Monday, January 9, 2017

Spotlight On...Austin Pendleton

Name: Austin Pendleton

Hometown: Warren, OH

Education: Yale School of Drama

Select Credits: Broadway in the revival of The Diary of Anne Frank and Off-Broadway in the title roles of Hamlet, Richard III and Richard II.  Film: "A Beautiful Mind"

Why theater?:  I love working in the theater.

Who do you play in Consider the Lilies?: Paul, a painter.

Tell us about Consider the Lilies: it's about a relationship between the painter Paul and his young agent, David.  Paul and David are very close. David wants to be close to Paul in one way.  Paul wants to be close in another way.  This keeps them bound together and then tears them apart in the worst possible way.  There are vividly drawn other characters as well, all of them in one way or another drawn into the whirlpool of what's going on between Paul and David.

What is it like being a part of Consider the Lilies?: It's exciting  It's a complex, rich, beautifully dramatized play.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Just about any kind of theater that is realized in any way on the page speaks to me.  What or who inspires me as an artist?  Anybody who's good and who really cares about the work.  I mean, the list?  I could go on for hours.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: When I was quite young I lost a part I desperately wanted and was sure I was going to get.  When I didn't get I realized I couldn't pursue this line of work if I ever let myself want a specific part that much again.  I nearly swayed from that twice, with parts I got close to getting (Mozart in Amadeus, Ned Weeks in The Normal Heart, in their original New York productions) but I managed to steady the ship and avoided that, you know, actor despair, and those experiences only strengthened the resolve I'd made never to get into that kind of thinking again.  So what I do is take a part that's offered me and try to invest it with that kind of passion.

What’s your favorite show tune?:  I love, like, a lot of Rodgers and Hammerstein.  Or Bernstein.  Or Sondheim.  Or Bernstein and Sondheim.  Or Harnick and Bock.  Or Cryer and Ford.  I better stop now.  I'll keep you up all night.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Again, I don't want to get into that.  I want to get really into whoever I'm asked to work with.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself, and what would it be called?:  I think it would be a silly idea to make a fictional movie about me, so I've never thought about that.  (There is a 20-minute documentary about me that just came out recently.  I stayed out of that, because I felt any suggestions I made would be appalling corrupt, so my only contribution to it is to be interviewed.  They got wonderful interviews from wonderful people in that: those people talked not only about me (thank God) but about what it's like to be in this business, what it costs, and the glory of it nonetheless.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: This answer is by no means particular to me but: Laurette Taylor in The Glass Menagerie.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Band's Visit, and (if it were still playing) The Gabriels.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Please!

What’s up next?: King Lear (the title role) at the Secret Theatre.  This proves that I am crazy.