Friday, April 5, 2013

Spotlight On...Christian Borle

Name: Christian Borle

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Education: Carnegie Mellon University

Favorite Credits: I’ve been very very lucky, so when I look at what I’ve been able to do, they’re all pretty damn sweet.

Why theater?: I think I was just lucky to get the bug really early. My parents took me to the theater when I was at a really impressionable age. I even remember being in London when I was twelve, and we saw West Side Story on the West End. And I really didn’t even know what I was getting into, I just remember getting absolutely swept away by it. And then being lucky enough to fall into that sweet clique in high school. There was really no going back. It was a joyous, fantastic experience finding that group of people.

Tell us about your experience on “Smash”: It has been such a fantastic life-changing experience. As we kinda wait to see what’s going to happen with it, but also looking at the reality of the numbers, I’m looking at it as, so far, an incredible two years of my life. I feel lucky. The people have just been incredible. It has been surprisingly similar to the theater experience, that we all become a family. And you have your routines with everybody, and your rituals. So that part has been a lovely surprise.

How has the transition from stage to screen been?:
It’s been fun trying to figure it out. It is different. It’s just a different set of tools, a different set of muscles, in terms of how you pace yourself and how you need to prepare. I watched the people who have been doing it for a long time and listen to the people on the crew, who were incredibly helpful. My friend Jeff, who is the Camera A operator, was so close to the action, he was the one who kinda coached me the most about the technique of acting on camera. Technically, it’s a fun, different challenge. I think I got better at it as I went along. I can still see, like the fear in my face the first six episodes of season 1. As with anything, with a little bit of experience, you start to get more relaxed.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: This is going to sound pretentious, I really have come to respect, in equal measure, people who are brave and people who show restraint as well. I know people are going to roll their eyes after my performance in Peter and the Starcatcher when I say that, but there was a method to that non-restraint and that character that I thought was essential to the whole Captain Hook legend. I like to think that in times I have not been playing Black Stache I’ve shown a little bit of restraint. That right now is what’s exciting.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’m bad at this question I think. The only role that I truly, in my childhood and high school dreams, because I know it backwards and forwards because it’s always been my favorite musical, is some bizarre version of Sweeney Todd, where he doesn’t have to be 6’2” with a lantern jaw and have a voice like Len Cariou. Who says Benjamin Barker couldn’t have been a little slighter when he went off to prison.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with Mike Nichols again. I would love to work with Rick Elice again. Flaherty and Ahrens. William Finn I would follow anywhere. I’m really curious to work with David Cromer. I’d like to be in a room with Mark Rylance and see what that’s all about. And at some point in the future, I would love to work with my ex-wife. I think that would be fun. That’s maybe a little while down the road. That’s about it for now.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Hmm. It kind of depends. There are sentimental choices, which are songs that I wouldn’t necessarily put on the stereo just to listen to. That’s basically the original cast recording of Oklahoma, up to and including “Many a New Day.” When I kinda decided to narrow my iPod selection to not have all my showtunes when I was on shuffle, I basically got rid of all my original cast recordings and put them in a separate playlist. But the one showtune that I kept in with all the other regular pop music was “The I Love You Song” from Spelling Bee, Celia singing like an angel.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Now, it’s the television show “Scandal.” I cannot stop with “Scandal.” I actually think it’s amazing television, and yet it feels guilty to me. It’s amazing. I think what that show’s doing is pretty incredible.

Where’s your Tony?: On my mantel.

What’s next?:
I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m looking for work. So I’m just kind of waiting to see. I feel like I’m in a lucky position because it’s been a great time. “Smash” has been wonderful to me. And obviously the last few years with Peter and the Starcatcher and the Tony. It affords you a certain amount of wiggle room, particularly in the theater, which feels great. It’s a lovely place to be and it shouldn’t be poo-pooed. I’m feeling optimistic. But also you’re a human being so I’m a little freaked out not having something immediately. But we’ll see what comes around.

You can catch Christian on "Smash", Saturdays at 9/8c on NBC!

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