A MAC OF ALL TRADES
On July 20 Wicked welcomes a New Kid to the block: Pop superstar Joey McIntyre makes his Broadway debut as Fiyero, the young guy who’s bewitched by Elphaba. The former New Kid on the Block, who’s sold millions of records, will be in Wicked through mid-January, but does he have "the right stuff" for the Great White Way? To quote a NKOTB hit, "he’s got it," says Stephen Schwartz, Wicked’s wonderful whiz of a composer: "Joey did a great job when he took over in my son Scott [Schwartz’s] show tick, tick … BOOM!, and I’m confident he’ll do just as well as Fiyero. He’s very charming, very musical and a much better actor than people who just know him from his pop-group days may realize."
Besides his N.Y. stage debut in tick, tick … BOOM! in 2001, McIntyre appeared in the Reprise! concert of Babes in Arms in L.A. and did a reading of Schwartz’s The Baker’s Wife with Richard Chamberlain and Kerry O’Malley. The boyish singer-songwriter also stars in the film of The Fantasticks (1995) and the movie of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding (2004). Plus, he was on TV’s "Boston Public" and just put out a stellar new solo album, "8:09," produced and co-written with Emanuel Kiriakou. Contrary to the title of one of his most fun and infectious tunes, the 5-foot-10 heartthrob isn’t content to "Stay the Same." Now 31 and married to Barrett, a blonde with "Cover Girl" looks, he hopes to have kids "in another year or two."
Question: Congrats on getting cast in Wicked? How’s it feel?
Joey McIntyre: Thrilling. I grew up doing community theatre [in Boston], and my whole family was involved. My sister Carol sorta got me involved with theatre. I sang my first song onstage with her: "I’d Do Anything" from Oliver! She was Nancy and I was Oliver. She was 16 and I was 6. Carol’s been raving and raving about Wicked, so when I got cast as Fiyero, she flipped out. To make my Broadway debut in a show that’s so successful and so cool, and to be singing with Tony winners [like Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel] is pretty ridiculous. I’m pinching myself. I’m working with Stephen Schwartz and Joe Mantello, and it’s so awesome.
Q: What’s your take on Fiyero?
McIntyre: I’m still trying to figure him out. He’s got a great journey. He starts off as a party boy who’s very shallow, but is he detached because he’s in pain or because he’s privileged? Elphaba calls him on it and knows he’s really hurt inside, and Fiyero realizes she sees something in him nobody else sees.
Q: In Wicked, you’re reunited with Joey Grey, who played your father-in-law in The Fantasticks. What do you recall about him?
McIntyre: It was my first movie, and he was such a pro. I remember being able to go to his trailer and chat about anything. I was 21 and blabbing about what I wanted to do, and he said everything would work out. Q: And what about the movie of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding? There’s no release date yet, but it just got a rave review in Variety.
McIntyre: It was a kamikaze shoot, but the cast really stuck together. I played Tony, who tries to keep it altogether, while all the mayhem is going on.
Q: Was Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding anything like your own?
McIntyre: Oh, no! But it was a blast. We had about 230 people at the Plaza in New York, so that was beautiful. Everyone was waiting for [Barrett and me] to do a slow number for our first wedding song, and my wife came through the doors to "Like a Virgin." And then I came out, and we did this whole choreographed dance routine. People went crazy. Then we did "We Are Family" and everyone else came out, and then "Hava Nagilah" and everyone got on the chairs. It was amazing!
Q: You met your wife, who’s a real-estate agent, while she was showing you houses in L.A., and 8:09 was the number of your rental, and it’s your wedding date and the title of your new CD. How’d you know she was "the one"?
McIntyre: Barrett’s smart and has a great sense of humor. Blond hair, blue eyes, great legs. She’s beautiful and she’s the best. I had to find someone smarter than me, funnier than me and crazier than me, and I found her.
Q: Speaking of weddings, the topic of gay marriage has been in the news. And you’re Irish Catholic. What do you think of it?
McIntyre: I support gay marriage. I don’t see the big deal. It’s really ridiculous. My mother raised me Catholic, and I think the teachings of Jesus Christ have made me a caring person. And in my family, we have blacks, Jews and gays. I was brought up to follow what Jesus said: Love your neighbor, period.
