PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Derek Klena of The Bridges of Madison County

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25 Feb 2014

Derek Klena
Derek Klena

Derek Klena is back on Broadway as Michael in the new musical adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County. He fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Previous theatre credits include Wicked (Fiyero), Dogfight (Eddie Birdlace), Carrie (Tommy), Hairspray, Happy Days, Cinderella, Joseph and Big River.

Full given name: Derek Anthony Klena
Where you were born/where you were raised: West Covina, CA
Zodiac Sign: Libra
What your parents did/do for a living: My mom used to be a teacher and my dad owns a lighting manufacturing company.
Siblings: I have a younger brother named Dillon (15) and a younger sister named Lauren (20). We all grew up singing and acting.
Special skills: Grew up playing many sports, primarily baseball.
Something you're REALLY bad at: I would have to say that I am very bad at anything that involves riding a board, such as skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. My lateral balance is rather challenged.
Current Audition Song: My go-to audition song would have to be “Goodbye” from Catch Me If You Can.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Ironically enough it was Wicked, which also ended up being my Broadway debut!
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? The original casts of Ragtime, Secret Garden or Parade. All huge favorites.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Glass Menagerie or Matilda
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: “New Music” from Ragtime, “Old Red Hills of Home” from Parade
Some favorite modern musicals: Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, Parade, Ragtime
Some favorite classic musicals: Oklahoma!, Singin' in the Rain, Damn Yankees
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Dick Van Dyke
Your personal performance idols, living or dead: Mark Rylance, Norbert Leo Butz, Mandy Patinkin
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: The first time I ever saw Phantom of the Opera when I was little at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. I just remember walking out of the theatre loving theatre and instantly going to buy the soundtrack.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Well I am a tough guy and of course don’t cry… but IF I did have to choose something it would probably be the famous closing song from "Forrest Gump."
MAC or PC? Definitely MAC
Most played song on your iPod: “Wake Me Up”- Avicii
Most-visited websites: Facebook, GILT, YouTube
Last book you read: "Ender’s Game"
Must-see TV show(s): "Breaking Bad," "Modern Family"
Last good movie you saw: "Lone Survivor"
Some films you consider classics: Real Classic Favorites: "Singin' in the Rain," "Sound of Music," "Anchorman," "Good Will Hunting," "Shawshank Redemption," "A Beautiful Mind," "Saving Private Ryan"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Mark Rylance, Mandy Patinkin, Norbert Leo Butz
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Online shopping and
Three favorite cities: NYC, LA and Orange County in general
Favorite sport/team/player: Baseball, Angels, Derek Jeter, and no not because we have the same name!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Not sure but probably Phantom of the Opera
First stage kiss: I think my first stage kiss was when I was playing Tommy Djilas in Music Man when I was 12 or 13.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Probably my most memorable role growing up was Huck in Big River. I got to play the role a few times actually and it really helped me develop as an actor and I learned a lot while playing the role.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I came out to audition for Catch Me If You Can and realized that I actually had a shot. I had always loved and hoped to pursue acting, but that was a big realization experience for me.
How you got your Equity card: I actually got my card through doing Carrie Off-Broadway.


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