BWW Interviews: Bryan Batt Talks Broadway, MAD MEN, and His Cabaret Act BATT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
New Orleans native and star of TV's Mad Men, Bryan Batt will bring his hilarious show Batt On A Hot Tin Roof to Austin's Zach Theatre for one night only on Tuesday, September 10th. This handsome Broadway star of La Cage Aux Folles, Beauty and the Beast, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, and Starlight Express, to name just a few, will light up your night with his personable wit and leading man song stylings. Mr. Batt recently chatted with us about his work on Broadway, Mad Men, and his cabaret act.
Batt on a Hot Tin Roof plays Zach's Topfer Theatre at 202 South Lamar Blvd, 78704 on September 10th, 2013. Performances are 7pm and 9:30pm. Tickets are $40-$105. For tickets and information about Batt on a Hot Tin Roof, please visit http://www.zachtheatre.org/show/bryan-batt.
BWW: I looked over your biography, and you have some very impressive theater credits. When did you catch the theater bug, and what got you into the business?
BB: You know, I think I was always intrigued by theater since I was a small child. My family's business was actually an amusement park in New Orleans. My grandfather had started that, and my grandmother was a dance maven in New Orleans. It was just the theatricality and the Mardi Gras and the pageantry that I fell in love with at an early age. I was also a very shy kid and theater was a great way to express myself.
BWW: So you're a third generation theater fanatic, huh?
BB: At least [Laughs]. Somewhere along the line, genetically it had to come out.
BWW: I know you've done quite a few Broadway shows. Out of all of those, if you had to pick a favorite, what would it be and why?
BB: Oh, God! Each is special in its own way. I can't tell you the thrill and joy of when I was cast in my first Broadway show. Granted, it was Starlight Express and it was exhausting, but it was my first time on Broadway, and there was nothing like it. I really enjoyed going on for Gary Beach in La Cage Aux Folles. I loved The Scarlet Pimpernel. I think out of all of my stage performances, though, my favorite would have been Jeffrey which was an Off-Broadway play that I got to create a role and then do the film. It was just so groundbreaking. Here in New York and all over the country people were dying of AIDS and it was just so horrible and frightening and Paul Rudnick just turned it and made a comedy out of the situation with the thought being that if we ever lose our sense of humor, then any kind of adversity or disease wins. It was love and laughter in the face of AIDS and adversity, and I thought that was so smart and clever. I re-read it recently and it still holds up. I'd love to do it again.
BWW: I'm sure as an actor, you must have a few roles that you haven't played that you really want to do.
BB: I was offered The Music Man this summer and I couldn't do it, and that's one I've always wanted to do. It's such a great musical theater classic, and Harold Hill is such a great musical theater role. But when people ask, "What role are you dying to play?" I always say, "The one being written for me right now." But there's so many great roles out there like Harold Hill and Guido Contini. I'm a little old for Guido Contini, but I've always loved Nine.
BWW: You're not too old for Guido. Just stop. [Laughs]. Now you mentioned La Cage and Scarlet Pimpernel and Starlight Express. Are there any fun memories from any of your Broadway shows that really stick out for you?
BB: God, there are so many. One of my favorites is actually from Forbidden Broadway. When I was doing Forbidden Broadway, there was one performance where Carol Burnett came to see the show. It was a small, intimate little theater, and I did something and heard Carol Burnett just burst out laughing and I thought, "Oh my God! I just made Carol Burnett laugh!" And it was so hard to not just fall to my knees and thank God. I just couldn't believe it happened. It was one of those moments that made me so happy and I was like, "Okay. Whatever I did, it was the best choice."