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2006 Tony Awards Q&A: Christian Hoff

Christian Hoff began his stage and screen career at age eight. Performing became an instant passion and he began training as an actor, singer and dancer. When he was eleven, he followed his Dad and Brother into music and bought his first guitar. Notable career highlights over the decades include portraying Walt Disney in One Man's Dream, providing the voice of Richie Rich in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the same name, hosting the cable series Eyes and Ears Inside Disney, playing Shelley Winters bad-boy step-son in her one and only sitcom Shelley, replacing David Arquette as Frank-n-Furter in the Los Angeles production of The Rocky Horror Show at the Tiffany Theater, touring as King Herod with Sebastian Bach in Jesus Christ Superstar, his Broadway debut in The Who's Tommy (original cast album) with Michael Cerveris and his Broadway return, starring as Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys.

So how did you hear about the nomination this morning?

Well, at 8:45 this morning I was at home, still in bed and checking the Internet on my phone. At 8:45, my agent called… These days you need to get as much rest as possible so I was chilling to the last minute and then I got the call from the agent.

And what was the first thing that you did?

I called my wife and kids! My wife is out at La Jolla where she's working on Zhivago so I called them first, and then called my mother and brother. They're my biggest support team so at 5:45am (on the west coast) they were already online, in the zone and watching on TV and the web while I was resting.

It sounds like 'rest' is something that you're in need of these days.

I do feel a bit like Lance Armstrong lately! I try to just focus on the work… Then just rest, and work and do what you need to do. That's my comfort zone and my power zone.

So will you be celebrating today by resting or by working?
Today I'll definitely be celebrating with a lot of work. I'm actually on my way now to Carnegie Hall to sound check there. Tonight at intermission of the show, we're going to have a police escort, and we will go over to Carnegie Hall, perform 4 songs and then go back to the theatre for Act 2. While we're gone, our book writers, and our director will be on stage entertaining the audience.

The *real* celebration though will just be being able to be on stage tonight with the whole cast.

It seems like you guys are popping up everywhere lately! How many 'extracurricular' events are you doing between now and the Tony Awards?

We have 11 events outside the regular show schedule and that's not including sound checks or rehearsals… We haven't had a day off in 3 weeks.

Wow… It's a good thing that you love what you do! This has been a great season on Broadway – have you been able to catch any of the other shows?

It's such a unique season, and so diverse. I couldn't be happier to be riding the wave. I saw The Drowsy Chaperone and loved it. I haven't seen The Threepenny Opera yet, but in addition to the Tony race, Jim Dale and I are both involved in an audio book race.

Jim is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having done the largerst number of voices in the audio book for Harry Potter. Recently, I did an audio book for a producer named Edward S. Feldman, who notably has been around for decades. He's a Hollywood producer, who has bridged the old studio system to the present day. One of the most sought after producers, he's been involved with projects like The Truman Show, Witness, K-19, 101 and 102 Dalmatians and many others. He's an amazing, amazing producer, and he wrote 'Tell Me How You Love the Picture,' and he's got first hand stories of a lot of the celebrities, and people that he's worked with on a personal level so I'm doing Bette Davis, Eddie Murhphy, Jack Warner, Harrison Ford, Eddie Murphy, Joan Crawford, hundreds of voices.

Jim Dale and I talked at the Drama League event about me doing that and I told him that I'm on his tail. I'm thrilled to be nominated with him Danny, Jim, and the rest of the gang. It's just an honor to be nominated and to be recognized. I've always enjoyed playing roles that are in my power zone but also bring me outside of it.

How is this show bringing you outside of your 'power zone'?

I like to be stretched and portraying this role is like the best of both worlds – comfortable, and stretched. I couldn't be happier!

Who was the first of the 'Boys' that you spoke to this morning?

I got a call from Bobby Spencer, who said he knew from the moment that we started this show in La Jolla that it was going to be me and he said all sorts of very nice things about my work to help develop the show, and the vocabulary. He said what I was doing was unique.  The four of us guys have such a chemistry, and you just can't buy that.

Des McAnuff, is such a visionary in that he put this team together so perfectly. We never read together, sang together, or even all met before the first table read.

We knew right then that between the book, and the great tunes that we were going to do something different and that we would be proud of it. I think that we've redefined the 'jukebox musical' and have given it a stamp of credibility and honor with 8 Tony noms and both the critical and financial success. It's just a thrill to be part of something that we're proud of, and to have this recognition is an even bigger thrill.

How much are you looking forward to Tony day?

I am looking forward to Tony day, but every day is great when you're doing what you love to do, and what you've prepared to do for 30 years. I've been acting since I was 8, and every time that I step out I'm giving it the same attention. It doesn't matter to me if it's a small theatre, regional production or on Broadway it's the same for me.

So, to be able to work and to love what I do, and to be doing what I've always wanted to do – it's thrilling, and I'm thrilled to be here.

For more information about Christian Hoff, visit http://www.christianhoff.com/



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