PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Zach Grenier

By Ernio Hernandez
February 18, 2009

Zach Grenier who co-stars in Broadway's 33 Variations fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop culture tidbits.


Full given name: Zach Grenier
Hometown: I was born in Englewood, New Jersey, although my family moved four months later. Child of an electrical engineer, I moved once every year or so in the first 14 years of my life. I'd have to say that my hometown is Ann Arbor, though, which is where I went to high school.
Special skills: Carpentry and mood swings.
First Broadway show ever saw: Private Lives with Maggie Smith, Remak Ramsay and John Standing. Years later, I had the pleasure of working with John Standing on an episode of "NYPD Blue."
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Anything with Sir Ralph Richardson.
Current show you have been recommending to friends: The Winter's Tale at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
MAC or PC? Both
Most played song on your iPod: Ray LaMontagne's "Be Here Now"
One CD you couldn't live without: No CDS, but I love my brother Dr. Arwulf's "Sunday Best," a jazz show streamed from WEMU.
Last book you read: I'm still reading "Beethoven: Biography of a Genius" by George R. Marek.
Must-see TV show: I'm a big fan of the old movies on TCM.
Last good movie you saw: "Frost/Nixon"
Favorite card game: I miss my poker game back in L.A.: Don, Michael, Bill, et al. - Miss yas.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Pink
First stage kiss: 1979, as Christopher Marlowe in The Marlowe Show by John Adams, I kissed Thomas Walsingham, who, according to one theory, was Marlowe's lover.
Favorite pre-show meal: Borscht at Cafe Edison
How you got your Equity card: Playing Senator Roscoe Conklin in Teddy Roosevelt, a children's musical produced by P.A.R.T., now Theatreworks USA.
Worst onstage mishap: I was stabbed, shot twice, strangled, then stabbed 5 or 6 times (depending on the night) in John Pielmeier's Voices in the Dark with Judith Ivey. Just before my complicated murder, I would exit briefly stage left, set down a gun I was holding, position a stage knife sticking out of my belt, pick the gun back up and return to the stage. One night, I exited, stuck the knife in and re-entered, back to the audience. At this point, Judy produces a real knife, lunges at me; I turn, the audience sees the trick knife in my belly, they gasp, I fall, lights go out, audience screams. It's all working. Then I realized that I had forgotten the gun off stage left. Judy won't be able to shoot me! I was lying way over stage right. Praying I wouldn't be seen, I do this inchworm-on-steroids dance across the entire Longacre proscenium, exit off stage, grab the gun, then, thinking I was taking way too long, do an inchworm-on-steroids gallop back across the stage, leap up, am disarmed by Judy and shot. I was worried that because of my goof, Judy would be caught off guard. At that instant, the stage lightning flashes, revealing her expression absolute glee. She told me later she was thinking, "He's trying a new move! Cool!"
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? Which edition? Guilty of 5 appearances over the decades, all on the Mothership.
Worst costume ever: I was called in to meet Woody Allen for the role of a Moroccan doorman in "The Purple Rose of Cairo." When I arrived, I was taken into a room and told to put on the doorman costume. The door closed, and I attempted to squeeze into a one-piece sequined outfit in a becoming shade of puce. It was four sizes too small, but I wanted to be in a Woody Allen movie at all costs so, somehow, I managed to get into it. A knock at the door, and an attractive production assistant came in. We struck up a conversation, though it was difficult to speak because I couldn't breathe. She had lured me to the doorway during our talk, and as we chatted, I saw a door open down the hall. A pair of horn-rimmed glasses floated out beyond the frame for a brief moment, then disappeared. The P.A. immediately became very businesslike, told me to remove the costume and go back to the waiting room. I didn't get the job. And then there was the Easter Gossip Bunny suit on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien". . .
Cats or dogs? My wife and I share our home with 4 kitties and 2 pooches. All rescues, all amazing.
Who would play you in the movie? I would hope a really talented unknown actor who would go on to win awards and make a lot of money.
Worst job you ever had: Digging ditches in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
TV or commercial gig you most enjoyed: Andy Cramed on "Deadwood." I miss him dearly.
Leading lady/man role you've been dying to play I'm doing it now and am pleased as punch.