BWW Interview: Scott Cote of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at Fisher Theatre Says It's a Two Hour Laugh Riot!
Get ready to laugh as The Play That Goes Wrong arrives February 12th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit! The hilarious Tony-Award winning hit Broadway comedy is co-written by Mischief Theatre company members' Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields about the fictitious Cornley University Drama Society who are attempting to put on a 1920s' murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong, does! Scott Cote is on the road with the first national tour play and BroadwayWorld Detroit had moment to speak with him about the show, his role of Dennis, and why the play is a hilarious riot that should not be missed!
BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction?
Scott Cote: I grew up in Maine and went to college in New York City. I went to the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts, which is an acting conservatory. After the three-year program, I started immediately auditioning for work and my first professional job was the show The Fantasticks and I played the old actor in that. I was on my path to being a character actor, you could say, playing an old actor in my early twenties! I've done a lot of regional work including productions at The Goodspeed Opera House, The Pittsburgh Playhouse, and The Pittsburgh Public Theater. This is my third national tour. Previously, I've just finished the first national tour of Something Rotten! Before that, in 2008, I did the first national tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I'm still waiting for the Broadway stage - haven't done that yet!
BWW Detroit: I'm sure you'll get there!
Scott Cote: I hope so!
BWW Detroit: How would you describe The Play That Goes Wrong in your own words?
Scott Cote: In my own words, I feel the best way to describe it to people is it's as if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had a baby. It's basically two hours of just non-stop laughter. It's the type of the show where you leave you brain at the door and you just enjoy yourself for two hours. You don't have to think about anything, just let your laughter come out because that's what is going to happen the moment we start until the curtain comes down. It's a two hour laugh riot!
BWW Detroit: How do you describe your character, Dennis?
Scott Cote: This show is a play within a play. So my role is Dennis, who is part of this troupe from Cornley University Drama Society, and he plays Perkins, the butler, in The Murder at Haversham Manor, which is the play we're trying to put on. I describe Dennis as a very eager type of guy. This is his first role in the Drama Society, and he is trying his best to hit his marks and to do everything perfectly because he wants to be a part of this Society from now on and this is his first opportunity. He's trying to make a good impression. Every time he screws up or mispronounces a word, it really affects him and it's like "well I blew my chance." But he's a very eager guy and trying to do his best.
BWW Detroit: Did you do any special preparation for your role?
Scott Cote: When we were starting to rehearse as a cast, we would do a fair amount improv to sort of develop who these characters are in our own way. Those improv games were pretty important to helping us create each of our individual characters.
BWW Detroit: Do you have special pre-show rituals that you do to help you get into character?
Scott Cote: Yes, I do actually. Once I'm in my full costume, I always go over my first chunk of lines. I say them out loud in my accent so I can get the accent in my mouth and in my body. I always do that before every performance. It's like the first maybe five, six lines, but I always recite them before I go onstage.
BWW Detroit: Do you see any similarities between Dennis and yourself?
Scott Cote: His eagerness for wanting to do good - I do share that with him. I guess I'm bringing that part to Dennis. I always try to good. It does bother me if I miss my mark or something, but I try my hardest to be very good.
BWW Detroit: We all should try to be very good.
Scott Cote: I think so, right?
BWW Detroit: You already said it's Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes - combination of two with lots of laughter. It's a traveling play. It is something quite different that comes to town than the usual type of theatre. What makes The Play That Goes Wrong unique?
Scott Cote: It is pretty special, not a lot of plays tour the country. And this show, being a play, is pretty astounding that it is selling as well as it is. And plus, there are no like name actors in this group. We are really professional cast, but we are not like you know Brad Pitt. There is no name in this cast where people will buy tickets because they will want to see that actor in the show. I think just the fact that people will want to see The Play That Goes Wrong is pretty unique and they want to laugh because don't we all need laughter right now?
BWW Detroit: Do you have a favorite moment or line in the show?
Scott Cote: That's pretty tough. There are certain moments that I really enjoy, but it would give away what happens on stage. Let's just say that my character, Dennis, who plays Perkins, is going to mispronounce a handful of words. Those are my favorite moments to play because when I say the word incorrectly on stage, it's fun to hear the audience react and that is just devastating to Dennis.
BWW Detroit: Why should the people of Detroit come out and see The Play That Goes Wrong?
Scott Cote: They should come and see it because there's not a lot of shows out there where you will consistently laugh from start to finish. It's a show where you do not have to think. There are no meaty plot points where you have to follow to understand - this is complete and pure slapstick. You're going to leave the theatre with your sides hurting from laughing!
The Play That Goes Wrong opens February 12th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. For more information and tickets, visit www.BroadwayInDetroit.com.