THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars - Christopher J. Hanke
Welcome to THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As With Your Favorite Broadway Stars. Want to know what hooked them to a career in the theater? Their dream roles? Their Broadway crushes? Read on!
What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?
Well, sadly, I am not 100% certain which show I saw first, as it remains a big blur that week--not because I was on some binge trip with Jack Daniels, but because it was so long ago; however, it was either CRAZY FOR YOU, with the now famous, Tony Award winning director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw dancing and singing his heart out in the ensemble. Or, it was LES MISERABLE with Lea Michele as Young Cosette. Did you know that she also understudied the role of Gavroche? Now, THAT I would have remembered!
What is your most unique pre-show ritual?
Ok, fine, that was a joke. But not really, because my dresser, Josh, who takes ridiculous care of me, always has a clean highball glass (think cocktails with your father at 5pm) and ice waiting for me when I arrive to the theater. And as a pep-me-up, I have a diet coke, on ice, in that glass. Then, I walk around the theater with the diet coke and EVERYONE, EVERY SINGLE DAY, always makes a comment about me having my pre-show cocktail. Cause it looks like one. But, I have to say, the teasing is worth it because a soda in a cold iced glass--nothing better!
What is your most memorable "the show must go on" moment?
Honestly, there are TOO many to count. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. But, I will pick from my current show, How to Succeed. So, towards the end of the first act, our entire company is on stage for the World Wide Wickets office party where all the girls are in the same PARIS ORIGINAL dresses. And we have these huge set pieces that are all electronically moved and cued. Ok, so, right as we were transitioning out of this scene into the next, the scenery stopped moving. Just halt. So after a bit, all the actors just started floating awkwardly off stage left and right, because without the scene change, there was NO WAY we could press on with the story. At this point it becomes obvious something is wrong and the audience starts to hub hub. We actors are backstage trying to gain our composure (laughs, embarrassment, panic) while waiting to hear what happens next. After 5 minutes (a very long time for a blank stage with no show curtain), our stage managers gets on the "God mic"--which the entire audience can hear--and says, can all the actors come back on stage and we are going to take it from Hedy's line, blah blah blah. We had to play this entire scene over again, jokes and all, in front of the audience in order to start the scene transition. So we just shuffled on, in full view of audience and got in place to start over. That got a huge laugh from the crowd. Which made it all ok in the end. Live theater. Gotta love it.
What is the one role you want to play before you die?
The role of dad. One day.
Who is your Broadway crush?
Philip Seymour Hoffman. End of meeting. I crush on his talent, which is absurdly intoxicating--and his range is jealousy inducing. Cannot wait to see him this spring in DEATH OF A SALESMAN revival.
Where can people stalk you on the web (twitter/fb etc.)?
Well, I live in the West Village at....oh, you said the WEB. All I heard was "stalk me"....sorry, got it! I am not on the FB. Never have been, probably never will be. There are, however, fan pages on Facebook, which is cool, and a page or two that appears to be me running it, but sadly, it is not me. Good news is though that I am tweeting my 2011 heart out and you can follow me at @cjHANKE. I don't tweet like 20 posts a day so you don't have to worry. I'm a discerning tweeter. Or, was it disconcerting tweeter.....? Can't remember now.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos