Christian Borle has come a long way from his college library's conference room.
The Tony-winning actor has tread the boards on Broadway for more than 15 years, taking on a host of roles that include a Minstrel, a French Guard and Not Dead Fred in Spamalot; the studious law student Emmet in Legally Blonde; and the villainous pirate Black Stashe in Peter and the Starcatcher — earning him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Adding even more breadth to his range, Borle was most recently seen in NBC's The Sound of Music Live! as the comedic Max Detweiler.
Borle's next stage outing, the Encores! production of Little Me, features him in six different roles. The Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh musical with a book by Neil Simon will begin performances Feb. 5 and continue through Feb. 9. Based on Patrick Dennis' novel "Little Me: The Intimate Memoirs of that Great Star of Stage, Screen and Television/Belle Poitrine," the musical follows Belle, a woman in search of wealth, culture and social position, and the numerous men she encounters on her way — all but one of whom will be portrayed by Borle.
Borle's awareness of his ability to transform into such a wide variety of roles began onstage in a college production of Cabaret, where he played several roles, including the head waiter and the gorilla featured in the song "If You Could See Her Through My Eyes."
"That was kind of the first time I realized there was a niche for me in a bunch of different parts and to be a chameleon," Borle said of the experience. "And that's what actors like to do anyway — kind of disappear into things. But to be able to do it all in one show is a treat."
In Little Me Borle will portray a young college boy, an elderly lecher and a dying European king, as well as several other colorful characters. The production will include the original script (with a few cuts), which was re-tooled for its subsequent Broadway revivals — in 1982, with Mary Gordon Murray playing Belle, and Victor Garber and James Coco sharing the multiple male roles, and in 1998, featuring Faith Prince as Belle and Martin Short playing the numerous male parts.
The Encores! production, directed by John Rando, stars Rachel York as young Belle, Judy Kaye as older Belle and Tony Yazbeck as George Musgrove. It also features the original orchestrations and script.
While portraying numerous characters is nothing new to Borle, he said he did a good amount of "pre-pro" before starting rehearsals at City Center in order to "have a handle on the six guys."
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