From Patrick Stewart to Laura Benanti, This Post-Thanksgiving Day, We're Thankful for Leftovers
We cleaned out our fridge and found some slices of Michael Urie, a bit of Leslie Jordan, a few extra scoops of Robin De Jesús, and many more nearly forgotten treats.
Sometimes the tastiest parts of an interview get left on the cutting-room floor. As you savor your leftovers from this mega-Thanksgiving/Hanukkah week, we're taking out our Tupperware full of cuts and serving you up a pile of our favorite interview leftovers.
If you had to do your own diva-obsession show, who would it be?
I love my Bernadette. I also love my Audra. I will say this: There was one theatrical experience for me that had a major diva in it and I feel like I could do a show about my experience watching this show: Caroline, or Change. It shook my world. Tonya…everyone in that show was so amazing. I think I imploded after seeing that show.
How are you holding up performing a one-man show? Is it difficult?
Michael Urie: It really is. You just have to go out there when the music stops and there's no turning back. There's no time to catch your breath. So I sleep a lot and I eat well and drink a lot of water.
Stephen Brackett: And ginseng―
Michael Urie: And ginseng. I drink a lot of ginseng and try to take good care of myself. But it's exhausting. It's a lot. I take a lot of naps. I sleep a lot. Honestly, I sleep a lot. I sleep without trying.
I heard you toured with Rue McClanahan. Do you have any stories about her?
She was near the end. She had back problems and I finally had to tell her, "Rue, you've got to stop this. You're the sweetest woman alive, but when you take that pain medication you're a f***ing bitch on wheels. You've gotta quit being mean!" Oh she was mean…she was awful! And you didn't expect it! Blanche can't be a bitch. Honey, I mean mean…mean as a goddamn snake.
The idea was my wife's, and then we developed it together. It was an alternative way of making people aware that something was going on without directly promoting it. It's the softest of soft sells. We also wanted people to have fun and give the sense that these guys have a good time, and if you hang around with them in the theater, you would have one too. [My wife] sent me a list saying we need to have a little shoot day. She takes this very seriously. [She said the photos had] to be seasonable. Obviously, we had to do the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. She had an idea of [Ian and me] sitting on either knee of a Father Christmas in our bowler hats.
How did Audra McDonald get her hands on your song "Baltimore"?
I knew Andy Einhorn, the music director…and he called me up one day and he said casually, "Do you have anything for Audra?" And I'm like Do I?! Um, yes! So I put together a CD of about eight to ten songs and I threw on "Baltimore" just as an "I don't know." I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I put it on. So I sent over these songs, and I get a call [from] Andy and he says, "Hold on a second." All of a sudden it's Audra on the phone and she's like, "I love your song!" I was like "no, no, I love you." And she said, "Would it be okay if I sang Baltimore? Do you mind if I sing it?" Do I mind? Sing any of them. All of them. All the time.
What's the song you wish you wrote?
Somebody said I should have a pad next to my bed in case a subconscious idea comes in. In my dreams once, I had written the most beautiful piece of music. I woke myself up, I sketched it down as quickly as I could. I couldn't wait to wake up in the morning and play it on the piano. I played it, and it was "Summertime" [from Porgy & Bess]. In my dream, I had written "Summertime." It was the best dream I ever had.