BWW Interviews: Treat Williams Talks Co-Star Matt Bomer & Making a Return to the Stage
Prolific character actor Treat Williams began acting on stage and made his Broadway debut in 'Grease' (1976), in which he eventually took over the leading role of Danny Zuko. His later Broadway credits included the musicals 'Over Here' and 'Pirates of Penzance'
His big screen credits include the film adaptation of Terrence McNally's play, "The Ritz" (1976) and the role of 'Berger' in 1979's "Hair" from director Milos Foreman. His other film credits include "Prince of the City", and "Once Upon a Time in America"
On TV, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor has starred as lawyer "Eddie Dodd" (1991) in the ABC legal drama series of the same name, and acted opposite Shelley Long in CBS' sitcom "Good Advice". From 2002 to 2006, he starred as neurosurgeon Dr. Andrew 'Andy' Brown in the popular WB primetime TV drama "Everwood" and in 2007, he headed the cast of the short-lived TNT medical drama "Heartland." He currently stars as Sam Phelps in USA Network's White Collar.
While battling a bad case of the flu, the busy actor spoke about his plan to return to the stage in the near future as well as his experience working with Matt Bomer on USA Network's popular drama series.
"If I sound a little phlegmy I just came down with the flu, and I feel like a small gremlin got into my room last night and dinged me with a baseball bat," apologized the actor. "But I'm very happy to be here and thrilled that I can talk about the show!"
Great to speak with you. So many of your fans know you best from your TV career, but you have such a strong background in musical theater. I was wondering if you have any plans to return to your Broadway roots.
Very much so. I've actually sort of started the process. I moved back East, living in Vermont now. And this summer I'm going to be doing the Lion in Winter with the Recher Theatre Group. So I'm already sort of starting the process of working my way back into theater.
When the show [Everwood] ended we just wanted to continue with our kids [on the West Coast]. They were right in the midst of grade school, middle school. And my daughter was, you know, in Kindergarten. We just thought it was a good idea to stay and we liked it there. And, you know, our kids were really settled in school.
But now that we're back I'm much more - I've been talking to people and going back and forth in New York starting to think about what I want to do. And this is the first - the first play I will do is Lion in Winter. So I'm very excited about that.
Are there things you would still like to achieve in your career?
That's a very good question. You know, somebody asked me last year in an interview if I would ever retire. And I said, "You know, I would really like to retire eventually from working for money."
And I think that the goal is to really do those things that excite you and you're passionate about. And, you know, there's a period in time when your kids are in school and, you know, the bills need to be paid.
But I'd like to get to the point where - and I'm heading much more and more in that direction, where the work I do is the work I do because out of a great passion for it. And that's where it seems to be heading with this play in the summer.
The talented Matt Bomer portrays your son on USA's White Collar. How has that experience been?
Easy. I mean, I adore him. He has - he's a lot of fun on set. He takes the work very seriously and himself not so seriously.
He is honorable and humble and funny and a lot of the attributes that my son has. And I would be proud if he were my son. It's just one of those things where it was very, very easy. You know, I just adore him. I can't speak enough about him.
And whatever success he gets during the show and afterwards he deserves whole-heartedly. I don't know an actor who works as hard as Matt does.
You're one of the busiest and hardest-working actors around. What drives you at this point in your career?
But as I get older the parts are less and less dense. I mean dense in terms of time. So I might do four days here and, six days there. And I get bored, you know.
And so I would assume I average about 15 days a month. Half of my time is off still even though it looks like I'm doing a lot. So most Americans work all year long and get two weeks' vacation. So I feel like I'm one of the lucky ones!
WHITE COLLAR airs Tuesdays at 10/9c. on USA Network.
Photo by: David Giesbrecht/USA Network