BWW Interviews: Brian Krinsky as Billy Crocker in ANYTHING GOES Talks Iconic Role
ANYTHING GOES is a Cole Porter classic that has been enjoyed for generations. With such iconic songs as "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "You're the Top," This show is sure to entertain. Actor Brian Krinsky is lucky enough to have the opportunity to be on tour with the current production portraying Billy Crocker as it travels all over. Broadway World had a chance to speak with him about his experiences and what led him to this role.
Tell us how you got involved in show business.
I grew up in Pennsylvania in a relatively small town about an hour and a half west of New York City. I was always an athlete. That was my passion. But, I came from a very musical family. My dad was a professional musician and played in rock bands for his 20's and 30's and then settled down in Pennsylvania. I came from a supportive musical family. Music was always important and I stayed very busy. I played a lot of sports. I played baseball. I played soccer, football, all that kind of stuff but then from a young age was put into the chorus and played trumpet in the band and so very early it was instilled in us how important music was and how important the arts were. I started mostly with singing which moved me towards that creative background. I saw ANNIE on Broadway when I was eight years old and I loved it. It's still my favorite musical. I started doing musicals in middle school. I started doing them a bit more regularly. By high school, the focus started to shift, which was still very important and still a big part of my life but I guess I realized I wasn't going to be a professional baseball so I said let me go and have a career with a little bit more security than maybe an athlete. I did summer intensive programs and I realized this is what I wanted to do with my life and I started to search and found a school that would be a good match. I ended up at Wagner College. Spent four years studying theater and I played rugby there and I studied theater and did all the shows. From there, before I even had a degree, I left school and was on tour with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Since that tour, I worked a little bit regionally and now I'm back on the road with this show.
What are some roles that you have enjoyed the most?
When I was in college, there were a few shows that made me recognize that I was in the right place doing what I wanted to do. One of them was called URINETOWN. I played Officer Lockstock in URINETOWN which is a much more contemporary politically driven show and it's a wonderful show. Then I also played Henry Higgins in MY FAIR LADY which was a beast of a role to play in college and explore that material but it was so much fun. Those are two shows that stuck with me.
Do you have any dream roles?
There are the roles in epic musical theater that stand out that are always going to be there and be on the big stage. That goes to The Phantom in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Javert in LES MISERABLES. Once I got to the point where I'm at now, it's like oftentimes the roles that I go in for and want to play are all roles that I've been dying to play because I'm in that beginning stage in my career where I'm figuring out what roles I can play and what I can go in for so everything is exciting. There are a few roles that I have been in for JERSEY BOYS that I would love to play. There are endless possibilities. But, I'm right where I want to be with this role. This is one of those shows that I saw on Broadway three years ago. It was one of those things where I sat in the theater and you feel the electricity and I'll never forget where I was sitting when I saw the show. From start to finish it was very much like this is Broadway, this is everything that I want to see when I go to the theater. I remember watching and Colin Donnell played Billy, and thinking, "That's a really great role but I don't know if I could play this role." And here we are three years later and I'm playing this role in this iconic Cole Porter musical directed by Kathleen Marshall and it's surreal and we're getting to bring it across the country to play to different audiences so I would definitely say that this is a dream realized as well.
Tell us more about the show.
ANYTHING GOES is set post stock market crash and it takes place almost completely onboard a cruise ship called the S.S. American except for the first scene which takes place in a bar in New York City. The show is about Billy and he's in love with the young ingénue Hope Harcourt is a debutante. He goes onto the ship to get his boss's passport and she's the love of his life there and follows her on the ship and all madness ensues and obviously there's Reno Sweeney and Moonface Martin and these iconic characters that are all involved in this crazy show about love. Imagine a few different kinds of plotlines of people falling in love as they're crossing the Atlantic Ocean and this beautiful Cole Porter score. I remember when I saw the show, I didn't know much about it at the time and every other song was one that I'd heard before and that was the magic of it. I didn't even know that these songs were in musicals. I just thought that they were old standards that were there. It just made me fall in love that much more with the show.
If you had not gotten into show business, what do you think you would have done?
I always enjoyed being around other people. I imagine I would have ended up in the psychology field dealing with people. My mom works as a social worker for the State of Pennsylvania. She works in the mental health and mental retardation facet for the state helping people. I kinda see myself doing something along those lines. I don't know. Everything lines up in this perfect storm and if I had a backup or idea what I wanted to do other than this, I probably would be doing it that's why I didn't give myself that option.
What advice to you have for anyone thinking about getting into the business?
Just emerge yourself in it. One of the things I wish I had done when I decided to do it was to go see more plays, watching your favorite actors in TV and film. Get to the theater as much as you can getting into as many shows as you can regardless if you're playing a lead or (ensemble) because all of that shapes you into who you're gonna be and teaches you about this business. On top of that, don't limit yourself just to the world of theater. Be well-rounded. Find hobbies outside the theater that you enjoy and things that you love to do and read the newspaper and watch the news. Stay up-to-date on current issues. That's all about being an actor, being able to take what you know and what's in your surroundings and applying it to the life of a character onstage by as much life experience as you can have to remind you that it's important to be well-rounded.
Be sure to check out the great musical ANYTHING GOES as it comes to the Texas Performing Arts and Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas from December 9-14, 2014. You can purchase tickets at texasperformingarts.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Daniel