PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Tony Award Nominee Desmond Richardson of After Midnight
By Matthew Blank
January 7, 2014
Tony-nominated dancer Desmond Richardson is back on Broadway in the Jazz-Age musical After Midnight at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. He fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Richardson has previously appeared on Broadway in Fosse (Tony nomination), Twyla Tharp's Movin’ Out and The Look of Love.
He is co-founder of Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
Full given name:
Where you were born/where you were raised:
I was born in Sumter, SC, and I was raised in Laurelton, Queens, NY.
What your parents did/do for a living:
My father was a singer and trash collector and is now deceased. My mother was a course developer at AT&T and is one of my biggest supporters.
I have three brothers and one sister.
Languages, piano, painting, interior design and textiles
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Calling folks back!! My bad :-)
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out?
First Broadway show you ever saw:
The Little Prince
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
Bob Fosse's Dancin'
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Motown, Once, Kinky Boots, Newsies, Romeo & Juliet, Wicked and The Lion King
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Some favorite modern musicals:
Hairspray, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Spring Awakening, Book of Mormon
Some favorite classic musicals:
West Side Story, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Chicago, Kiss Me Kate
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Danny Kaye
Your personal dance/choreography idols, living or dead:
Alvin Ailey, Nureyev, Baryshnikov, Mel Tomlinson, Keith McDaniel, Gary Deloatch
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
The Little Prince, Bob Fosse dancing "Snake in the Tree"
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
The music that makes me cry is "Seasons of Love" from Rent
MAC or PC?
Most played song on your iPod:
Daryl Coley's "Like Him"
PiNK, Sanaa Lathan, Anderson Cooper
Last book you read:
Ayn Rand's “Anthem”
Must-see TV show(s):
"Scandal," "Betrayal," "Revenge," "Black-List," "Homeland," "Empire Boardwalk," "The Originals"
Last good movie you saw:
“12 Years A Slave” - a must see!
Some films you consider classics:
"Cleopatra," "Ben-Hur," "Giant," "To Kill A Mockingbird"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
Real Housewives of any city!
Three favorite cities:
New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
"Funkadelic" by George Clinton
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager:
Being cast in the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
Seeing Nureyev on PBS with Margot Fonteyn
How you got your Equity card:
Being part the original Broadway cast of Fosse
Favorite pre-/post- show meal:
A slice of Ray's Pizza
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I am definitely someone who needs to take a second by myself and stretch and breathe before a show.
Most challenging role you have ever played:
Title role of Othello at the Metropolitan Opera House choreographed by Lar Lubovitch with American Ballet Theater.
Biggest challenge about this current project:
The biggest challenge about this current project is hoping the audience will enjoy every moment!
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project:
The most fulfilling aspect is watching the young people who wait at the stage door and are elated and inspired to pursue their aspiration to one day be on the same stage.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Having a hole in the seat of my pants on opening night and having to continue with no exit. Fun times for sure! Not...
Worst costume ever:
I plead the 5th.
Worst job you ever had:
Every job, good or indifferent, you make the best out of. That’s my motto.
Craziest audition story:
For the high school of the performing arts, showing up to the dance call in a 3-piece suit and the faculty assuming I was a hoofer and, umm, far from it.
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be?
Everyone! I love everyone's role, from the songs to dancing!
Something about you that surprises people:
That I sing well!
Something you are incredibly proud of:
I'm incredibly proud of my current cast members in After Midnight. Nightly they give their heart and soul at such a high level, it fuels my creativity vastly.
Something you're embarrassed to admit:
I do talk while texting!
Career you would want if not a performer:
Three things you can't live without:
My iPhone, Oral B electric toothbrush and an elegant pair of shoes, preferably Donald J. Pliner.
"I'll never understand why…"
… folks talk out loud on the cell phone in public.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Investigate, research and hone your craft so that you are able to shine your unique natural light for all the world to behold.