been part of my life ever since I was a boy. Last year, I took my kids to see their first pro football game, Bear vs Vikings at Soldier's Field in Chicago. It was pretty special sharing that with my kids. Every time the Bears scored and my kids started to sing the Bears' fight song, I had to stop myself from bursting into tears. I love the Bears.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: I had a great 8-track recording of music from the TV series, "Hawaii Five-O." I would blast that while sporting around in my orange VW squareback. Very cool.
First stage kiss: I guess that would have been in my high school production of West Side Story. Tony and Maria had some smooching, I believe.

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In one of the more scarring moments from my childhood, my rather unorthodox mom announced to me one day that my stage kiss needed some work, but she would "be willing to give me some pointers." I still don't know what she meant by that.

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: I guess, all the scarring aside, it would still have to be West Side Story.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Doing an imitation of Dean Martin during a third grade recess in front of my friend, Marty Feldman. I killed.
How you got your Equity card: I played Lancelot to David McCallum's King Arthur in Camelot. I was blown away to be acting with the same guy who played Illya Kuryakin on "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." When my brother and I as boys played spies, he would be Napoleon Solo and I would be Illya. Even then I liked the off-beat character rather than the leading man.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: When it was on 45th street, Puleo's II had this great pasta/chicken/wilted salad dish. Tasted great and was ten percent off for actors.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Well, of course, my choice changes as do the seasons. However, if I am pressed, I will have say a perfect Rob Roy... up.
Most embarrassing or spectacular flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: After all these years there have been too many to mention, but suffice to say, the director always seemed to be in the house when they happened. Him or the New York Times. I'm just lucky that way.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I have to say that I need to glance at my script before I go on. If I don't, I am sure to go sky high at some point.
Most challenging role, vocally, you've played: Well, looking back, I did a lot of singing in City of Angels. I guess it would have to be that show.
Worst costume ever: I had some god awful Goat-man costume in the Off-Broadway musical, Reefer Madness. I think they were going for funny, but I never heard anyone laughing.
Worst job you ever had: Well, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but The Shop on Main Street. I had to sing the opening number while "using" an outhouse, if you know what I mean. It went south from there...
Coolest commercial or film gigs That's easy. "Little Children." Kate Winslet was a dream to work with, to hang with, and she gave me free white wine after each day of shooting.
Who would play you in the movie? After all the confessions we shared over the free white wine during "Little Children," it would have to be Kate Winslet.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: I don't know. What's Boyd Gaines doing these days? Seriously, of late I've been thinking that I'd like to play Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What edition? Murderer, murderer, murderer, murderer, pedophile...
Career you would want if not a performer: Architect
Three things you can't live without: My wife, my kids, my Diet Pepsi
"I'll never understand why…" ... people don't try and see the glass half full.
Words of wisdom for aspiring performers? Well, two things, I guess. Never confuse your salary with your income, and don't take a job you don't want to do.
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