PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: How to Succeed's Christopher J. Hanke

Cue and A   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: How to Succeed's Christopher J. Hanke
Christopher J. Hanke, currently playing Bud Frump in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, fills out's offbeat questionnaire.

Christopher J. Hanke
Christopher J. Hanke

Hanke has previously appeared on Broadway as Mark in Rent, J.T. in In My Life and Baldwin in Cry-Baby.

Other theatre work includes Claude in Hair, Buddy Baxter in Golden Age, Eddie in Indian Blood, Alvin in The Story of My Life, Tom Sawyer in Deaf West's Big River and the national tour of The Full Monty.

Full given name: Christopher Jason Hanke (even though Wikipedia says my middle name is Julian, it's not. Don't believe the online lies!)
Hometown: Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Current audition song/monologue:

I don't find myself auditioning for projects where I have to provide my own material much these days. And I miss that actually. I usually just jump right into the play's audition scenes or show's songs provided by the casting office. They just cut to the chase. "Does he have a grasp on this character or not?!" Usually it's "not." End of meeting.

Special skills: Organizing. Like Container Store-style.
Something you're REALLY bad at:

Planning ahead. I'm a very last-minute kind of guy.  

First Broadway show you ever saw: Les Miserables with Lea Michele as Young Cosette. I have the Playbill to prove it. I recently told her this story and we laughed about it.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Not to play favorites, but I'd love to have seen How to Succeed... with Charles Nelson Reilly as Bud Frump.
Three favorite musicals: The Light in the Piazza, Spring Awakening and... wait for it... Starlight Express!


Oh, and I'm not kidding. I studied in London and this was the first big musical I ever saw. Years later, I auditioned to play Rusty for the German production and got it! But I chose a job here in the States instead. Big mistake.

Music that makes you cry, any genre:

1990s Christian music. So inspiring and uplifting! I grew up on that. It brings me back to home when things get rough.  

Your personal vocal idols: Maybe this is weird, but any animated Disney voice!
Most played song on your iPod: The only iPod I have was an opening night gift from In My Life and it's still in its box. Whoops. Is that lame?! It probably looks like a flip cell phone! Obsolete!
Most-visited websites: Gilt Groupe. BE-WARE!
Must-see TV shows: "Hoarders." Doesn't get any better than that!
Some films you consider classics: "Where Eagles Dare." No one knows this movie, but it is such a great World War II spy movie.
Three favorite cities: London, Barcelona and Los Angeles (my home!)
Favorite sport/team/player: Novak Djokovic, one of the world's top ranked tennis players!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Well, I can't remember that, but I do remember the only concert I was "allowed" to go to as a kid was The Pointer Sisters Reunion Tour. And let me tell you, I was INTO IT!
First stage kiss: Jenn Gambatese in the tour of Fame several years ago. She's got great lips.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I was in London watching a play on the West End, I knew that was the job for me.
How you got your Equity card: Casa Manana in Fort Worth, Texas. I was Doody in Grease. I reacted with the most joy and excitement ever getting this job. That's how much getting my Equity card meant to me. I was waiting tables at Houston's in Dallas, Texas, and I ran outside and jumped up and down!
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Pre-show is mostly Subway, baby. Six-inch turkey with tons of veggies.
Favorite liquid refreshment: I love a simple refreshing club soda with lots of ice. Bubbly and clean. My favorite Mexican restaurant always knows, even if I order a margarita, make sure to bring the club soda chaser.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: A shower. Hands down. Need to cleanse my day once I get to the theatre. I love a pre-show shower! Post-show, too, cause I'm a sweater!
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:

That would be my Saturday matinee performance as Mark in the 2007 production of Rent, when my mother was in the audience. I jumped up onto the steel table to begin "La Vie Boheme," and my boot clipped the table, which threw my mindset and I could not for the life of me remember the lyrics of that section of the song ("To days of inspiration...")! Well, that song is such a patter-filled, quick-worded story-telling "toast," if you will, that once I derailed, I could not get back on. So, I decided to do a retrospective dance from the 50s to the 90s while ad-libbing lines like, "Hey Benny, it's your restaurant, and we're taking it over!"

LAME, Hanke, LAME! And the worst part, I had the entire cast behind me sitting at the table and NOT A SINGLE PERSON could remember the lyrics either. Fired. All of them. But mostly me!

Worst costume ever: A gold metallic blazer that I wore in college in a play where my character died and went to heaven. I remember a critic writing, "this kid over-acted his way to heaven." Oh, yeah, Mr. Critic, how do you know what it's like to go to heaven, huh? How?!
Worst job you ever had: See worst costume ever.
Who would play you in the movie? Samantha Ronson
Favorite screen or commercial gigs:

A top secret commercial I shot this year for a big company. I was fired the day before the shoot, then re-hired two days later, then shot the commercial after signing hundreds of legal documents... and then the commercial never aired. I wish I could tell what it was for, but I'm afraid for my life!

Favorite experience from filming "Big Love":

Hanging out with Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ginnifer Goodwin on set in between filming was surreal and inspiring. They are three Southerners (like me!) and had the greatest stories, especially Bill. I've been a fan of that show for a long time, so the experience was a huge honor.

Leading man role you've been dying to play: Mozart in Amadeus (with Geoffrey Rush!)
Something about you that surprises people: I'm kind of a loner, not something I'm proud of. 2011 is working towards letting more people in.
Career you would want if not a performer: Director. I still may do this one day. Like Clint Eastwood or Ben Affleck. They act and direct. Not that I'm comparing myself to these two chaps, but a dude can dream.
Three things you can't live without: Blistex, Diet Coke and Chips-n-Salsa
Words of wisdom for aspiring performers?

Bet on yourself. A couple of years ago I was going to move to L.A. and I needed to get a car, but I was nervous about committing to the move and the logistics. My father said to me, "Bet on yourself, son, get the car and trust your gifts." I did exactly that and my third audition, I booked the television show "Three Rivers."

So, aspiring singers, actors, dancers, or combos of those — bet on yourself!

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