I've Got Your Number: Christian Borle Takes on Multiple Roles in Encores! Little Me

By Carey Purcell
03 Feb 2014

"At the heart of it, they're about people you actually care about," he said of his characters. "For me, one of the challenges is to not make these six guys total caricatures. They have to be somewhat broad and distinct and funny. You should care about them, too. So we're trying to, on some level, keep it in the realm of somewhat truthful, with just a little bit of an edge to it."

That edge, according to Borle, is apparent thanks to the book: "The road map is so clear. The jokes are so clear on the page that you just have to kind of get out of the way of the whole thing."

Little Me marks a return to the stage for the singing actor, who recently played composer Tom Levitt on the Broadway-inspired NBC TV show "Smash." Commenting on his return to the stage, Borle said, "There is nothing like the rehearsal process. It's so nice to be back in that environment... I was pleasantly surprised by experience in the TV world. It's kind of the same. You get together and you collaborate, and everybody, if you're lucky, is pouring their heart and soul into it. And you become a family, just like you do in the theatre. It's just that it's technically quite a different operation."

Little Me premiered on Broadway in 1962, with Virginia Martin as Belle and Sid Caesar playing the various men in her life. The ten-time Tony nominated musical picked up one win — for Bob Fosse's choreography — before the London production, starring Bruce Forsyth and Eileen Gourlay, opened at the Cambridge Theatre in 1964.

"I try not to overthink things," Borle said of stepping into the fast-moving shoes of a role previously performed by Caesar and Short. "I don't want to steal anything from anybody. When I saw Martin Short do [Little Me], he blew me away. But Martin Short is Martin Short. And I would never do an impersonation of him doing an impersonation of all of these people."

Borle's appreciation of Short began long before Little Me came to Broadway; while attending high school, he served as the president of the Ed Grimley Fan Club, which included group viewings of "The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley" in a conference room at the school library. A cardboard cutout of Grimley was also featured in the school fair's triangle toss.