Theater News

Quick Wit: Tade Reen

The Finnegan’s Farewell actor has coffee with Michael Portantiere.

Featured as a member of the colorful Irish/American clan who practically wake the dead in the Off-Broadway interactive comedy Finnegan’s Farewell, Tade Reen also presently has a recurring role as a stalker on Days of Our Lives and just completed a stint on The Guiding Light. I spoke with him about live theater, TV, football, and other, diverse subjects over coffee recently at the Barnes & Noble Café.


What’s the skinny on soap acting?

It’s pretty much live on tape; they only stop if you’ve really forgotten a line, and you’re sitting there for five minutes with no idea what to say. It’s not easy. You develop a real respect for actors who can say these insane, contrived lines and make them seem like they’re coming from a real place.

Do you get much direction?

Well, it’s “Walk over here, look at the wall, look back at the person, say your line.” You’re given nothing as far as interpretation. And there’s a different director every day.

If your life was a soap opera, what would be the title?

“The Young and the Confused.”

What’s the strangest audience behavior you’ve witnessed at Finnegan’s Farewell?

A lot of strange things have happened. The second time we ever did the show, a man ran up onto the stage at the end, when we bring in the dead body. He started screaming and crying “He can’t be dead,” trying to pull the body out of the casket. I had to get the actor who plays my brother to help me, and we made the guy calm down. I thought, “You’re goin’ a little too far with the interactive thing, buddy!”

Your character in the show flirts with a lot of women. Has that gotten you into trouble?

One time, a bunch of girls unbuttoned my shirt, took it off, and hid it under a table. It was all in good fun, but it was…interesting. My girlfriend really doesn’t like coming to see the show that much.

Where did you go to school?

Muhlenberg, in Pennsylvania. I was a drama major. I played football there for one year, but then I quit to concentrate on drama. I wasn’t that good a football player, anyway. I was better in high school.

Did you do shows in high school?

Yeah, at New Canaan. I was born in Queens, but I grew up in Connecticut. I played Spats Palazzo in Sugar; that might have been one of the worst performances ever seen on stage, but I still fell in love with theater, and knew I wanted to do it forever. I also did West Side Story and Guys and Dolls.

Given your name and your looks, I assume you’re of Irish descent.

One-hundred percent.

Do you have a favorite Irish joke?

Nothing that’s printable!

What’s your pet peeve?

People who complain all the time. Whiners. I can’t stand that.

Who’s your personal hero?

My father. And Paul Newman, as both an actor and a humanitarian.

Your personal villain?

(Without missing a beat:) Bob Saget. When he hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos, he was so unfunny that I just couldn’t stand to watch him. If I saw him in the street, I’d probably attack him.

What are the best and worst movies you’ve seen recently?

Being John Malkovich was great. Any Given Sunday was a real disappointment; it’s so excessive, and it only looks at the negative side of pro football. It’s exactly what you would expect an Oliver Stone movie about the NFL to be.

What live theater have you loved lately?

I went to see I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change on Valentine’s Day with my girlfriend. That made me laugh a lot. I really liked The Weir, and I’m looking forward to True West.

Are you a day or a night person?


Rock or classical music?


Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton?

Giuliani, without a doubt.

What gets you choked up?

Movies where the characters really reveal something about themselves, like The Sixth Sense. That scene at the end, in the car, with the mom and the kid? That got me.