PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Machinal Star Morgan Spector

By Matthew Blank
21 Jan 2014

Music that makes you cry, any genre: Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass. I saw it when it was at BAM last season. It was definitely a highlight of my life.
You personal acting idols: Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Cary Grant, and the late great James Gandolfini, among many others.
MAC or PC? I've been an Apple kid since the 80s.
Most played song on your iPod: At this very moment it's the song "On The Water" by The Walkmen.
Last book you read: "Difficult Men" by Brett Martin. It's a really neat history of the lead up to what he calls the "third golden age of television"; basically the cable drama explosion that started with "The Sopranos." It's a great read.
Must-see TV show(s): "Boardwalk Empire," "Mad Men," "Bob’s Burgers," the BBC "Sherlock," "The Fall," "Top of the Lake," "Colbert Report," "Luther" (which I guess is over), "The Killing" (Peter Sarsgaard in season 3, episode 10 is just phenomenal).
Last good movie you saw: "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"
Some films you consider classics: "The Last Dragon," "Streets of Fire"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Kurt Vile
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Scandal"
Three favorite cities: New York, San Francisco, Guerneville (yeah, it's not a city.)
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: I think my first tape was probably "To the Extreme" by Vanilla Ice or "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" by MC Hammer. I might have bought them together. I am a late 20th century bourgeois cliché.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: The first time anyone hired me. Goddamn that is a good feeling.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) Tabata Ramen on 40th and 9th. Spicy miso with pork.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Coffee. Right now there's a bottle of Templeton rye in the dressing room.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Do a little yoga. Breathe. Hum. Make sure my body is awake and loose.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Once I was supposed to play the clarinet onstage and for some reason when I went to play it, no sound came out. I had a two minute solo, probably so I could cover costume changes or something. So I stood there and made "I'm playing a clarinet" gestures for about 80 years.
Worst costume ever: I was in a play my friend wrote in which I appeared in a velour thong with a gas mask affixed to the front. The line between worst and best is not as clear as you might think.
Worst job you ever had: I worked at a restaurant in the Meatpacking District when I first got to New York that was managed by a man with absolutely no regard for human dignity and no chin, as I recall.
What drew you to this project? Everything. The play, the company, the director, Lindsey Turner. Also, I don't know that many actors who say no to Broadway plays.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? I think we all believe that this show could possibly, actually be art, which creates an extraordinary standard for our work. Very exciting, but also kind of harrowing at times.
Most challenging role you have played onstage: I think the answer will always be whichever one I'm playing at the moment.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: When they do the Broadway musical version of "Streets of Fire," I will play Billy Fish.
Leading lady role you wish you could play: I always wanted to play Solange in The Maids.
Career you would want if not a performer: I was just having this conversation. I'd want to be an intrepid reporter. A muckraker. Basically I'd want to be Glenn Greenwald.
Career you would want if not a performer: Treasure Hunter. Not an archaeologist, per se. Just a dude with a metal detector searching for buried relics.
"I'll never understand why…" … people accuse Philip Roth of being a misogynist.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Relinquish all expectations.