BWW Interviews: Debut of the Month - PICNIC's Chris Perfetti

It's very difficult to articulate it. It's been nothing short of an extreme pleasure. Something that I'm so grateful for. It's been so fulfilling, personally and artistically. Of all of the shows to have a very small part in, this has been something that I will never ever forget. It's been a real joy and that's because of all these actors. Ellen just brings so much into the room as a person, as an actor, so it's been really nice to be around her. She's such a great storyteller, it's a total gift. And she's such a good person and I think that really good people do some of the best work.

What do you think it is about 'Picnic' that still makes it relevant today?

It's so funny because I ask that question to my family and friends. Not because I don't know, but because I'm interested in what people have to say about it. I want to know what resonates for them. I think especially now, politically there's a cool sort of grasping the American dream where this country is now. I think there's something about taking charge of your life, if you really want something you can have it. I think a lot of people in this play think that way, especially Hal.

And I think what it brings up in terms of physical beauty and what's really important in life, I think that is huge. And functioning in society and equality and passing judgement on people. Hal and Madge don't have a good time of it in this town and it's because of all of that moral upbringing and that sexual suppression, and while we are certainly not living in the 1950's now, it's still there. There will always be a ceiling to butt up against. And I think it's really interesting that this play has preserved what that was like back then.

What was it like to make your Broadway debut?

It was just incredible. We were working really hard so it just kind of happened, but I will never forget walking into the theater from rehearsal for the first time. Moving into the space and seeing that incredible set that Andrew Lieberman has designed. Just being in a house that big and that beautiful, the American Airlines theater is such a beautiful theater. It's emotional, but it's so fantastic. This play and this company of people have really made it extra special.

PICNIC runs from December 14, 2012 to February 24, 2013 at the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street). This will be a limited engagement through February 24, 2013.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

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