A self-confessed family man of 32 years, Peter Michael Goetz got put to the test last December when Broadway beckoned and he was forced to forfeit Christmas with the clan in California. Taking the sting out of this was the role he took over from Tony-nominated Terry Beaver -- the benign bear of a bachelor who lords over a ladies-laden roost in Atlanta of 1939 -- the man of the house, literally, in Alfred Uhry's Tony-winning comedy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, calming the commotions of his sister and sister-in-law, each widowed and each with an eminently marriageable daughter.
"It's been a long time since I've enjoyed playing a play this much," he admits. "I have two children -- boys -- the age of these girls, and I deal with the girls as if they were my sons." Both sons, 21 and 26, are screenwriters (their Tycus is now before the cameras with Dennis Hopper). On film himself Goetz was father of the groom in Steve Martin's two Father of the Bride movies ("so you know what size my part was").
The Last Night of Ballyhoo is his first time at the Helen Hayes since the (first and) last night of Ned and Jack, in which he played John Barrymore at full tilt. Colleen Dewhurst, who directed Ned and Jack, co-starred with him in the also-short Broadway reign of The Queen and the Rebels. Nor did he run longer in Beyond Therapy or last year's Sex and Longing). But give Goetz a family to head -- even in absentia like the philandering father he played in Brighton Beach Memoirs -- and he's in for a long haul. His current assignment seconds that motion.