PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Newsies' "Crutchie," Andrew Keenan-Bolger

By Matthew Blank
September 25, 2012

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, appearing in Disney's Newsies at the Nederlander Theatre, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



Keenan-Bolger received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for his work in Newsies. Other theatre work includes Seussical, Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Carol, Leaf Coneybear in Spelling Bee, Max in The Grinch and Robertson Ay in Mary Poppins.

He has appeared on screen in "The Naked Brothers Band," "Marci X" and "One Life to Live." He is co-creator of the Broadway-themed web series “Submissions Only.” www.submissionsonly.com





Full given name: Andrew Ryan Keenan-Bolger
Where you were born/where you were raised: Detroit, proper.
Zodiac Sign:Taurus
What your parents did/do for a living:My mom was a kindergarten teacher. My dad is a city planner for Detroit.
Siblings:Both of my sisters, Maggie and Celia, are also in the business. Celia is starring in Peter and the Starcatcher. My sister Maggie is also a brilliant actress, playwright and educator.
Special skills: I taught myself how to skateboard a couple years ago when I was living in L.A. I apparently missed out on that when I was in middle school. Next up: hacky sack.
Something you're REALLY bad at: I have horrible handwriting. Everyone jokes that they have serial killer handwriting but I’d challenge John Wayne Gacy, Jr. to a write off.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Les Miserables
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? I’d see the original production of Company. It’s my favorite Sondheim score and I would have loved to see how the audience responded to such a game-changing musical.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Peter and the Starcatcher. It can only be described as magical… not through million dollar special effects, but with a kind of DIY stagecraft that is breathtaking.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "The Riddle Song" from Floyd Collins, “Make Someone Happy” from Do Re Mi, “Our Time” from Merrily We Roll Along, “96,000” from In the Heights, “Paris Through the Window” from A Class Act
Some favorite modern musicals: Caroline, or Change
Violet
Anything by Michael John LaChiusa
Some favorite classic musicals: Gypsy
110 in the Shade
Oklahoma!
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Audra McDonald, Barbara Cook, Gavin Creel
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: I caught the out-of-town tryout of Ragtime in Toronto when I was eleven and it changed my life. I had never been so affected by a performance and it made me understood the power of musical theatre as an art form.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: “The Babysitter’s Here,” “When I Was a Boy” and “February” by Dar Williams. They were the first songs my sister Maggie learned how to play on guitar, and I associate so much of my childhood with singing them with my sisters.
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: Gavin Creel sent me the song “Break Me Out” by The Rescues last year when we were brainstorming ideas for his music video, “Noise.”

It has since become the song I can listen to anywhere: on the subway, at the gym, in the shower.

Most-visited websites: IndieRockCafe.com for new music, Flavorwire.com for trendy hipster stuff, Mint.com for doing my taxes
Favorite Tweeters: Tim Federle- @TimFederle
Randy Rainbow- @RandyRainbow
Billy Eichner- @BillyEichner
Must-see TV show(s): All of the Newsies are a little bit obsessed with "Dance Moms." So many of our boys are from the competitive dance world that it both hits close to home and provides unlimited campy entertainment. I hope they come see our show! I will personally give them a backstage tour.
Some films you consider classics: "Annie Hall"
"Singin’ in The Rain"
"Showgirls"
Pop culture guilty pleasure: I get all my pop culture news from Michael Buckley of the "What the Buck" show on YouTube. He is a hysterical guy and one of the first people to support me as a filmmaker. I owe a lot to him!
Favorite cities: Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Celia bought me the Ragtime concept album for Christmas in 1996. It was before I actually owned a CD player.
First stage kiss: I had my first onstage kiss last year with Nikki M. James in a reading of the new musical Rocket Science. Right after that she won a Tony. Coincidence? I think not!
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: The last show I ever got to perform onstage with both of my sisters was The Secret Garden. I adore that show and getting to work with my sisters was very memorable.

I got to play Colin, Maggie got to play Mary and Celia got to play… Betsy the Scullery Maid (1 line)! Sorry Cels.

How you got your Equity card: I did a tour of Music Man when I was nine. My mind exploded a little bit when our Newsies choreographer Chris Gattelli made the connection that he was Tommy Djilas opposite my Winthrop.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: ‘Shroom Burger from Shake Shack. I pretend it’s healthy because it’s vegetarian but in reality it’s two Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and Panko breadcrumb fried. I’d probably be better off with a burger.
Favorite liquid refreshment: I’m on such a juicing kick, so anything made with my Breville Juicer.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I walk pretty much on the side of my foot as Crutchie. He has a gimp leg and I tried to make it as mangled and realistic as I could. Luckily, we had a physical therapist come in and custom-create a warm up for me so I don’t hurt myself during the show. Also my Liz Caplan vocalises.
Most challenging role you have ever played: I played the central character of “Hal” in the musical Rocket Science last year. It’s about a boy with a severe stutter trying to be on the debate team. It’s an incredibly powerful show and I had to go through both the script and score and decide on exactly what words he would get caught up on and what it would sound like. It’s still in development and I hope it gets a big production in New York soon!
Worst costume ever: I played Max the Dog in the tour of Grinch. The costume actually looked awesome but weighed about 15 pounds and, after doing 4 shows a day, was soaking wet by the end.
Worst job you ever had: I was a telemarketer for University of Michigan. I would have to call recent graduates and beg them for money. It was very stressful having people yell at me all day. Turns out most folks don’t have cash to spare when they’ve paid for four years of college.
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? I’d play Medda. She gets to sing a song called “That’s Rich!” which is pretty much my personal anthem.
Favorite Disney songs (not from any of the shows you've done): Any of the Muse’s songs from "Hercules"
Show you would most love to perform in with your siblings: I’ve always been in love with the idea of doing Andrew Lippa’s John & Jen with either one of my sisters. I think we might have something to bring to the table.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: I’m not so sure anyone’s ready to accept me as a leading man but two roles I’m dying to play are Toby in Sweeney Todd and Jack in Into the Woods.

I’ve never gotten to be in a Sondheim show and hope to get to play either of those at some point.

Leading lady role you wish you could play: Caroline Thibodeaux in Caroline, or Change. Still looking for the right open-minded producer. Tweet me if you’re interested: @KeenanBlogger
Something about you that surprises people: What’s my secret? I’m afraid of the dark and I sleep with a night-light.
Something you are incredibly proud of: The thing I’m most proud of is my web series, "Submissions Only." When my co-creator, Kate Wetherhead, and I decided to make this web series, we had zero experience in writing or directing a sitcom and have somehow crafted a series that is really resonating with people both within and outside our community.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I’m a bit of a slob. I still haven’t totally outgrown my college dorm room cleaning habits.
Career you would want if not a performer: I would want a job where I got paid to make random YouTube videos with my friends. That exists, right?
Three things you can't live without: Flamin' Hot Cheetos, my camera, my friends
"I'll never understand why…" … people don’t want gay people to get married.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Have other interests outside of the business. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the drama and politics involved with auditioning and performing. I find that having other hobbies makes such a huge difference. Not only does it give you an outlet but informs who you are as a person and makes you a more interesting, well-rounded performer.