Marc Kudisch Plays Defense
The Tony Award-nominated star discusses his upcoming Town Hall concert, The Lower Depths: In Defense of the Baritone.
Broadway veteran and three-time Tony Award nominee Marc Kudisch keeps himself very busy. He's just finished a run of the revue Broadway Holiday at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles; on January 10, he will take part in the Transport Group's An Evening With Michael John LaChiusa at Playwrights Horizons; and on Saturday, January 15, he will perform for a one-night-only solo concert, The Lower Depths: In Defense of the Baritone, produced by TheaterMania contributor Scott Siegel, at The Town Hall. TheaterMania recently spoke to Kudisch about what he has planned for this special evening and a possible return to Broadway.
THEATERMANIA: What prompted you to do this particular concert at The Town Hall?
MARC KUDISCH: It was something I thought about this past summer. I was looking in the Encyclopedia Britannica at the definition of baritone. I was insulted. I looked at other definitions and I decided that I wanted to redefine the definition of baritone.
TM: This actually marks your first solo concert. Is this something you have always wanted to do, but never found time for?
MK: Not really. People asked me to do a cabaret show in the past and I said no. I'm a theatrical guy. I never felt comfortable in a cabaret space. I feel more intimate on a theater stage. I need room. People ask why I don't have an album. I never wanted to sing my greatest hits. And I didn't want to stand up on stage and sing my Broadway songs. There has to be a purpose, a story, a point. This show explains what I do on a stage: why I am me and how I am me.
TM: Which songs you will be performing?
MK: The show will have Gregorian chant, opera, Broadway, and popular music. I will sing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," and some songs associated with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. But I'm not singing any music from any show I have been in. That's not the point of this concert.
TM: What else will fans experience that night?
MK: I make my own conspiracy theories throughout the course of the evening. I want to have a dialogue with the audience. This is a conversation. I want the audience to respond. If I am inaccurate about something, I want them to speak up. But the truth is we wouldn't have music today if it wasn't for baritones. All evening long, I will make points based on the baritones' point of view. I want people to leave with a newfound appreciation for the baritone and for theater.
TM: Do you have any interest in recording this show?
MK: Yes, I was asked about that -- but I cannot record this in a studio, it won't work. It has to be recorded live. We have been busting our asses to tell our story with humor, passion, and joy.
TM: Which Broadway shows did you find impressive this season?
MK: Two shows come to mind: The Scottsboro Boys is the most original piece of theater I have seen in a while, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. I liked the format they worked in. I just wish they would have gone further.
TM: Are you eyeing any Broadway productions right now?
MK: I always am. I think I know where we are right now with theater and I will speak about that during my show. I know I do all sorts of stuff on stage and people say, "well, that's Kudisch." People are used to seeing me go on stage and get a little crazy - and I think we need a little more craziness.