Yet, this is the second time O'Hurley has made time to play the royally funny role. Prior to embarking on the tour in mid-April, he spent two years singing and dancing in the 90-minute "light" version of the show at the Grail Theatre at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel. That's a lot of performances to keep things fresh, but according to O'Hurley it's not a tough job.
"The show has so many moving parts that on any given night something else is going on," he says. "And then I always make one promise to myself before going onstage, and that is that I'm going to surprise myself sometime during the evening. I don't know when it is, I don't know where it is, but if I go on stage with that type of openness and that attitude then something new will always happen."
O'Hurley first saw the show on Broadway while he was working nearby playing slippery slick lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago. "I would take the time and go see all the other shows that I really liked on Broadway, and one of them was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I was all set, under contract, to go back and do that, but the show closed," he recalls. "The other one was Spamalot. It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen on stage. I mean, not since Noises Off did I remember a show where I really had to look away from the stage because I was laughing so hard."
Taking on the role famously originated by Tim Curry held no worries for him either. He knew he was bringing a different interpretation to King Arthur. "I play him a lot more energetically, I think, and also with the idea that he's a little bit more of a lunatic. I love the sense of lunacy and I really commit to the lunacy of it. You have to; you can't step aside in this role. You really have to play him for what he is and play the stakes for what they are. The more seriously you play the show, the funnier it is."
Such a hectic schedule and change of character could make most men cry "Ni!" but not O'Hurley. "I know the show so well," he explains, "and I always believe that if you leap the net will appear. When the curtain goes up you just say, Okay, here goes. I used to be blinded by stage fright in my early years in the profession," he continues, relating an incident from 1984 when he starred in Mass Appeal.
"And I stopped one night and I said, 'This is ridiculous!' I decided that particular night that I was going to go out on stage and I was going to surprise myself. And I was also going to have fun. I said, 'If I can't have fun, then I don't belong in this business. I'm not going to take it that seriously.' And that's when, all of a sudden, everything great started happening. I don't think of any of the negatives any more. I just have so much confidence in what I do and I know that if I go out there to have fun then nothing will get in the way. My job is just to do my preparation, and once I'm prepared, then I'm all set."
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