Saturday, October 5, 2019

Spotlight On...Peter Levine

Name: Peter Levine

Hometown: Brooklyn

Education: B.A., M.A. in History, Columbia, Phd History, Rutgers

Favorite Credits: As an actor, Marc in ART, Willie Clark in The Sunshine Boys, Roy Cohn in Angels in America, and Max Gelman in my new play Apple, Table Penny

Why theater?: I had a first career as a professor of American History at Michigan State University- wrote a lot of books, loved teaching but started acting there with the Theatre Dept’s MFA program and got hooked.  I took an early retirement, moved back to Brooklyn with my wife, got my Equity card in 2002, and have been acting and writing plays ever since.  For me it is a passion – something I crave to do.

Tell us about Apple, Table, Penny?: The play tells the story of Max Gelman, a frustrated Borscht Belt comedian,  who often neglected his roles as husband and father to follow his dream. But now something's wrong. He's been acting strangely and his wife and children are concerned. So is he.Could it be Alzheimer’s? Complete with jokes, the occasional song, and a cast of characters that includes Carmen Miranda and Jackie Gleason, Apple, Table, Penny showcases generational struggles, the special love between a grandfather and his granddaughter, and coming to terms with the inevitable that awaits us all.

What inspired you to write Apple, Table, Penny?: Who knows where inspiration comes from? I try to write what I know best with the hope that concentrating on the specific kinds of people and the worlds they inhabit that I most familiar with, still allows me speak to universal questions and themes.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: My tastes are eclectic. In terms of theatre, always Tony Kushner and Arthur Miller – Paul Simon has been with me since he first began to perform.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: There are so many people I have yet to work with that I wouldn’t know where to begin.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Angels in America

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Gene Wilder, but alas he is dead!

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original production of Death of a Salesman

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I don’t know about guilt, but spending time with my two grandchildren, Ben and Lily

If you weren’t working in theater, you would ______?: Be the best grandfather ever

What’s up next?: I am writing a play with a friend about the end of the Trump presidency. Hopefully, he will be gone, before we finish it.