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Quick Wit: Michael Berresse

Leslie Becker talks with Kiss Me, Kate's Bill Calhoun. logo
Michael Berresse plays the wildly acrobatic Bill Calhoun in the current hit Broadway revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate. After an evening of delighting the audience with gravity-defying dancing (you've got to see Berresse climb up the three-story set, both in time to the music and while singing, to understand how breathtaking his big number, "Bianca," is), Berresse took some time to show off his high-flying Quick Wit. TM: When you were a kid, is this where you thought you'd be in the year 2000? Michael: I think approximately six minutes in advance. These people who have a ticket around the world in the year 2000 amaze me - who the hell has time for that? I never even think about that. I love working hard and going day by day and enjoying it along the way. TM: What are your favorite lyrics from a musical? Michael: "They can't take that away from me." TM: Who's your personal hero? Michael: My cousin Ginny, because she was born developmentally disabled. The thing that is most inspiring to me about her is that she is incapable of being dishonest. I think the people who are inspiring to me aren't the ones who are accomplished - but those who live honestly. TM: Is your cup half-full or half-empty? Michael: Oh, it's overflowing. TM: If your character, Bill Calhoun, were running for public office, what would his platform be? Michael: Oh, he'd definitely go for legalized gambling. Bill Calhoun is a gambler, but he's a nice guy. Actually he's probably not unlike our President. TM: What role would you like to play that you will never get to play? Michael: Fanny Brice. I identify with that character. She was a very sincere and very serious person - but she accessed humor, which is what I do. I'd like to think of myself as a comic actor with serious undertones. I look forward to doing more serious work rather than "handsome-guy" kind of stuff. TM: What's your favorite four-letter word? Michael: @&%#! (laugh) TM: When was the last time you opened your mouth, inserted your foot, and chewed thoroughly? Michael: Oh God! I try for two or three times a day...because you learn a lot from that. I have a tendency to talk especially if I've done that, and then try to talk my way out of it.
TM: What is your biggest Pet Peeve? Michael: Insensitivity. TM: What does feng shui mean? Michael: To me? Or literally? TM: Literally. Michael: It is the arrangement, spacially, of light and objects to create harmony around you. TM: What does it mean to you? Michael: Common sense. TM: Would you rather be a tree, a garden vegetable, or a body of water? Michael: I'd have to say a tree because a vegetable is too small to hug and the sea is too large. The Giving Tree is one of my favorite books. And when I lived in Florida and it rained and I was down, I used to get in my car and drive into the orange groves. And I'd run around with the trees (and sometimes I'd take my clothes off) because for some reason it was very comforting to me. Trees are the closest things to people. TM: Was that one of your favorite childhood games, running around naked with the trees? Michael: Well I wasn't actually a child at the time! (Laughter) My favorite childhood game was Toss Across and that maze with the metal ball in it. TM: If you could wake up in the morning with a skill that you don't already possess, what would it be? Michael: I wish I could paint. TM: What would you paint? Michael: My family. TM: Any good stock tips? Michael: Well I'll tell you a little story. I was doing a show about eight years ago and one of the guys said to me "I have a great stock tip for you. There is this company that makes coffee but they've got a great concept and its really gonna's called Starbucks." And I said, "Like the character from The Rainmaker? Okay, yeah, thanks." Two months later, someone told me that there's a book chain that's gonna be really big. There's gonna have a café and it's gonna buy out all the small book shops and it's called Barnes and Noble. Well, I ignored those two. TM: Morning or night? Michael: Morning. TM: Near or Far? Michael: Near. TM: Yes or No? Michael: Yes! TM: Simpsons or South Park? Michael: Simpsons. TM: Coffee or Latte? Michael: Coffee. TM: Bill or Hillary? Michael: Hillary. TM: Boxers or briefs? Michael: Briefs.

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