PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Golden Boy's Daniel Jenkins

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25 Dec 2012

Daniel Jenkins
Daniel Jenkins

Tony Award nominee Daniel Jenkins, who appears in the role of Barker in the current revival of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy at the Belasco Theatre, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Past Broadway credits include Billy Elliot, Mary Poppins, Wrong Mountain, Big (Drama Desk nomination), Angels in America and Big River (Tony nomination).

He has appeared on screen in "O.C. and Stiggs" (dir. Robert Altman), "Tanner ’88," "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial," "Joshua," "Cradle Will Rock," "Glory," "In Country," "What Comes Around," "Infested," "The Perfect You" and "Five Corners."


Full given name: Daniel Jenkins
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in Manhattan. Raised in Kentucky and Ohio. Go figure, y'all!
Zodiac Sign:Capricorn
What your parents did/do for a living:My dad's still acting: Ken Jenkins - best known as "Dr. Kelso" on "Scrubs."

My mother, Joan Patchen was an artist, teacher and activist. My stepmother Katharine Houghton is a writer and actor.

Siblings:Older: Matthew. Younger: Joshua. Both: better looking.

Matthew is a musician living in Chicago and Joshua is a best boy in L.A.

Current audition song/monologue: An old Sondheim tune on the ukelele. Fun to play, but I'm not sure what it's like to listen to...
Special skills: I play a bunch of instruments, lacking mastery in any of them.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Tap dancing. I love to attempt it, but I look a bit like a junkie being shot at.
First Broadway show you ever saw: A Chorus Line with my high school class
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out? My dad, of course. Watching him play Hamlet, Cyrano, McMurphy. But my high school drama teachers were huge in my life - Becky Brunsman and Suzanne Grote. They gave me an enormous sense of belonging and validation. Forever grateful.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Wow. Hmmm. I think of the original Odets, Miller, O'Neill pieces... but I would have loved to see Carol Burnett in Once Upon a Mattress. (Is it redundant to say we did it in high school?)
Current or recent shows you recommended to friends: Pig Pen's The Old Man and the Old Moon
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: I love how weird and cool "My Time of Day" from Guys and Dolls is. And absolutely everything from Ain't Misbehavin' - Fats Waller is genius. And so is Randy Newman. And of course, Mr. Sondheim, who I will spend the rest of my life just discovering the first layer of...
Some favorite modern musicals: I loved Light in the Piazza, Caroline or Change, Spring Awakening and Once
Some favorite classic musicals: Guys and Dolls
West Side Story
Some favorite modern playwrights: Russell Davis, Nicky Silver, Athol Fugard, Tony Kushner
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Ethel Merman - so I could tell some good stories. Dustin Hoffman - to see his grin in person. But truly, I love and learn so much from the amazingly gifted people I actually get to work with -- I am hugely fortunate.
Your personal vocal or acting idols, living or dead: Well, my dad is hard to beat. But there is rarely a time when I go to the theatre and don't come away thinking, "How do they do that?!"
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: James Earl Jones and Mary Alice in Fences. I moved downstairs for the second act and was blown away.

And - my dad again - watching Cuckoo's Nest as a youngster. I couldn't stand up for the ovation because I was so affected by it.

Music that makes you cry, any genre: Classical guitar. I learned a little and played my boys to sleep when they were younger, but I was crying even before then...
MAC or PC? MAC. Since you had to wind one up.
Most played song on your iPod: Probably something by Randy Newman. "Shame" perhaps.
Most-visited websites: I'm a NY guy. I love watching the Mark Bittman cooking videos.
Last book you read: "Gypsy Boy" by Mikey Walsh
Last good movie you saw: I enjoyed "Argo," but I have a lot of movies to catch up on.
Some films you consider classics: I love Bergman, Hitchcock, Preston Sturgess... So many more.
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Ha if we're talking "guilty," then probably Beyonce or Ke$ha. Also "Jersey Shore" and Randy Newman is a favorite. If there was a triple bill with him, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, I'd mortgage the apartment.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Nicki Minaj. Just so wonderfully out there.
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