Q: Back to theatre: In Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick … BOOM!, you played a songwriter who’s turning 30. You went into it after Sept. 11, 2001. Stephen Oremus, who worked with you then and is now music-directing Wicked, says you kept Larson’s show going because you brought new fans to the theatre.
McIntyre: That role changed my life. It was amazing to be around those people, and I loved the director, Scott Schwartz. I live in Tribeca and my apartment looked downtown, so I could see the Twin Towers. I was in Seattle [at the time of the attack]; it was mind-blowing. Tick, tick … BOOM! was a helluva name for a show then, but it was a hugh privilege to be part of Larson’s legacy.
Q: One of your favorite movies is "Shakespeare in Love." Why?
McIntyre: Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie was amazing, and she’s unbelievable, but I tell my wife that I have the real-life Gwyneth Paltrow.
Q: Would you ever want to tackle Shakespeare?
McIntyre: Omigod! Let’s just take it one step at a time. (Laughs.)
Or to quote another NKOTB hit, McIntyre could do it "Step by Step."
For more information, visit www.joeymcintyre.com.
EVERYTHING’S COMING UP MOSES
With his sizable pecs and sex appeal, Burke Moses brings his considerable muscle to the heroic role of Herakles (the Greek Hercules) in The Frogs, directed by Susan Stroman and opening July 22 at the Vivian Beaumont. At 6-foot-2, the booming baritone towers over Dionysos (Nathan Lane), the god of drama, who literally goes through hell to get to Hades. In one of Stephen Sondheim’s new numbers, "Dress Big," Herakles tells Dionysos how to dress more manly ("not too fussy, too Fosse") .
In this Aristophanes comedy from 405 B.C., "freely adapted " by Burt Shevelove and "even more freely adapted" by Lane, Moses shows off his fit physique in little more than a loincloth. Best-known for his Theatre World Award-winning role as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, he says, "When I went to my [Frogs] fitting, William Ivey Long, costume designer extraordinaire, showed me a gold lame thong, and I just had to say no. I should look like Adonis, not a dancer at The Adonis. So we compromised. I got a beard and some extra codpiece material."
Moses, who maintains a low-carb diet and trained with a former Mr. Universe, wisecracks, "It seems my bread and butter is playing large, muscle-bound morons who make fun of their machismo." And though Herakles is onstage for only 15 minutes, Moses is thrilled to be in such esteemed company and reunited with Lane. He made his Broadway debut as Sky Masterson, opposite Lane’s Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls in 1992. "In Frogs, though, Nathan is also the writer, so he’s got to critique his writing and carry the show, and that’s pretty impressive." In return, the two-time Tony winner raves, "Burke was born to play Herakles."
Working with Sondheim also brings Moses full-circle: "Twenty years ago, I was fired from the original company of Into the Woods. I played one of the princes. I was young, right out of school [Carnegie Mellon] and didn’t rise to the occasion. I did the workshop and got the ax before it went to Broadway. Now the exiled Prince has been welcomed back, and it’s been a dream come true."
And this isn’t the first time Moses has worked with frogs. At 20, he was a waiter at a Boston restaurant called The Frogs: "It was the worst job I ever had. No one came, so I volunteered to go outside, wearing a stupid frog costume, to drum up business. A guard came by and said, ‘You can’t do that here. This isn’t an amusement park!’"
Before hopping into Frogs, the Manhattan-born actor, 44, carved a career out of soaps, sitcoms and straight plays (playing Stanley in Streetcar). But his dream role arrived when he took over for Brian Stokes Mitchell as Fred Graham in Kiss Me, Kate: "It requires every tool you’ve got. You get to do romance, comedy. And you’re driving the show. It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys." Moses, who’s married to Paulette and has two sons, Jackson, 9, and Rafe, 4, says, "I’ve done TV and straight drama, but nothing compares to musical theatre. You have the pretty girls, the hilarious gay men, brilliant comics and the crowd. To be out there with a 20-piece orchestra while you’re singing a big solo, that’s the thrill of a lifetime!"
For more information about The Frogs, visit www.lct.org.
