PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Women on the Verge's Danny Burstein

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Women on the Verge's Danny Burstein
Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein, who plays the wisdom-dispensing taxi driver in Broadway's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, fills out's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Danny Burstein
Danny Burstein

Burstein has appeared on Broadway in Saint Joan, The Seagull, Three Men on a Horse, A Little Hotel on the Side, The Flowering Peach, A Class Act, Titanic and Company. He also played Billis in South Pacific and Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone, receiving Tony nominations for both performances.

His screen credits include HBO’s "Boardwalk Empire," "Transamerica," "Duane Incarnate," "Deception," "Law & Order," "Louie" and "Absolutely Fabulous." He is married to actress Rebecca Luker.

Full given name: Daniel Burstein. I don't have a middle name.
Hometown: New York, New York. So good they named it twice.
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Special skills: 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.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Can't remember, but the first show I remember having an impact was A Chorus Line.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Hamlet with Richard Burton and The Music Man with Robert Preston.
Stage or screen star of the past you would most love to have performed with: Spencer Tracy. Always been my favorite actor. Simple. Honest. Didn't talk about it, just did it.
Current show you have been recommending to friends: Angels in America and Next to Normal.
Favorite showtune: "Some Enchanted Evening." Always has been.
The one performance - attended - that you will never forget:

Dreamgirls. It was on the TKTS booth, and the show I [originally planned] to see was sold out. I reluctantly walked in the door. I was blown away forever. Brilliantly directed and choreographed. Wonderfully written and beautifully performed. And I also have to mention the original production of The Normal Heart. It was an event. It was more than just a play, it was an experience. I was angry. So sad. Devastated. It was a call to arms. I will never forget it.

Most played song on your iPod: "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles
Most-visited websites: New York Times and New York Yankees websites
Last book you read: "Kazan On Directing"
Last good movie you saw: "Annie Hall." I never go to the movies, isn't that ridiculous? Oh wait, I saw "Precious" (because SAG sent me a copy) and enjoyed that.
Some films you consider classics: "Raging Bull
"Pride of the Yankees"
"Singing In the Rain"
Must-see TV shows: "Boardwalk Empire" and "Louie"
Pop-culture guilty pleasure: I LOVE Steven Seagal movies because they're so horribly bad that I just sit there and giggle. I just sit there and can't turn them off. Crazy, right?
Performers you would drop everything to go see:

Adam Duritz, because he's one of the best songwriters out there. Rebecca Luker, because her voice is so glorious. She opens her mouth and her beautiful heart falls out.

Favorite cities: New York. London. Newark.


Okay, I'm kidding about the last one.

Favorite sport or athlete: I grew up here in NYC and my family has always been loyal to the Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: First CD I ever bought was Luther Vandross' Greatest Hits. Still a favorite.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Og in Finian's Rainbow and Frank in Merrily We Roll Along. Both at Queens College.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:

The first day of school at the (original) High School Performing Arts on 46th Street. Jerry Eskow, the head of the Drama Department, said, "If you don't want to be an actor for the rest of your life and with every fiber of your being, you should probably walk out that door right now." I stayed. I never dreamed it was possible to make a living as an actor before that moment.

How you got your Equity card: I was hired by my teacher & mentor, Edward M. Greenberg, to be in the chorus of The Music Man at the St. Louis MUNY. It starred Jim Dale and Pam Dawber. That summer at the MUNY also included Funny Girl (with Juliet Prowse and Larry Kert) and Sleeping Beauty. One of the best summers of my young life.
Favorite post-show meal: A burger and a beer at Joe Allen's.
Favorite liquid refreshment: During the show I drink copious amounts of hot water with honey. An after show drink? A pint of Bass or a nice glass of wine.
Pre-performance rituals or warm-ups: I have a foam roller and I stretch on that. I also do a vocal-warm up, as well, taught to me by Tony Randall.
Favorite fast food/junk food: Stokes has a big basket of chocolate outside of his dressing room that he fills everyday. He is making me fat.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I was onstage in a very poorly received production of The Seagull. The actor playing Dr. Dorn had an aside to the audience, "People are boring!" One night an audience member yelled back, "Not THIS boring!" Funny now.
Worst costume ever:

I wore a hubcap strapped to my otherwise bare chest in a play in grad school at UCSD. I was playing Chango, the Sun God (of course I was). I wore white parachute pants, had gold arm bands, a head band and beads. When I walked out on stage a women in the audience yelled, "Oh My GOD!" I knew exactly how she felt.

Or perhaps it was the time I wore nothing but a thin, black thong, a few leather straps across my chest and a leather helmet with zippers over my face in a play at Playwrights' Horizons. No one yelled anything that time... but they should have.

Worst job you've ever had:

I dressed as a giant string bean handing out flyers in Rockefeller Center for the Beanstalk Restaurant to make money during high school. I was also a dancing ghoul behind Elvira in an industrial for Coors. Lots of drunk people yelling and hooting and vomiting. A nightmare.

Who would play you in the movie? Julia Roberts
If you could adopt a sibling who would it be? Hunter and Sutton Foster
Favorite screen or television role: I am proud of my work in "Transamerica" playing Felicity Huffman's doctor at the beginning of the film. I enjoyed playing Martin on "Ab Fab"- (those gals taught me so much). And recently, I played a Staten Island father on an episode of "Louie" which I thought didn't suck.
Coolest video game character you have voiced: Darius Fontaine in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas"
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What edition?

Been on all three. Always had a good time. I had the recurring role of a judge. What a great place to work. Still brokenhearted over the loss of the original. Fondest memory? Singing show tunes between takes with Jerry Orbach. I love my life.

Career you'd have if you weren't a performer: Teacher. Both my parents are teachers and I can think of no finer or more important profession.
Something about you that surprises people: Spanish is my first language.
Three things you can't live without: Alex, Zach and Becca
"I'll never understand why..." ...people choose hate.
Words of wisdom for aspiring performers? It's about doing good work. Every night.
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