BWW Interview: Peter Gallagher Ponders HOW'D ALL YOU PEOPLE GET IN MY ROOM and More as He Prepares for The Annenberg
Actor, musician and writer Peter Gallagher makes his debut at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs with his one-man show, 'How'd All You People Get In My Room?,' tonight, February 22 at 8:00 pm. Gallagher will share real-life stories from his early days starting out as a young actor in New York, to working with legends like Jack Lemmon, Tom Stoppard, Mike Nichols, Robert Altman, Peter O'Toole and more. Joined by his band, Gallagher brings his experiences to life with songs ranging from Broadway, to music from the hit television show 'The OC,' to classics from Sammy Cahn, Jules Styne, Burt Bacharach and Van Morrison. Gallagher made his Broadway debut in 1977 as Danny Zuko in 'Grease'. He later starred as Sky Masterson in the 1992 Tony-Winning revival of 'Guys And Dolls' , as well as the musicals 'Pal Joey' and 'Annie Get Your Gun'. I had the chance to talk with Gallagher as he was preparing for his Palm Springs stint, Here are a few excerpts from that conversation.
DG: Over the coarse of your career you have been defined by critics and fans by the roles you've played - how would you define yourself?
PG: Huh. (a long pause) That's a very good ... actually, in a way, that's sort of the essence of this show. How do I define myself? I would define myself as ... (pause) ... someone who's very lucky to have been able to do what they love for as long as I've been able to do it, and to raise a family and educate them and things - you know, as a result of that work I love to do. I define myself as someone who takes my work really seriously, and doesn't really want anybody to know that. (he laughs) Because they don't need to. But, umm .. and, I'm someone who came along at a very interesting time when there were a lot of people still around from the theatre and the films that I admired growing up --- and they were still around and I was able to see a glimpse of that world and also discover that the greater the artist the easier it was to work with them - the more fulfilling - so, I guess I would define myself as one lucky bastard. (he laughs)
DG: What would you consider to be your favorite or finest career achievement so far?
PG: (a big laugh) That I'm still doing it after all these years. And I feel like I've preserved the opportunity for even better things. You know, I'm crazy enough to believe that my best days are ahead of me. I feel like, in terms of film performances, "To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday" was the best role that I've ever had. And in terms of theatre performances "Long Day's Journey" ... and there's been a bunch of television - wait, what was your question?
DG: Do you have favorite or proudest career moment?
PG: I'm really a guy who's interested in "next". You know. I mean, the proudest moments of my career have nothing really to do with my career. It's kind of like what the content of my show is. The name of the show is "How'd All You People Get In My Room". And, really the essence of the show - one of the things that inspired it - was reading about all the things that people think actors value. Like fame, and wealth and power. And that's never been my thing, What's gonna make me smile on my deathbed are these moments I've had with these people that I have huge amounts of admiration for - and moments along the way that suggested that I was on the right path. What am I most proud of? That I'm still doing what I love. And I work harder at it now than I ever have, And I'm pretty proud of everything I see behind me and I'm very excited about what's ahead. You know, I just started doing some episodes with - I've just done a couple episodes - actually, I've just done one episode but I'm going to be doing a couple of episodes - with the Duplass brothers on a new HBO series called "Togetherness" - now, I'm not a regular but I'm in the company of a couple of film makers that I haven't felt the same kind of collaborative, creative excitement about something since I worked with Robert Altman. Because there's a similar kind of spirit there about having the balls to say - "You know, I don't know. What can we do now?" And that, to me -- There's nothing better than when you're in the heat of it. It's like what I love about live performance. I almost love live performance as much when it goes wrong as when it goes right. Because, that's when things happen. For me, it's always been about the people in the room. Which is what my show is all about. The thing I've always been most conscious of trying to keep alive in me is just the love for what I do. 'Cause that's the only thing that keeps you going. It's the only thing you can nurture on your own. Your stock rises and falls - the money comes and goes - the recognition comes and goes, and hopefully comes again - but if you lose contact with the terror and the delight of what we do - I don't know - I'd be lost.