Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with D.C. Anderson

In this interview, I got to discover more about Songwriter and Actor, D.C. Anderson!

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"Signora, no. The world wants you," sang the character of Andre eight times a week trying to convince the darling diva Carlotta to go back on the stage, that her audiences needed her! Seems rather fitting for the kind and talented soul, D.C. Anderson, to first tour with the show THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and then make his Broadway debut with that role.

D.C. was one of the first performers we were lucky enough to book on our "Music at the Mansion" series, 10 years ago. He not only won us over with his smooth lyric baritone voice but also with his lyric writing ability. I can see him in the solarium of the Mansion singing his very funny version of the song "Smile", which he has re-created to "Frown". It is great to see it appear on his latest album, entitled SARASOTA. We were lucky enough to book D.C. as part of The Spotlight series which was held in The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center where he not only sang one of his original tunes but also joined in as part of a glorious version of "New Music" from Ragtime.

D.C. is a wonderful actor, singer, creator, consummate professional, and all-around good person. Besides his talent on stage, film, and songwriting, he is an outstanding photographer. If you have not heard or seen his work, you should do yourself a favor and visit his website. So glad to hear he's still creating during this time!

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Bruce Winant and D.C. Anderson in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

NA: Who is your mentor and what would you like to say to your mentor?

DCA: I consider the team responsible for maintaining the quality and honoring the longevity of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - Kristen Blodgette/Denny Berry/Peter VonMayerhauser/Cameron Mackintosh to be mentors. Kristen's passion, enthusiasm, and genuine good will, Denny's concise, clear direction ('play the scene, not the character'), Peter's belief in process, his laugh and his steady hand, along with Cameron's willingness to trust my dedication over the course of my 21-year involvement with the show. At my first audition after my run with POTO ended, a director, after indicating strong interest in me for a regional production of THE PITMAN PAINTERS, lost that interest upon hearing me say that I believed I could, and did, maintain freshness throughout the length of my run in PHANTOM...He told me, 'I don't believe you. You HAD to have been phoning it in after two years in the same show. I can't believe anyone could stay interested or interesting for that long of a run!'.

Another mentor - Marianne Williamson - suggested to me that I had a choice 1.) accept an Earthly assignment to be a storyteller on stage/in song understanding the humility of that acceptance (difficult for me because my parents had been telling me that the acting profession was ego-driven and if I was going to choose to act/sing it would be nearly impossible to escape falling into the trap of thinking I was important - a common phrase from them was, 'Who do you think you ARE?') or 2.) continue in my desire to be considered 'humble' above all else, downplaying my passion, my gifts, and my characteristic discipline and ambition thereby sabotaging my own career.

Andrea Marcovicci - a mentor from afar. She sang, ('Some Enchanted Evening') 'and somehow you'll know, you'll know EVEN THEN, that somehow you'll see her again and again'. - such a clarity of story when she emphasized two words that had been swallowed in every previous singer's telling of that story - changed my life.

I would like to say, 'Thank you!' to each of them. 'Thank you for your courage, for your discipline, for your confidence in humanity, and your openness and willingness to share yourself with me.'

NA: What has this business given you and what has it taken away?

DCA: Given me an understanding of the Arts as being in the service of mankind. Taught me that the specific is the universal. Offered me the chance to value my specifics.

Taken away the belief that I am in control ...except when it comes to my decisions about the present. Heaven or hell? My choice.

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Kristoffer Lowe, D.C. Anderson, Corinna Sowers Adler, T. Oliver Reid and Andrea Frierson
The Spotlight in The Appel Room
Photo by Maryann Lopinto

Also given me the opportunity to examine 'ambition' - what is it and how much of it reveals what I truly want for myself and how much of it reveals what I think I SHOULD want for myself.

NA: What is the hour like before you go on stage?

DCA: Focus. Ritual. Camaraderie. During a preview or early in a run there might be some nervous energy and self-doubt...ugh.

NA: If you could experience one performance over again, which one would it be and why?

DCA: The National Tour of THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY - this question has been answered by my subconscious as I have had many dreams in which I find myself at the first read-through of a revival of that David Edgar play delight at the prospect stays with me for hours after waking.

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY was an 8 1/2 hour play. I played many parts. Immersion in the theater.

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D.C. with Erik Lochtefeld, Margo Seibert

NA: What are you most proud of?

DCA: CABARET NOEL: A BROADWAY CARES CHRISTMAS the first Broadway Cares holiday recording came to me in a dream. Made it a reality.

Songwriting collaborations. Every one of the 100 plus songs ...available on Spotify etc.

The discovery that I could be someone's partner in life - I am currently engaged to be married.

The cauliflower in this past year's vegetable garden.

10 Videos To Get Us Worked Up For WOMEN OF AN ERA Starring Hannah Jane At Chelsea Table + StageNA: How did you first get interested in performing?

DCA: I always knew I wanted to be an actor. I was dreadful in Paddy Chayefsky's GIDEON at the Black River Playhouse (community theater) at 12. Did not stop me.

NA: You've done quite a bit of touring. What is one of your favorite memories from being on the road?

DCA: At some point around twelve years into touring, an employee of one of the airports, upon seeing my two suitcases and a carry-on, squinched up her nose and said, 'Don't you think you could learn to travel a little LIGHTER?'. I fully comprehended Ralph Kramden's 'TO THE MOON, ALICE!'. Other than learning self-control that day...there were my years of memories of working with David Cryer - once onstage, we NEVER abandoned the world of the play... unforgettable.

NA: How would you describe your first performance in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway?

DCA: My first experience of POTO was a four-plus year run in Los Angeles... I joined the Broadway company ten plus years into their run...I was ecstatic to be on Broadway, I actually thought when the curtain went down we'd all trot over to Sardi's....

NA: You are a wonderful songwriter and lyricist. How do you decide what songs you'll put on your next album?

DCA: I record as many of them as I have time and money to record...then I jumble them about following mixing and prior to mastering the album...even though today's 'albums' are experienced a song at a time and rarely in the order in which the artist arranged them during mastering, I still leave out those songs they do not fit the 'collection' of songs that wind up being released together under a title (SARASOTA is my latest).

Thank you for the compliment about the songs. I am responsible for about 99 percent of the lyrics and only about 4 percent of melodies. I leave the composing to my collaborators. We give input to each other during the process...Since I will, most likely, be the only person that performs the song, I do, sometimes, ask for changes to a melody or accompaniment. Being respectful of the composer's contribution is a goal during that process. The composers make me a better lyricist. I often hear their composition and get embarrassed at the unworthiness of my lyrics - rewrites follow... Also, I have been asked by a composer for everything from a clearer story to a better 'joke' to just plain better lyrics - I appreciate it all.

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NA: What is one role on stage you'd love to play?

DCA: Jack Lemmon said he never took a role that didn't scare the crap out of him. With that in mind, I would say, 'King Lear'.

NA: What creative element are you working on now?

DCA: Writing songs

Becoming a better musician (learning instruments that have intrigued me for years - played guitar onstage in BRIGHT STAR last season. Want to do more of that).

Continuing associations with theater projects by Matte O'Brien and Matt Vinson, Jonathan Reid Gealt, and Jahn Sood.

I continue to create as a writer and as a photographer. On Instagram I am @dcandersonphoyography. I also have Facebook and Tumblr photography pages. Also, YARD WORK. It is never-ending and that is part of its charm!

Click HERE to watch D.C's Fall 2021 House Concert.


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