PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Peter Bradbury, Scrooge in Off-Broadway's A Christmas Carol
By Matthew Blank
December 17, 2013
Broadway actor Peter Bradbury stars as Scrooge in the new Off-Broadway production of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Patrick Barlow. He fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Bradbury has appeared on Broadway in Cyrano de Bergerac, A Man for All Seasons, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Present Laughter, Hedda Gabler, That Championship Season, The Norman Conquests, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial and The Herbal Bed.
Screen work includes “Boardwalk Empire,” “Unforgettable,” “Sally Hemings,” “Rubicon,” “Law & Order” and “Rescue Me.”
Full given name:
Peter David Bradbury
Where you were born/where you were raised:
Born in Boston, MA. Grew up in Brookline, MA.
What your parents did/do for a living:
Dad: cosmetics buyer for Filene’s Department Store. Mom: Housewife
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Negotiating directions without a GPS device. Hopeless.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
Saw 3 during one momentous visit: the original productions of Sweeney Todd, The Elephant Man and Sugar Babies starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. Hooked for life.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
How many can I name? Olivier in his 1955 Scottish Play, his Othello, or his Richard III. Brando in the original Streetcar. Edmund Kean as Shylock in his Drury Lane debut. The opening night of the original production of Long Day’s Journey into Night. The Marx Brothers in their Bway debut, I’ll Say She Is, or their stage production of “Animal Crackers.” WC Fields live, ripping it up.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Mark Rylance in Richard III. A truly special actor.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"If I Loved You," "I Have Dreamed," "My Romance," "My Funny Valentine"
My Fair Lady, Sweeney Todd and Fiddler on the Roof
Some favorite modern plays:
Circle Mirror Transformation, Clybourne Park, Eurydice, Ruined, Lobby Hero, Other Desert Cities, Water by the Spoonful, August: Osage County
Some favorite modern playwrights:
David Mamet, Annie Baker, Donald Margulies, Lynn Rosen, Patrick Barlow, Edward Albee, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Neil Labute, Emily Devoti, JT Rogers, August Wilson, Jon Robin Baitz, Gina Gionfriddo, David Lindsay-Abaire, Kenneth Lonergan
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart, Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, Henry Fonda, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Katharine Hepburn
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Gabriel Byrne in Moon for the Misbegotten. A shattering experience.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
The spectacular Mark Price sings a beautiful 19th century Irish folk song, "Red Rose," in our production of A Christmas Carol. It leaves me a wet rag every time.
Your personal acting idols:
Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando, Morris Carnovsky, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Spencer Tracy, Anthony Hopkins, Henry Fonda, Albert Finney, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, James Cagney, Meryl Streep
MAC or PC?
MAC FOR LIFE
NYTimes.com and sonsofsamhorn.net
Last book you read:
"The Finkler Question" by Howard Jacobson
Must-see TV show(s):
"Breaking Bad," "Veep," "Downton Abbey" (with my daughter Grace), SportsCenter
Last good movie you saw:
"The Spectacular Now"
Some films you consider classics:
"The Man Who Would Be King"
"Yankee Doodle Dandy"
"Lawrence of Arabia"
"The Ox Bow Incident"
"Some Like it Hot"
"North by Northwest"
"Singin’ in the Rain"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Mark Rylance, Cherry Jones or Meryl Streep
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
Daughters turned me on to the uber-talented Bruno Mars. I don’t feel guilty.
Three favorite cities:
New York, Boston, San Francisco
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
Original soundtrack of "Oliver!"
First stage kiss:
In college, I played all the middle aged or old men, so I never got to kiss the girl until my senior year when I was cast as Bo Decker in Bus Stop. Got to kiss Carol Mailman and fell madly in love with her – unrequitedly. Hope she isn’t reading this now.
Some favorite or most memorable roles as a child or teen:
In 7th grade I played President Richard M. Nixon. Think I gave Langella a run for his money.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
I think it was probably an accumulation of moments. Seeing Al Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon," seeing Len Cariou in Sweeney Todd coupled with my enormous success as the 37th president likely tipped the scales for me.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
Pre: Salad with double turkey at Chop’t. Post: Ratatouille at Angus, or anything at the fabulous Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Shack on MacDougal.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Victory Hop Devil IPA
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
Some vocalizing, some green tea, followed by an acute panic attack while curled into the fetal position.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Had to execute a 3-point turn in Man and Superman and backed the car off the stage into the audience. Got a round of sympathy applause after every subsequent exit. Nice.
Worst costume ever:
Played the tail-end of a horse in a children’s theater production years ago. Classic.
Worst job you ever had:
Running a bumper car concession in Weirs Beach, NH.
Craziest audition story:
Auditioned for a commercial once where I had to sit in a chair and act as if my face was being subjected to a G-Force. Like to get the tape of that.
What drew you to this project?
The opportunity to work with the supremely gifted Joe Calarco and Patrick Barlow and tell this magnificent story.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge for me has been not allowing myself to be overwhelmed by the expectations and preconceptions people might bring to anyone attempting to play this iconic character. Of course, this is Patrick Barlow’s specific and original take on the story, so this Scrooge, will be, hopefully, fresh and surprising.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show?
It’s been so thrilling to work with this wonderful ensemble; Mark Light-Orr, Jessie Shelton, Franca Vercelloni and Mark Price. And it’s been so wonderful and instructive for me to just get out of the way of the story and let it unfold and reveal its great truths.
Most challenging role you have played onstage:
Horner in The Country Wife. Restoration Comedy isn’t pretty.
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What edition?
Played a disgruntled astronaut on "Criminal Intent." A pyromaniac fundamentalist and a hard-nosed Internal Affairs detective who’s largely responsible for Jesse L. Martin’s resignation from the force - both on the original series. Apologies, Jesse.
Favorite screen/commercial gigs:
"Boardwalk Empire," "House of Cards" (season 2) and "Homeland"
Leading man role you've been dying to play:
Leading lady role you'd like a shot at:
Something about you that surprises people:
I’ve never owned a car.
Career you would want if not a performer:
Shortstop for the Boston Red Sox. Sorry, the WORLD CHAMPION Boston Red Sox.
Three things you can't live without:
Wife Loretta and daughters Emma and Grace.
"I'll never understand why…"
… it’s taking me so long to make my first million.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
There is no one road to the “promised land.” Find your own way and trust in yourself, but learn to listen. And, importantly, you must allow yourself to fail - in fact, it is required. So when you fail, fail big.