PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: King Lear's Frank Wood

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08 Nov 2011

Frank Wood
Frank Wood
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award winner Frank Wood, currently appearing as Cornwall in the Public Theater's new staging of King Lear, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

He has previously appeared on Broadway in Born Yesterday, August: Osage County, Hollywood Arms and Side Man, earning Tony and Drama Desk Awards for the latter performance.

Other theatre work includes Clybourne Park, Spring Awakening and Roy Cohn in the recent New York revival of Angels in America.

Screen work includes "Changeling," "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," "Dan in Real Life," "Thirteen Days," "Pollock," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Flight of the Conchords," "The Sopranos" and "Law & Order."



Full given name: Frank Randolph Wood

My married name is Frank Randolph Gayner-Wood. I married Kay Gayner in 2009.

Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and raised there with a three-year stint in Washington DC from 1965 to 1968. I went away to high school in Williamstown, MA, when I was fifteen.
Zodiac Sign:Taurus
What your parents did/do for a living:My mother was at home when I was young but later worked as teacher and coordinator of educational programs.

My dad was an M.I.T. professor in political science who helped to create, and then served in, the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Johnson administration.

He later worked as the president of the University of Massachusetts and the superintendent of the Boston Public School system. For ten years he was a government professor at Wesleyan University where I was already a junior in 1983.

Where you studied acting: I studied acting at Wesleyan University and the New York University Graduate Acting Program.

Current audition song/monologue: I am still dragging Cassius' "...I know that virtue to be in you Brutus..." speech around. And I will sing "Stardust" if anybody wants me to.

Special skills: The special skills I list are Juggling and Tennis. I am not particularly good at either of them.

Something you're REALLY bad at: Poker
First Broadway show you ever saw: I saw a touring show of Godspell in Boston.

But the first show I saw on Broadway was Agnes of God with Amanda Plummer, Geraldine Page and Elizabeth Ashley at the Music Box.

If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? I would like to see the original Nicholas Nickleby or Eleonora Duse in something.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: I would recommend Mary Poppins and War Horse.
Some favorite musicals: My favorite musicals are Threepenny Opera, Urinetown and Guys and Dolls.
Favorite classical plays: The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and Measure for Measure
Stars of the past or present you would most love to perform with: I would have liked to have performed with James Dean, Harvey Korman, Mel Blanc and Paul Scofield.
Your personal acting idols, living or dead: Acting idols include Daniel Day Lewis, Meryl Streep, Imelda Stanton, Elaine Stritch, Sean Penn, all of the women in Pedro Almovodar movies, Paul Scofield, John Cazale and Julie Harris.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Pachelbel
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: I don’t have an iPod.
Most-visited website: The Actors Federal Credit Union website.
Last book you read: “I Was a Dancer” by Jacques d'Amboise
Must-see TV shows: I have to watch “Modern Family” and “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report.” “Prime Suspect” is my current favorite drama.
Some films you consider classics: I think "Five Corners" with John Turturro, Jodie Foster and Tim Robbins should be a classic.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: I like the Pina Colada song.
Favorite cities: Boston, San Francisco and New York
Favorite sport/team/player: Sport: Soccer
Team: Red Sox
Player: Raphael Nadal
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: My first record might have been Donovan's "Sunshine Superman," but the first record I remember asking for is Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions."
First stage kiss: The first kiss I can remember is within Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July as Ken Talley. I kissed Leon Brown who played my boyfriend Jed.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: The central character in Jules Feiffer's Crawling Arnold.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I know I wanted to act when I saw my sister play Puck in excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream when I was in sixth or seventh grade.
How you got your Equity card: In a production of Horton Foote's The Traveling Lady at the People's Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Before a show it is Juice Generation, usually a Peanut Butter Split.

After a show I usually go home. But if I do go out it's red wine and pasta at Cafe Un Deux Trois.

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I warm up by riding my bicycle to the show and then doing yoga stretches, or I walk to the theatre or climb whatever set of stairs I can find.

Sometimes I climb over the seats in the house row by row and then do exercises from the back of a book that my wife showed me. I always run through some tongue twisters and resonator warm ups. Sometimes I do a full-on set of yoga for an hour or so.

Most challenging role you have ever played: Roy Cohn in Angels in America.
Worst costume ever: Black burlap sack
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What editions? I was a fertility clinic doctor in an episode of the original series, and then I was in "Criminal Intent" as an actor pretending to be a British lord.
The one Shakespearean role you would most like to take on: I would like to play Angelo in Measure for Measure, and I want to be funny and middle aged Hamlet.
Leading lady role you wish you could play: I would like to try Lady Macbeth.
Something about you that surprises people: I was good at softball
Something you are incredibly proud of: My sisters!
Career you would want if not a performer: I would liked to have been a painter.
"I'll never understand why…" ... President Obama accepted the line that we have to cut spending and repeated it as if it was the most important policy concern.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Worst advice: "If you can do something else, do it."

It’s not true. Acting is something to discover and encourage.