Interview: Actor Hal Linden Talks GRUMPY OLD MEN

By: Sep. 13, 2019
Interview: Actor Hal Linden Talks GRUMPY OLD MEN

Beloved actor Hal Linden of TV's Barney Miller is equally famous for his Broadway appearances including the recipient of a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for 1971's The Rothschilds. He is about to open on September 20 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in the West Coast premiere of the new musical Grumpy Old Men.

Linden is no stranger to theatre in Los Angeles. I saw him do a unique production of The Fantasticks at The Pasadena Playhouse a few years back and ... he was wonderful. When I questioned him about the production, he alluded to the fact that the 2016 production was the vision of director Seema Sueko who took "the fairytale and presented it with a troupe of actors who performed it in an old theatre, giving it double theatricality".

Does Linden have a favorite musical? "You love each show as you are doing it. It's the same work, sweet, and you bring energy and love to it. There's an old quote, "When he's not near the show he loves, he loves the show he's near"". What about a role he has not performed onstage and would love to play? He claims his schedule never permitted but he missed out on the king in The King and I and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. I am certain he would be terrific in both. By the way, he commented about what I said about his performance in The Fantasticks with that dry sense of humor of his ..."And yes, I was wonderful."

Yes, Linden is a natural charmer and is clearly deliciously funny. As to Grumpy Old Men, he claims he is not playing a grumpy old man but a "dirty old man. I am a 94 year old grandpa who is a little horny. Well I'm not 94, but I'm still horny."

As far as what he likes most about the show are the rehearsals. "They are the most satisfying. We actors are executing other artists' work and we try to do it as imaginatively and creatively as possible. With the input - try this, try that - in the rehearsals, we get to accomplish this."

On another funny note he mentioned that the second most frequently asked question he has been asked is "What was Abe Vigoda really like? - which he claimed emphatically "I never answered".

He has never seen the movie "Grumpy Old Men", but is very happy with the show. "I can't kick, because in this show I have what comes closest to a showstopper. It's an old fashioned musical predicated on music and laughs with no philosophical point being pushed."

Asked if he enjoys doing comedy over drama or vice versa, he quoted Chaplin, "Say something real in a funny way or something funny in a real way. Never say something funny in a funny way." He loves the work period.

As to his years on Barney Miller, with mulitple Emmy nominations, he referred to it as "a unique experience in television". They did not have a live audience, but were a real rep company where each actor became an expert on his own character. "We rehearsed until we were happy and then shot it like a film. Every week we did as good as we thought we could do with that script. it was very creative."

Linden is bound to be a hoot in the musical and encourages that you make the trek to La Mirada for Grumpy Old Men The Musical. It opens in preview on the 20th, and the official opening night is Saturday the 21st. Follow the link below for more info and to purchase tix:


Prism Comics Presents Q CON Southern Californias 2nd Annual LGBTQ+ Comic Co Photo
Prism Comics Presents Q CON Southern California's 2nd Annual LGBTQ+ Comic Convention 

Prism Comics, the nonprofit championing LGBTQ+ visibility, diversity and inclusion in comics, graphic novels and popular media, presents Q Con, Southern California's newest LGBTQ+ comic con on Saturday, June 17, 2023 from 10 am to 5 pm at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park, 1166 North Vista Street, West Hollywood, CA. 

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS Announced At The El Portal Theatre Begins October 6 Photo
LOVE AMONG THE RUINS Announced At The El Portal Theatre Begins October 6

JoBeth Williams (“Poltergeist,” “The Big Chill”) and Peter Strauss (“Rich Man, Poor Man,” “The Jericho Mile”) star in the romantic Love Among the Ruins, written by James G. Hirsch and Robert A. Papazian, from a film script by James Costigan. Love Among the Ruins is a Papazian Hirsch presentation  and is directed by Michael Arabian.

Rachel Hauck to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award by UCLA School of Theater, Film and Tel Photo
Rachel Hauck to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award by UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

Award-winning director, writer, producer and alumna Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King, The Old Guard) will deliver the keynote address at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's the school's 76th annual commencement ceremony.

Ebi, Leila Forouhar, Faramarz Aslani & More to Join LIVE FOR LIBERTY Concert Photo
Ebi, Leila Forouhar, Faramarz Aslani & More to Join LIVE FOR LIBERTY Concert

Iran Democracy Council and EMH Productions, the world's leading Iranian concert brand, will present 'Live for Liberty,' a large-scale charity concert taking place at YouTube Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 11.

From This Author - Don Grigware

  Don Grigware was a writer for BroadwayWorld through December 2019.                                    &... (read more about this author)


#repshow# in[i]# Gunhild Carling Big Band
Catalina Jazz Supper Club (6/14-6/14)Tracker VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About Michael Jackson As Told By His Glove
Carl Sagan And Ann Druyan Theater (5/05-7/01)Tracker PHOTOS VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# Celebration Theatre presents A New Brain
Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center (4/29-6/24)Tracker
#repshow# in[i]# Totally Ridiculous, Absolutely Possible
Bold Theatre (6/24-7/09)
#repshow# in[i]# Stories@The Playhouse: Best of BackStory
Sierra Madre Playhouse (6/12-6/12)
#repshow# in[i]# Ghosts Can't Pay Rent
The Actors Company - The Other Space Theatre (6/04-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Get Great
The Little Theatre at the Actors Company (6/03-6/24)
The Music Center (6/16-6/18)
#repshow# in[i]# Mr. Yunioshi
Sierra Madre Playhouse (8/04-8/13)
#repshow# in[i]# Witch Hazel: An Anxiety Play
Broadwater Second Stage (6/06-6/24)

Recommended For You