PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Intelligent Homosexual's Guide Star Michael Esper

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Intelligent Homosexual's Guide Star Michael Esper
Michael Esper, currently appearing in the New York premiere of Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures, fills out's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Michael Esper
Michael Esper Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Esper has appeared on Broadway in the 2008 revival of A Man for All Seasons and the original cast of American Idiot.

Other theatre credits include The Four of Us, Crazy Mary, subUrbia, As You Like It, The Agony and the Agony, Manic Flight Reaction, Big Bill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Me, Myself and I.

Full given name: Michael James Esper
Hometown: Montclair, NJ. I mean Brooklyn.
What your parents do for a living: My parents both teach acting at the William Esper Studio.
Current audition song/monologue: Well I don't really have a stock song or monologue prepared. I did "Boxcar" by Jawbreaker for my American Idiot audition. Or... did you want something funny? Long Day’s Journey? Maybe I should just go.
Special skills:

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.

Something you're REALLY bad at: Fencing. French. And lots of other things.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Maybe Long Day’s Journey or Moon For the Misbegotten with Jason Robards. Any of the O’Neill plays he did. Some of those are on DVD and they're amazing. Duvall in American Buffalo. Ugh, so, so many.
Some favorite contemporary playwrights: Tony Kushner, Nicky Silver, Itamar Moses, Annie Baker, Christopher Shinn 
Favorite Kushner character from a play other than this one: Louis in Angels in America    
Stage or screen stars of the past you would most love to have performed with: Jason Robards, Lee J. Cobb, Gena Rowlands
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: My mother in The Seagull.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: "Two" by The Antlers
Most played song on your iPod: "Two" by The Antlers
Most-visited websites: HipsterRunoff
This American Life
Favorite "Tweeters": Josh Malina
Last book you read: "Night Train" by Martin Amis 
Must-see TV shows: "Breaking Bad"
"The Killing"
Last good movie you saw: "Open Five"
Some films you consider classics: "Repo Man"
"The Great Santini"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: My sister Shannon
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Jersey Shore." It's just filthy and I'm so into it.
Three favorite cities: New York, San Francisco, Galway
Favorite sport/team/player: Derek Jeter. The classiest power forward in the entire NFL.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: This is really tough. I think maybe it was a Winnie the Pooh record with a song about the rain on it. My dad knows it.
Greatest Bands of All Time: (deep breath) Velvet Underground, Big Star, Ramones, Stooges, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, The Fall, The Replacements, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Beach Boys, Bad Brains, Scott Walker, The Nerves... okay this is ridiculous.


Some awesome labels I love: Goner, In The Red, Numero, Mississippi, Slumberland, Kranky, Touch And Go, Sympathy For The Record Industry, Mexican Summer, Crypt, Norton.

First stage kiss: God I wish I could remember this. I remember my first actual kiss. We were playing sardines, hiding out in a garage, I think. After we kissed I felt elated and invincible and immediately tripped over a wheelbarrow.
How you got your Equity card:

I got my Equity card doing a show at Trinity Rep (which was under Oskar Eustis’ direction then) called Henry Flamethrowa by John Belluso. Lisa Peterson directed it and Joanna Adler was in it. I was terrified, and she took such good care of me. She's amazing. So's Lisa. So was John. I was really lucky

Favorite liquid refreshments: It's not a liquid but have you guys had Speculoos? It's like a graham cracker/gingerbread spread? I mean. You guys. Don't be daunted by the gross name. Throw that junk on some baguette and just LIVE IT.
Worst costume ever:  What I dressed myself in for my first "business" meeting after college. Whatever. I panicked. There may have been a scarf involved. I can't be sure. I kind of blacked out.
Most memorable stage door moment at American Idiot: There were too many to recount. Just a lot of unforgettable kindnesses.
Who would play you in the movie? Bela Lugosi, Dolph Lundgren, Nick Cave and Kim Kardashian. Like an "I'm Not There" kind of thing.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: I did a production of Long Day's Journey Into Night in Ireland with James Cromwell that Garry Hynes directed. I'd love to do Edmund again. I love that part so much. Also Biff.
Career you would want if not a performer: Music, I think. Record store owner?
Three things you can't live without: LP's, "The West Wing," Big Star
Words of wisdom for aspiring performers?

Listen. Also, it’s okay to be scared. You can be scared and still do a good job. The less I think about doing a good job, as opposed to just sharing something I love with people, the better off I am. The less about me and the more about this person, this story, this circumstance, the better. Easy to say, but that's the goal. Definitely helps with the being scared.

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