PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Emmy Award Winner Michael Park of Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

By Matthew Blank
January 22, 2013

Two-time Emmy winner Michael Park, who plays the role of Gooper in the new revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



Park has appeared on Broadway in How to Succeed (Mr. Bratt), Carousel (Billy), Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Little Me (Lucky).

His Off-Broadway work includes Hello Again, Violet, The Burnt Part Boys, Bloomer Girl, Applause and Middletown.

Park is best known for his work as Jack Snyder on "As the World Turns," for which he received two Emmy Awards.





Full given name: Michael Frank Park
Where you were born/where you were raised: Both in Canandaigua, NY
What your parents did/do for a living:Mother was an elementary art teacher, and Dad was a Publisher for The Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, NY. Both retired and living the life in Canandaigua.
Siblings:3
Special skills: Being on time
First Broadway show you ever saw: We took a trip with our choir in high school and had the pleasure of seeing Bernadette Peters in Song and Dance.

I still have the image of Gregg Burge flying out of the wings, being in the air for an extraordinary amount of time and landing in pike position on the stage, bringing the audience to their feet. I remember wanting to make people feel like that.

If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? I always lamented that I had yet to move to NYC to see James Earl Jones in Fences. If I could go back? Sweeney Todd in the West End would be trippy.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out? Jack Haldoupis is the artistic director of Blackfriars Theatre in Rochester, NY, where I cut my teeth - so to speak. He is in charge of every aspect of every production in that theatre and for most is still the barometer for what is culturally relevant in that city.

I was fortunate to have him as an inspiration early on. We also had a great group of friends in the company that all gave NY a shot at one point or another, so I fed off of their experiences. I'm forever grateful.

Current or recent show you recommended to friends: I've been recommending Once, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and I'm looking forward to Picnic.
Some favorite musicals: Into The Woods, Jesus Christ Superstar
Some favorite modern plays: The Birthday Party, True West, A Streetcar Named Desire to name a few. I had the pleasure of seeing the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Some favorite modern playwrights: Williams, Pinter, Beckett, and my friend Will Eno
The one performance attended - that you will never forget: I was in the audience of My Favorite Year at the Vivian Beaumont the night Evan Pappas had taken ill shortly after opening in Dec. of 1992.

The ridiculously talented Michael McGrath was to make his Broadway debut understudying as Benji Stone after only ONE DAY of rehearsal. I recall the announcement at the theatre being something like, "Please excuse Mr. McGrath if he has to refer to his script."

Well, he didn't and he was amazing! Similarly, Stephanie Rothenberg was the Rosemary understudy in the recent revival of How To Succeed, who performed on short notice during press week and also blew people away!!

Music that makes you cry, any genre: I have two daughters so "Butterfly Kisses" always gets me.
Your personal acting idols: Not to sound stupid, but the people I work with everyday.
MAC or PC? MAC... come on!!
Most played song on your iPod: "Fresh Ground" from my buddy Jesse Lenat
Last book you read: I'm currently reading "Far From The Tree" by Andrew Solomon. An investigation of how some children don't share the same recessive genes and/or influences with his or her progenitors.
Must-see TV show(s): "Game of Thrones"
"Downton Abby"
"The Newsroom"
Some films you consider classics: "The Shawshank Redemption"
"It's a Wonderful Life"
"The Big Lebowski"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: My twelve-year-old daughter Kathleen
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: I was Conrad Birdie in high school.... and I was awful.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I was awful as Conrad Birdie in high school.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Gotta love Chicken Bar (on 8th and 45th). Nothing fancy just a #1 with a Diet Coke.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Scotch and Guinness. What?
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Too many to pick just one... but hey, mistakes provide opportunity, if not for you, then for your mates to goof on you.
What drew you to this project? Aside from the fact that this is my first Broadway play, it was Rob Ashford and his vision that drew me to this.
How did you research for this performance? It is scary to turn the microscope on yourself sometimes. Unlike Gooper I was the second born in my family. My older brother, in the made up story in my head, was always the more favored.

While I don't nearly resent him as much as Gooper does Brick, I found if I could tap into those bitter/paranoid moments of my youth it may lead me somewhere.

Most challenging role you have played onstage: Doing it right now!
Any side projects or upcoming work you can talk about? Shortly after this show closes I'll be in rehearsal for Tuck Everlasting, which is slated to open in Boston this spring.
Something about you that surprises people: I was a graphic design/art major in college. I don't know... is that surprising?
Career you would want if not a performer: I always wondered what it would be like to be a mounted police officer in NYC. Protecting people and looking mad cool at the same time!
Three things you can't live without: My family, music and coffee
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Be patient, stay curious and never stop working. It's an incredible ride! You never know where this business will take you, but if you give up, you never really wanted to know.