CUE & A REVISITED: What Are Your Special Skills?; 60 Actors Respond
By Playbill Staff
September 28, 2012
The editors of Playbill.com have combed through the past seven years of our popular Cue & A feature to select some of our favorite answers to the question, "What are your special skills?" Sixty responses from Broadway actors follow.
(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor's entry in the Playbill Vault.)
John Gallagher, Jr.
One-hand clapping. The straw trick — which is hard to explain so I'll just show you sometime. I can also dilate my pupils on cue, but I'm beginning to think that may not be the healthiest party favor out there and it might behoove me to cease doing it.
I used to be able to eat a Big Mac in 2 bites...that, and renovating stuff...
Works well with gays
Photo by Robert Mannis
I was a competitive swimmer all growing up. I play the piano and trumpet, and I can make a cooing turtledove sound by blowing into my hands...it's very impressive.
I'm an advanced certified scuba diver! I can also bend my fingers in all sorts of crazy ways. It's not pretty.
I do a sensible Winnie the Pooh imitation, and I can roll my belly. Fun stuff.
Ventriloquism. Except P’s, B’s, and M’s. And clapping with one hand.
Walking right past any gym and heading straight to a cheese shop.
Roller derby. Whistling the opening of Guns 'n' Roses' "Patience" —perfectly. Imitating Cher, Macy Gray, and Michael McDonald — poorly.
I can juggle, I can cheer stunt, milk a cow and I like to do Miranda Sings impressions.
Stage combat, piano, singing (lyric baritone), dance experience, directing, theatre set design and construction, carpentry, horseback riding, various athletics, pregnant stomach
Mary Catherine Garrison
Well, my minor in college was in oil painting, so I paint, draw and create any kind of craft - I make and design stationary, screen-print, sew, create cloth dolls, sew clothes from vintage patterns, cook, bake...I could go on and on. If I can — I will figure out a way to make anything.
Rebecca Naomi Jones
I have some funny characters and voices I like to do, and I can do fun things with my big ol' eyeballs, like close 'em one at a time and other things like that. It's more fun than it sounds, I swear. And accents and dialects.
I'm a goldsmith. I make pretty gold jewelry. Blowtorches and goggles and gold... oh my...
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
I’m very domestic! I love cooking, gardening, painting and throwing pottery. And I think I’m a pretty good mom to my three dogs: Bentley, Rocco and Birdie.
I can communicate almost fluently in ASL (American Sign Language) and I play the piano. I also can make the sound of a baby crying. It’s uncanny.
Bikram yoga, ice skating, flute and burping on cue.
I have this character I do. He's an ornery, inappropriate old man named Morty. Something about the air backstage at the Booth Theatre makes him come alive.
He's become my companion character for Henry in Next to Normal. Without one, the other does not exist.
Laura Michelle Kelly
I can pee in six seconds and eat my food in record-breaking time... um not both at the same time though.
Er... cartwheel while singing a high C?
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Flawless impersonations of celebrity British actors and actresses.
I'm a kick-ass bartender. It's a very special skill around 5 PM!
I can make fart noises with my hands. Hugh Panaro can, I'm told, actually play fart tunes with his hands. I'm not that good yet.
I can turn any genuine moment into a sarcastic one in the blink of an eye.
Also play piano, guitar, rollerblade and play a mean third base in softball.
I don't know... I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Sometimes mid-sentence. Embarrassing.
The ability to turn any Baltimore Ravens game into either the reason I continue to live or the end of life as I know it.
I have a pretty decent Idina Menzel impression up my sleeve.
Rachel de Benedet
I can wiggle my nose. I watched a lot of "Bewitched" reruns after school.
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
I play guitar. And I fence. Or I did in high school. I'm better at guitar than I am at fencing. Which is, actually, not saying that much?
I bet I could still fence though. I could get into it again. But like underground, you know? Street fencing. Like fight club but with foils and French.
Other than the mainstream impersonations I did on "MADtv," I wish I had been able to do my random ones... like Andie MacDowell or Philip Seymour Hoffman.