ALL-AMERICAN ‘BOY’ GETZ MARRIED
James Getzlaff, the star of Bravo’s gay dating show, "Boy Meets Boy," currently appears Off Off-Broadway in My Big Gay Italian Wedding, and he’s had a great time grooming himself for his New York stage debut. He plays Andrew, who’s going to the chapel and gonna get married to Anthony, but ex-boyfriends and family threaten to sabotage the farcical affair. "I love the cast and the show, and it’s very funny," raves the good-looking Getzlaff, who even sings and dances a little in Anthony Wilkinson’s comedy at Theater Four. "I also identify with Andrew: He’s just a romantic and sweet guy who’s making his way through life and looking for his soulmate."
Getzlaff, who turns 34 on July 7, is no stranger to the stage. Years ago, he did Damn Yankees in Seattle and Chicago in Vancouver, and he just toured in Lullaby of Broadway in Georgia and South Carolina, co starring Broadway veteran Sean McDermott, and his big solo was the title tune of Sunset Boulevard. Getzlaff, who’s even more charming and disarming in person, says his dream role would be the lead of Jekyll & Hyde because "the character has a split personality: sweet and charming one minute, but sinister and vicious another. We all have a dark side. It’d be definitely a departure from the sweet guy from ‘Boy Meets Boy.’"
As for the Bravo show, the 6-foot-2 hunk says, "Ultimately what came out of it was good. The experience itself wasn’t that good, and the whole twist [in which some straight guys tried to pass for gay] sucked. I think people are realizing it’s not cool [to deceive gay people] because another reality show, ‘Playing It Straight,’ was canceled. It turned into a manhunt of ‘Find the Fags.’ It was really cruel. But the positive thing about ‘Boy Meets Boy’ is you got to see normal gay men with jobs, looking for love and making new friends. It wasn’t about sex or drugs or partying. I’ve spoken to Dan and Sean since and kept in touch with the gay guys. We really bonded."
For more info, visit www.mybiggayitalianwedding.com.
WHERE THE GUYS ARE
There’s so much to see in New York: If you haven’t caught the radiant revival of Finian’s Rainbow at Irish Rep, 132 W. 22nd St. (212-727-2737), it’s playing through July 11. Chad Kimball has taken over the role of Og the leprechaun and, with his lucky charms, he’s magically delicious, especially when he stops the show with "When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love." . . . Mark Nadler is a multi-MAC Award-winning master of musical comedy, and his new show, "Write Now! Songs by People Who Aren’t Dead," is playing July 8-31 at Opia, 130 E. 57th St. (212-688-3939). . . . Jon Peterson gives his regards to Broadway in Chip Deffaa’s The George M. Cohan Revue on July 9, 16, 23 and 25 at Danny’s Skylight Room, 346 W. 46th St. (212-265-8133). . . . Michael Cerveris, who won a Tony for his killer performance in Assassins, celebrates the release of his rock band’s new CD, "Dog Eared," on July 12 at 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (212-239 6200). . . . And John Bucchino has reason to be "Grateful": The Summer Play Festival presents his new revue, It’s Only Life, July 27 Aug. 1 at the Beckett, 410 W. 42nd St. (212-239-6200). And what a cast: Michael Arden, John Bolton, Andrea Burns, Jessica Molaskey and Billy Porter.
Looking for an out-of-town treat? See Noah Racey in Where’s Charley? July 9-Sept. 25 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT (860-873-8668). Racey, who deserved the Astaire Award for his phenomenal footwork in Never Gonna Dance, will be following in the footsteps of Ray Bolger and crooning "Once in Love With Amy." . . . Or go to the Catskills and catch Tom Andersen on July 11 in the Nancy LaMott Room at the Bradstan Country Hotel in White Lake, N.Y. (845-583-4114). He’ll be doing toe-tapping tunes from his new CD, "Who Knows?," which has received raves from critics and colleagues. Stephen Schwartz says, "I’ve really been enjoying Tom’s latest CD: both Tom’s covers of terrific country songs and his own excellent new songs."
Got comments or questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next month, let’s hear it for the "boys"!
Wayman Wong edits entertainment for the New York Daily News. He has been a movie and theatre critic for The San Francisco Examiner, a writer for The Sondheim Review and a Drama-Logue Award-winning playwright.