Now giving an unforgettable performance as a lisping, limping mystery man in Fuddy Meers at the Minetta Lane Theatre, Patrick Breen made his Broadway debut as Jason Alexander's successor in Brighton Beach Memoirs. His comedic and dramatic gifts have been appreciated in such disparate shows as Night and Her Stars (at Manhattan Theatre Club), The Substance of Fire and Baby Anger (Playwrights Horizons), Side Man (N.Y. Stage and Film), and Sweet Adeline (City Center Encores!). Film credits include Galaxy Quest (he's the voice of Mumfie and friends), One True Thing, Just the Ticket, and Men in Black. I first met Patrick years ago when we were both just out of high school and he was doing a show on Staten Island. We caught up a bit during a recent telephone interview.
When you were a kid, where did you think you'd be in the year 2000?
What did you do on the night of December 31, 1999?
I was in Sun Valley, Idaho, at the base of a ski mountain, lying in the snow and looking up at the stars with seven of my friends. People were lighting fireworks somewhere in the distance, and we could see the lights reflecting off the mountains. It was glorious.
What's your favorite song from a musical?
"Wicked Little Town," from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. That seems like a perfect metaphor for New York City in the 21st century.
Who's your personal hero?
I don't think I have an answer to that.
Your personal villain?
Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
What role would you like to play that you'll never get to play?
Lola in Damn Yankees.
What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage?
Well, I go up on lines at least once during every production. I know it's going to happen at some point in the run. When it does, I just look at the other actors and say, "I'm up!" My first time on Broadway, in Brighton Beach Memoirs with Matthew Broderick, I went on stage and realized I had cut my finger somehow. I was in the middle of a monologue when Matthew said to me under his breath, "Your finger's bleeding." I looked at it and I went up--sky high. The stage manager had to yell my line to me from the wings.
What is your pet peeve?
If you could wake up in the morning with a skill that you don't already possess, what would it be?
I'd love to be a great jazz saxophonist.
What's your favorite sound?
What was your favorite childhood game?
I don't know that I had one. But there's a word game called Boggle that we play now at the theater, and we just can't stop. It's insane. We get to the theater early just to play it.
What gets you all choked up?
Really good food.
Do you prefer rock or show tunes?
Do I have to pick? I like both.
Morning or night?
Intimate gathering or wild party?
Boxers or briefs?
What's your choice for best picture of the year?
South Park. Seriously.