BWW Interview: Actor and Playwright Mike Randall

BWW Interview: Actor and Playwright Mike Randall

Mike Randall is an American actor, meteorologist and reporter from Buffalo, New York.

He is a native Western New Yorker and has had a long run on WKBW-TV as a meteorologist, and outside Western New York he is very well known for his very entertaining one man stage shows.

Mike is a very interesting man with a wry sense of humor and now an award winning Playwright.

MCL:You are well known for your Mark Twain one man show. How did you get involved with that production?

MR:Back in High School (Kenmore West) I had a friend who put together a skit as Mark Twain for one of the class shows. After that I was hooked. It led to me putting together my own show, beginning here in Buffalo at the Showboat and eventually performing off-broadway in New York City.

MCL:How many years have you been doing it? What motivates you to keep doing it?

MR:I have been performing the show since 1972. It still makes me laugh and makes the audience laugh. That's motivation enough. And I'm always discovering new pieces to add to the show.

MCL:The last several years you've been doing a fantastic Charles Dickens one man show.

MR:This is the 10th year I have been performing Charles Dickens Presents: A Christmas Carol.

MCL:You act the entire Christmas Carol story out. You alone!

What made you take on such an involved show?

MR:I almost died in 2006 from a bacterial infection I was in the hospital for 11 days and out of work for two months. I wondered, if my time was up, what did I wish I would have done. The one big regret I had was never attempting to put together a second solo show. As soon as I got well-I got busy with it!

MCL:I've seen your Dickens's show. The make-up and the construction of the production are high class. Did you direct your One Man shows yourself or do you get someone to assist you?

MR:I direct myself. I'm not sure if that's always the best idea, but for my process it works.

MCL:You've been involved with many plays over the years. What makes an actor go on stage,

all on their own, with no one to play off? Do you find it tougher or easier for you?

MR:I'm not sure for other actors-for me it was just a chance to perform some funny material. Both the Twain show and Dickens show are presentational, so they are performed directly to the audience and in that sense the audience becomes the second character- and that's who you play off. And it's fun.

MCL:Who do you enjoy performing more: Twain or Dickens? Why?

MR:I enjoy both. Twain is very loose and with the hours of material I have memorized, no two shows are ever the same. Dickens, by virtue of the fact that he's telling a story word for word, and he's English-is much more regimented. I enjoy the humor and the big laughs from Mark Twain and with Charles Dickens it's the fun of playing 26 characters in 90 minutes.

When putting the Dickens's show together what was the biggest challenge?

I believe the biggest challenge was memorizing the show. I don't read it on stage. I perform it from memory and it literally took me a year to commit it to memory.

MCL:Talk about the feedback you've received. I've noticed this isn't just a show for kids. Adults really enjoy your performance. What is it about The Christmas Carol and Scrooge that people just want to see over and over again?

MR:The reviews have been great and there are some venues I perform where I see people come back year after year. The show was never intended for kids, but as I have performed at a number of libraries I see that some kids really enjoy it. I think we all, adults and kids, enjoy a good story-and A Christmas Carol is one of the best.

MCL:What's your favorite part of Twain and Dickens?

MR:With Mark Twain I love doing some of the classic pieces, what I would call "Twain's greatest hits" and have audiences discover them for the first time. With Charles Dickens I really love the language. When I start reeling off some of those speeches and an English accent and different voices for different characters it's SO much fun! Almost an out of body experience!

MCL:Mark Twain. Charles Dickens. Who is your next one man show (beside Eleanor Roosevelt)?

MR:Not sure. Benjamin Franklin could be fun.

MCL:Time to promote ... What's coming up for Mike Randall for 2016-2107?

MR:I just won the play writing contest at Alleyway Theatre, so I will have my second one-act play produced there in 2017. Not much else on the schedule. I have two more plays in my head that I have to get on paper. I have been making puppets and practicing my magic. That's my curse and blessing-I have a very short attention span!


Mike Randall Performs Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol":

December 1st CORFU LIBRARY 6:30pm


December 3rd Immaculate Conception Church, Ransomville, NY 7:30pm

December 4th Ellicott Creek Playhouse 3:00pm

December 16th Williamsville Meeting House

December 21st Newstead Library 6:30pm

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From This Author Mark C. Lloyd

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