BWW Interviews: Robert Cuccioli Finds It's Not Easy Being Green Goblin
Robert Cuccioli was rehearsing for an upstate production of TITANIC when he got the nod to join SPIDER-MAN Turn Off the Dark in the dual role of Norman Osborn and Spider-Man’s nemesis, The Green Goblin.
Trading a duel with an iceberg for the chance to battle a superhero, Cuccioli felt slightly guilty for stranding his TITANIC company. “I was in the midst of rehearsals for TITANIC and I had to abruptly leave the production,” said the former JEKYLL & HYDE star. “I don’t usually like to do that nor has it happened before.”
Cuccioli is no stranger to playing complicated characters, but The Green Goblin has unusual challenges, starting with his slithery green exterior. The Goblin, flanked by an assortment of motley mutants, is eager to win world domination and (spoiler alert!) is upended by Spider-Man.
The veteran Broadway actor and Tony nominee wasn’t concerned about slipping into a role originated by Patrick Page. He was worried (briefly) only that he wouldn’t be able to imprint the role his way. “That was not the case at all,” he said. “They were very excited about anything I wanted to offer.”
Cuccioli made his Broadway debut as Inspector Javert in LES MISERABLES and is best known as the star of JEKYLL & HYDE, for which he won a Tony nomination
His dual role as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin is daunting, and his complicated transformation is thrilling to witness. As Osborn, Cuccioli needs only a lab coat. His switch from scientist to the evildoer, however, takes a good 15 minutes. Good thing he has the intermission to accomplish the change, he said.
“The costume may be restrictive, but it’s also very liberating in a sense,” Cuccioli said. “Anytime you put on a mask or elaborate costume it actually frees you up to be somebody completely different.” With the help of dressers, he dons a tunic, corset, leggings and an elaborate head gear consisting of four separate pieces. All green.
Trying to explain the psyche of his evil character, Cuccioli paused. “I think the Norman/Green Goblin character is obviously not a stable person,” he said with a laugh. “What would you call someone who wants to dominate the world and fill it with fellow mutant creatures?”
Norman Osborn goes off the deep end when his wife dies and Peter Parker “steals” his science. “It’s complicated,” Cuccioli said, “because he also considers Peter a son. Logic is not a factor in the show. It’s high stakes and reaches high emotional levels.”
The artistic value of such on over-the-top character as The Green Goblin shouldn’t be denied, he said. “You can bring your strong acting chops to any role. There’s a lot of depth to these characters. I’ll be in the play for a year and there’s a lot more to discover in the weeks to come.”The production has survived countless icebergs, from cast injuries to director turmoil. Thankfully, a recent production had no technical glitches, a relief to Cuccioli and all the team members. “I have to say that this is the safest show on Broadway due to all the trials and tribulations it went through with safety precautions.”
SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark features music and lyrics by 22-time Grammy Award-winners Bono and The Edge, direction by Philip William McKinley and a book co-written by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. It’s playing at the Foxwoods Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St. between Seventh & Eighth Avenues. spidermanonbroadway.marvel.com
Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia