Countdown to Curtain:
Talking with CHRISTOPHER SIEBER (Agis)
Back at Forest Lake High School in Minnesota years ago, Christopher Sieber's drama teacher Jane Gilles put something shiny in his hand. It was a quarter. For luck.
Tonight, Sieber makes his Broadway debut as the male ingenue, Prince Agis, in the new Broadway musical Triumph of Love. And that quarter, given to him all that time ago, will be with him. Why argue with success?
"I used to keep it in my pocket and twirl it in my fingers when I was on stage," he said. "Now I keep it in one of the drawers in my makeup kit. It's a reminder of where I came from. You have to work really hard to get to Broadway, and it's also a reminder that you worked hard."
He learned that ethic from Gilles, "a wonderful director," he said, and credits another teacher, Deborah Bendix with "making me get my butt to New York. If it wasn't for them," he said in his dressing room at the Royale Theatre on West 45th Street, "I wouldn't be here at all." Though his teacher aren't here at the theatre today, his brothers, Mike and Mark, are dressing to be part of the audience. Sieber previously played Young Jacob Marley in the annual A Christmas Carol at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York, but he said Triumph will be his first full Broadway production at a regular Broadway theatre.
Sieber said he was too excited to sleep last night, as usual for a night before opening. He awoke in his Brooklyn apartment and worked out on the treadmill and Stairmaster "to get the air moving." His opening-day regimen bars anything with milk in it, but allows him to eat all the chocolate chip cookies he wants. His constant movement on the set and backstage burns it all up. Sweating in the 18th century coat and wig, he sometimes shorts out his mike (concealed in the wig) just before his big song, causing the costume, wig, sound and electronics people to converge in the wings to set him right.
To counteract the tension, Sieber arrived early at the theatre today. He visited his co-stars in the hallways and dressing rooms of the Royale Theatre, wishing them all luck and "break a leg."
Now, he says, it's time to take a quiet moment in his dressing room. "I'm trying to control my excitement. It's a big night, and I want to go out looking right."