THEATERMANIA: Is this your first professional experience with She Loves Me?
VICTOR GARBER: No, it was my first professional job in Toronto. I was in the ensemble and the understudy for Arpad. So I have great nostalgia for this show.
TM: Could you imagine back then that someday you would play Mr. Maraczek?
VG: I certainly didn't think it would be this fast. Scott Ellis, who is directing this show, asked me to do Kodaly about 20 years ago for the Roundabout, and I wouldn't do it. But this is a much easier role. I sing one song and I don't have to dance. And it's a wonderful part; he's the owner of the perfume shop, and all these interesting people come in. It's sweet and dramatic, and I am loving doing it.
TM: Tell me about working with this cast.
VG: I sat through the first read-through on Sunday and it was just daunting to be around these amazing people. Kelli O'Hara and I recently did Knickerbocker Holiday together and the thing is, when Kelli opens her mouth, you just wonder how that happens. I think this is a perfect role for her. I worked with Jane Krakowski on 30 Rock, and she's just perfection as Ilona. Michael McGrath and I did Follies together at Encores, and he's just great. And there are the people I haven't worked with before. I think Gavin Creel is astonishingly good, and Rory O'Malley is ridiculously talented. And yes, I am sucking up to him to get his house seats for The Book of Mormon if it's the last thing I do.
TM: As a rule, do you enjoy doing these one-night benefits?
VG: I don't always like doing them; they're kind of stressful and nerve-wracking. But Scott Ellis is one of my best friends, and I can't refuse him anything -- except playing Kodaly 20 years ago. I did A Little Night Music with him for the Roundabout, and that was such a special evening. He really is a genius about putting these things together. And the Roundabout is very important to me -- it's where I did Present Laughter -- and I do whatever I can to help them.
TM: Have the show's creators been involved in the benefit?
VG: Sheldon Harnick [the show's lyricist] and his wife Margie, who are old friends, showed up the other day, and Joe Masteroff [the show's librettist] was at our read-through. They're royalty, and of course, everything feels heightened when the creators are in the room. So I was so pleased that our read-through couldn't have gone better; that could have been the performance.
TM: So, are you ready to tackle a Broadway musical again for real?
VG: No, I don't think I could do eight shows a week of a musical. And I am not sure what show I could really do at this point in my career. The one thing I even considered a couple of years ago was doing My Fair Lady, and I know that after Knickerbocker Holiday, someone suggested Kelli and I should do it. But at this moment, I think it's too hard. Doing Present Laughter eight shows a week nearly killed me.
TM: So what are you doing next?
VG: I am not sure. Right now, I have nothing in January. But the way my life has always worked is someone comes up with something, and if it's someone I want to work with, then I say let's do it. That's the way it always happens. I'm open to lots of things, but I'd really like to stay in New York.