I can bend my fingers in ways that suggest I'm missing tendons.
I can twirl a rifle, walk on a beach ball, play the piccolo and chop kindling. That's just a sample.
Caren Lyn Tackett
I'm a wife and mother. I was a Senior Level figure skater, which was my ENTIRE life from age 5 - 18.
I play bass (to write songs, not to play out or achieve Verdine White status). I write songs and theatre pieces. I knit pretty well. Also pretty good at sports. I make a mean apple pie, and I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
I love to cook and have found that I'm actually very good at it. I'm studying a lot of French-style cooking right now.
Gotta love the special skills. Playing the cello was the reason I got my big break in the revival of Sweeney Todd. I also play ukulele, guitar, bass, a bit of piano, saxophone, percussion. I just got a mandolin and I'm excited to improve.
I can do a variety of dialects, and speak French, some Spanish and Italian. I don't know if these count, but I paint, draw, do yoga, bike, rollerblade and surf.
Vocal percussion… I was a professional beat-boxer for a year or two. No kidding.
Photo by Simon Perry
I just learned how to say "Hey ladies, what're we doing for lunch?" in Korean.
So "Speaks Korean." Obviously.
I can do accents, play basketball, I can whistle loud without using my fingers, I can bike in rush hour traffic, I speak Spanish and can butcher French, and I can order in Italian. Good with guns. I can compost. I can box.
Not a lot of special skills. I can still do a bit of "roping" from being in Oklahoma! And, I guess I can say "tap dancing upside down," which will be super useful in the future, I'm sure.
Motorcycle license, fire breathing, crying hysterically while making everyone very nervous for my life.
Running in heels, "instant" headstand, lecturing fellow subway riders about how to ride the train the right way (hello!! I am still in the doorway, would you please keep moving? You have got to be frickin' kidding me!)
Fixing beds, saving myself at the last minute.
Arm pit farts, hand farts AND the lesser-known knee farts.
I can clap with one hand. Take that Zen!
I am very good with dialect work, and am excellent with animals. I am a proficient horseback rider, I am comfortable with a 9mm pistol, I am an excellent baseball scorekeeper, and I can cry for as many takes as you need.
Lariat trick roping, guitar, drums, piano, creepiness
I can't sight-read music, so I've been able to train my brain to learn music quickly, which ends up having an equally positive effect in life.
I'm able to pick things up quickly and for some unknown reason, it doesn't go away. I'm stuck with most of the information I obtain and it's pretty hard to get it to go away. In the same vain, I also have exceptional random trivia knowledge.
I can play the guitar and the dulcimer and sing old country folk songs. I make challah, and I'm getting better at reading Hebrew.
Hmm. I feel like anything I say will inevitably make me sound like a tool. LOL. I play a ton of instruments, babies love me, and I make mean grilled cheese sandwich.
I have some nifty levitation tricks up my sleeve, thanks to Carrie.
Well, I wouldn't call it special exactly, but I like to think I know how to handle Shakespeare's text. It’s really what I enjoy working on most. Well, that and REALLY shticky comedy. And sometimes both at the same time!
Dance (mostly Fosse and tap... I'm crap at ballet), physical comedy. And for some really weird reason I can do impressions of people eating. Everyone eats in really different and interesting ways. It's always fascinated me. I have no idea why.
Aside from things theatre and music (I've written a couple of musicals that have been professionally produced - I love to compose and "noodle"), I knit and I love trying to learn languages. Am working on a new sweater, and both Cantonese and Mandarin. Growing up on the west coast, all my friends from high school are either Chinese or Jewish. Made for good eating.
I’m a pretty damn good soccer player.
I taught myself how to skateboard a couple years ago when I was living in L.A. I apparently missed out on that when I was in middle school. Next up: hacky sack.
Cooking, downhill skiing. Throwing parties. I love a good party. It's all in the activities.
Singing off-pitch and my "Rambo Dance." For an example of the dance, check out the Anything Goes "That's What Makes You Beautiful" video online. It's in the first 10 seconds or so.