BWW Interviews: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES' Christopher Sieber
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES with George Hamilton and Christopher Sieber is coming to Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Belk Theater, May 29 – June 3, 2012. Winner of three Tony Awards® including the award for Best Musical Revival. Tickets are now on sale at the Blumenthal Box Office: 704-372-1000
Two time, Tony Award ® nominee, Christopher Sieber, who plays Albin was in his hotel room in San Antonio, Texas doing one press interview after another, when I caught up with him. He's funny, hyper and fun to talk to. He says his success in the entertainment industry is based on luck, but I think it's his talent, personality and his ability to be a team player.
LAW: Where were you born and raised?
CS: Saint Paul, Minnesota
LAW: Where do you live now?
CS: New York City, upper Westside.
LAW: What's the favorite thing you do when you're back home?
CS: I get back there every six to seven weeks. We take a little break from the tour for George Hamilton, but it's good for me too. I have a summerhouse in New Jersey and I'm going to go there for the first time this year.
LAW: What brought you to New York?
CS: My high school teachers encouraged me to go.
LAW: When did you first become interested in acting?
CS: It was in the third grade in Minnesota. I was in the gifted child program in Minneapolis. They would make us read great novels and discuss them. I thought well 'this is crap,' but they also had us do plays. I was the class clown… I don't know what I'm doing, but people are paying money for it. In high school I had some great teachers, Henry Hebert, Deborah Bendix and Jane Gilles. They were very supportive.
LAW: What was your first professional job?
CS: I was Twinkie the Kid in the mall for fifty dollars. Remember Twinkie the Kid? He was a cowboy, who kinda' looked like Sponge Bob Square Pants, but I got paid. And then I got SINGING IN THE RAIN in Hilton Head, South Carolina in 1990.
LAW: What was your most memorable job?
CS: I've had so many. I've been so lucky. I've worked with amazing people, the memories, fun and incredible opportunities. The osmosis of fun things.
LAW: You were nominated for a Tony Award ® for your performance in MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT. Can you tell me about that?
CS: Well the cast was truly amazing. It was... And I got to improvise.
LAW: How was it to work with director, Mike Nichols?
CS: Every day was a master class [acting]. He would just give you three, or four words in rehearsal. Oh my god,... he is so good. One thing he would say, he called character quirks, "babies." If he thought the character's quirk was getting too big, he would say, "kill your baby." 'Might not sound too good, but he was great.
LAW: You were also nominated for a Tony Award® for your role in SHREK THE MUSICAL, can you tell me about that?
CS: I was able to collaborate. Jason Moore [director] called me and asked if I would like to play Farquaad. Farquaad was a little act. With improvising it grew into a 'ginormous' character. They let me go in that show with my ideas (laughs.) It's fun to see that now the actors that play that role have to continue what I started.
LAW: You first had the role of Georges. How did you come back on tour tour as Albin?
CS: I was in line at the theater to see CHICAGO. I was scheduled to come back in the role of Billy Flynn, after seven years. Producer, Barry Weisler asked me to see it, just to get familiar again. I was just about to go in to the theater and he called and said, don't go in, go across the street there are tickets waiting for you to see LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. Seven days later, I was in LA CAGE. It was quick. I was sitting in Harvey Fierstein's office and he had gotten the reviews and said, [in Fierstein gravel voice] "They loved us" (laughs.) That was a stress releaser. Now George Hamilton is in the role of Georges and I'm playing Albin.
LAW: Which character suits you better?
CS: Well, I'll tell you Albin's lashes give me vertigo. When the lights are shining down on me, it's like seeing bar codes in front of my eyes. Notice when you watch the show, when I sing "I Am What I Am" under those lights, I'm bracing myself. Oh time's almost up. I have another interview.
LAW: Okay, just one more question, how do you tap into your female side playing Albin's Zaza?
CS: (Laughs) Just put on those heels… Damn, yeah!!