Friday, July 15, 2016

Spotlight On...Michael Glavan

Name: Michael Glavan

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Education: Kent State University

Select Credits: Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods, Man in Neil LaBute’s Coax, Reverend Parris in The Crucible, Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees.

Why theater?: In theatre we get to celebrate and cherish the most visceral and potent aspects of our humanity. We love. We destroy. We identify and confront our flaws, and sometimes we are even victorious. It is an art that demands that we all choose death – to take life to it’s nth degree and see out the entire journey. It is a living, reactive battle and nothing could be more human – and I love that. Even in the most unrealistic of settings and circumstance, the communion of people on either side of the proscenium sharing in an experience is such a gift of intimacy and immediacy.  It’s as close as I come to religion.

Who do you play in Ultimate Man!?: Ultimate Man

Tell us about Ultimate Man!: Joe Barino, a third generation comic book/graphic novel writer, struggles to find his voice and purpose in his art.  He is confronted in hilariously literal means by his work, aka the a characters of the Ultimate Man saga, as they jump from their comic world into the “real” world. The plot thickens when the villain, Rex Ringer, puts into action a devious scheme of comic (and currently political) proportions. As the characters fight for the survival of their respective worlds, they discover their own heroic strengths through love, loss, and friendship.

What is it like being a part of Ultimate Man!?: It’s SUPER exciting to be a part of a new work – and especially one that is so joyful.  It’s been a phenomenal privilege to collaborate on this work with this amazing creative team: Chuck Abbot, Alastair William King, and Jane Wilson. They’ve opened their work and their experience up to us and  yet have been so graciously receptive to what this cast has brought to the table – to be so hands on in this work has been hugely energizing – Starbucks quad shot straight to the veins.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theatre that is focused on story regardless of its mode I think has always been most potent to me. I think of how successfully The Woodsman moved me consisting of almost an entirely wordless script; conversely, I think about the crystal clarity of Pearl Theatre Company's production of Midsummer last year where a cast of six performed text heavy Shakespeare production playing all the characters without need for indicative set, costume, or props. Shows that explore greater expanses of the imagination to unravel the journey fully really excite me. Theatre that really trusts an audience to participate and grab for the truth as opposed to being spoon-fed  is always best in my book.  I also think of the Deaf West Spring Awakening  - I don't think a single second of that production was wasted. There was such economy of language in - multiple forms - combined with imaginative and heightened circumstances left me in such awe of a story I was  already very familiar with prior to opening curtain. I get inspiration from anything – people fascinate me.  It’s all valid – we’re all human, and I think that is a necessity in theatre. Side note tho: Tom Stoppard and Caryl Churchill do things to the English language that leave me thinking I should take up smoking.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I would kill to play Lady M, but only in a time and a world where a thematic line of  futility of ambition and corruption driven by thirst for power could, SOMEHOW, be conceived of as a man;  and at the same time the central more conscience-led power of the story, resistant to manipulation and pressures thrust upon them, but is in various and conceivably un just ways forced to do so,  could, SOMEHOW, be portrayed to be a woman.  Don’t get me wrong - I’m not trying to steal any roles from women  - there are a number of roles I am more indicatively type appropriate for – which is unfortunately not a universal truth for everyone. More realistically I’m dying to be either son in Death of Salesman or Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Who could possibly decide - always changing, but always in rotation is a song titled “I Remember” from Sondheim's Evening Primrose. It's haunting yet there's such joy and such loss. It always gets me.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Well if I was working with Lin Manuel Miranda right about now I think I'd be doing pretty well.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself, and what would it be called?: Without any text to explain or cover for the casting choice and certainly nothing to disguise their age - I would want to be portrayed by Maggie Smith - or maybe Meryl Streep playing Maggie Smith playing Michael Glavan circa birth-present. In a lot of ways I feel internally like I've been waiting to be 60 ish since I was four.  I think my roommates and girlfriend could aptly attest to that. In a scene maybe Maggie/Meryl look in a mirror and see Thomas Mann from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – you know, to help clarify for the audience.  And I think it would be called "Howdy." It’s my customary greeting when coming into contact with... anyone (and surely the most sensible greeting for a sarcastic Midwestern kid in his 60s).

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The Visit with Chita and Roger – still so sad I missed it.  I would have loved to have seen Passing Strange live though have certainly watched the filmed copy dozens of times.  I would have loved to been around to see Richard Burton’s Hamlet with Hume Cronyn as Polonius.  Richard L. Sterne’s book documenting the process of that production  was one of my first introductions to Shakespeare and I’m smitten with it.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: American Psycho till I was blue in the face - there has never been anything like it - an installation piece of artwork where set, costume, acting, choreo, direction were all so perfectly in sync bringing to the forefront a story of a powerful economic elite whose criminal actions cloaked in grotesque wealth have no consequence. Inspirational lyrics, innovative mode of story telling, and so poignant to our current state of affairs. It was just such a cohesive beast of stimuli – almost wouldn’t call it musical theatre – but what piece. Blew my mind. Also The Color Purple.  Heather Headley is a masterclass - granted I missed Cynthia, but Bre Jackson crushed it as the understudy the night I saw.  There was something particularly extraordinary in Ms. Headley singing to this young woman (who’s name has not been exploding all over the internet and the Tony’s etc etc.) and telling her that she is beautiful and will be recognized as such. All the levels. All the tears. Perfection.  Can’t wait to see it again with Cynthia, but Ms. Jackson SLAYED.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: The off brand discounted pints of ice cream at the corner store bodegas...  also...maybe ducking into multiple bodegas to get the low down on the varied selections.

What’s up next?: I’m temporarily covering for Stefan in Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man with Matt Murphy Productions at the 777 Theatre.  I’m also writing and collaborating on a view points/movement-heavy based adaption of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.