PLAYBILL BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Steve Kazee; Broadway's Once "Guy" Talks About Exiting the Hit

By Kenneth Jones
27 Mar 2013

Kazee at the 2012 Broadway Flea Market
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Has your absence sparked rumors that have gotten back to you and troubled you?
SK: [Laughs.] Absolutely. Are you kidding me? Every other day someone sends me an email that's, like, "I hear you're in rehab…" or — I mean there's just been so many. I found them very entertaining. It's amazing what people's minds can come up with when you just haven't been on Twitter. I think people start worrying that you're dead, people start worrying that — My favorite is that I'm in rehab because I don't know what I would be in rehab for! I do absolutely nothing that could put myself into — maybe, like, for video game addiction. I played a lot of "Call of Duty" while I was at home.

There are certain people who just want to muckrake. They just wanna be in there and they just wanna be starting those things because, unfortunately, when you have a certain amount of good grace come your way….we live in a society where people then want to start to tear that down. When my mom passed away, and when the Tonys and all that was happening, there was a lot of good grace that came my way, and it was lovely and it lifted me up and it carried me through a lot of that stuff.

They wanna see you fail after you've succeeded, and so I think people just reached out and say a lot of different things. Now could I sit here and list 1001 reasons why I'm not in rehab… I could sit here and prove it all day long but it's just not worth it to even go into that frame of mind. Anybody who really knows me knows exactly what's been going on. They know that they've either talked to me or they heard from me via email or text.

Do you think you'll return to social media?
SK: Somebody asked me that last night. They were like, "So everything is said and done, last night was the official goodbye of [four original Once principals]…" It's actually been a really nice respite to not be in my phone all the time and to not be constantly checking social networks and seeing who said what and [who] posted this and posted that. It was a hard two months, but it was also a chance for me to sort of decompress a little bit from the past year. It was a very difficult year on a lot of levels and it was nice for me to just be able to walk away from Twitter and Facebook for a while. I don't know, you know I may come back and I may start tweeting today!

Kazee on Tony night
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

I think part of the rumor mill stems from the fact that the Guy role is Herculean, and you carried it in a year when you were struggling with some personal stuff. The question arose, perhaps naturally, "How much pressure can this actor take?"
SK: I definitely see that, but I will tell you this: Anybody who really knows me as a human being knows that it was a difficult year on a lot of levels, and I'm coming up on the one-year anniversary of losing my mother. I can tell you that the days didn't get any easier over the past year. I have a wonderful, lovely friend who said to me once: "There's no doubt in my mind that you are built for adversity because I don't know how many people could've gotten through what was going on." I'm not trying to pat myself on the back. You know, but I never stopped. I never went and allowed myself to suffer and you know I went through a lot of ups and downs and I went through a lot of emotional highs and lows, but at the end of the day I always had that show to go to, and that show was the thing that kept me going.

Now, as far as [my pain] being a contributing factor to the role — I'm not that method of an actor. I don't go into a show and really wear it home and take the role with me. I'm a performer. I'm pretending to be someone else. I'm not putting my own self into the show every night. So for me, the show wasn't adding to my stress. it was actually helping to relieve my stress and helping to take away a lot of the pain. When you're up there making that music and you're playing those songs with that group of people, you can't help but feel better. you know?