BWW Interview: LITTLE BLACK DRESS' Clint Hromsco Quick Changes From Choreographer/Director To Actor/Stripper/Perfect Man
The national touring company of LITTLE BLACK DRESS (with tagline: The Fearlessly Funny Girls' Night Out Musical) arrives in Los Angeles December 3, 2019 playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The combination musical and audience participation improv (directed by Christopher Bond) features co-creator Danielle Trzcinski with Jennette Cronk, Jenna Cormey and the sole male in the cast Clint Hromsco.
Clint took some time out between his multi-character performances at the GE Theatre @ Proctors in Schenectady, New York to answer a few of my inquisitive probings.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Clint.
You just finished playing the City Theatre in Detroit, Michigan and are now appearing at the GE Theatre @Proctors in Schenectady, NY. How's the shows going?
The show is just exploding! Since our opening in Toronto in May until now, the show has grown at a speed none of us could have imagined. The show is not JUST for women. All adults, whether you are single, married, a parent or a grandparent, can relate to something in the show. We have had audience members tell us after the show that they "never laughed so hard in their life" or "this is my favorite musical I've ever seen!" LITTLE BLACK DRESS gives the audience permission and the freedom to laugh at things we all go through and struggle with, but never openly talk about.
When and where did you start your national tour?
We rehearsed and opened the show in May and June in Toronto, Canada.
Any particular, unexpected audience reactions on your tour so far stick in your mind?
This actually happened quite recently in Detroit. At the top of the show, during a dance move on the floor, I accidentally ripped open a small slit in my pants on my left knee. Even after trying to mend it during intermission, the tear got bigger by the end of the show. In the second act, during a very serious phone call where I'm on stage by myself in a spot light, I heard an older woman loudly say to the woman next to her "His pants are ripped!" It was hard not to laugh.
You play twelve different roles in LBD. Are you the bad guy in most of your roles, since LBD is written from an all-female writing team's perspective? Absolutely not. Men are never at the butt of the jokes. If they were, then the show would be about men - and it's not. The characters I portray are based on real experiences and are supporting characters who help round out this beautiful story of friendship and sisterhood. In fact, the character of Mark, whom I spend the most time as, is caring, supportive and is written as the 'perfect man.'
Would you describe the different characters you play?
Sure! In no particular order I play:
Mark: The ideal man. A pediatrician focusing on cancer research and prevention. A true gentleman who is caring and supportive.
Store Manager: A very flamboyant dress shop owner who takes pride helping clients find the right dress.
70's Dad: Seen in a dream sequence flashback as the lover (and later husband) of the lead character's mom.
Boss: A put-together, hard-nosed boss whose confidence comes from a fierce secret he is hiding underneath.
Derek: A smooth talking "bro" who takes the lead character's V-card.
Sadie: A friend of the two lead characters. A party girl who later becomes pregnant.
TV Dad: The quintessential 50's TV Dad; Straight out of Leave it to Beaver.
Pierre: A perverted and rude Parisian.
Airplane Pilot: A professional and sexy British airplane captain.
Paparazzi: A chic photographer in Paris.
Two Strippers: One appears in the opening number of the show, and the other appears as a "police officer" at the bachelorette party.
You must have a lot of costume changes with twelve characters.
What's the fastest quick change you have to do?
Twenty quick changes to be exact. The fastest I have is during the final number of Act I. In about a four-minute span, I play three different characters. I start as Mark, then reappear as Sadie, and then enter as the police officer stripper. All during one song. I also have a very fast one from TV Dad into Pierre, which I believe is fifteen seconds.
Do you take being described as 'very sexy' (on the show's website) or 'so much more than a chiseled jawline and sexy pecs.' (in a BroadwayWorld review) as a compliment? Or do you feel objectified?
I have never once felt objectified during this process. As an actor, I fully commit to each one of my roles. Of course, a few of them are going to be objectified in the show more than others, but I never feel objectified as an actor. I take these comments as a compliment as it is commentary on my range as an actor to be able to play anything from a sexy stripper to a flashy store manager doing classical ballet.
Do you get any special treatment as the lone male in the cast?
Not at all. Everyone on this tour is an equal, and we are treated that way. We are a small family and have each other's backs on and off the stage.
What do you see as some of the perks being the only guy? (not having to share hotel rooms?)
Being able to get ready only fifteen minutes before the show, compared to my fellow female cast mates who spend a lot of time curling their hair and putting on make-up.
LBD is booked through next February ending at the Chrysler Theatre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Any city you're especially excited to perform in?
We are about to spend two weeks in L.A., which I am super excited about. I was in L.A. for two days only once before on another tour, so it will be fun to have some time to explore the city. We'll also be playing Milwaukee, which was one of my favorite cities to travel to on past tours. Unfortunately, we will not be going anywhere on the next leg where I have any family.
LBD is your fifth national tour, correct?
What touring tips have you picked up from your previous tours?
I have learned to pack only what you need. You think you are going to wear all of these clothes, and you end up wearing the same five things, especially on travel days. Always bring something small to remind you of home, whether it's a candle for your hotel room or a picture. Having a constant helps you feel grounded in something. Stock up on as much free food from the hotel breakfasts as you can! Oh, and the lotions! Take the lotions. I haven't bought moisturizer in seven years - seriously.
As a dancer and choreographer, are you fairly strict with your own workouts?
I am. I stretch everyday in life and on the road. This show has definitely changed my workout regime since some of my characters appear shirtless. I try to go to the gym five-six times a week.
Do you have to adapt your workouts while on the road from your usual daily routines when not on tour?
Yes and no. The daily workouts I do, I developed over the years on the road; so I can do them anywhere, like in my hotel room or in the dressing room. I do, however, go to a local gym in whatever city we are in to do a more extensive workout.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Ha, ha, yes. I laugh because I feel everyone's pre-show rituals appear ridiculous to others, but it's the little things that help focus us mentally and ground us before the show. For me, on any contract, whatever I did right before our opening night show, I must do before every show. This can include the order in which I put on my costume pieces, laying out my track sheet and costumes changes (which I no longer need) and even taking two bites of a Cliff bar after places has been called. I'm very superstitious, so if I miss something; I convince myself I won't have a good show.
You have an unusual last name. Is the 'H' silent? Do you often have to instruct people on how to spell it correctly?
Yes, the 'H' is silent. It's pronounced RUM-SKO. My entire life, even from the first day of kindergarten, I have had to correct people on how to say it and spell it. I still get mail with added vowels or missing letters. However, I refuse to change it. I'm proud of my name, and don't want to change who I am or where I came from. Growing up I always told people, "If people can learn to say Leelee Sobieski, then they can learn how to say Hromsco."
What do you see Clint Hromsco doing five years from now?
This is hard, because just when I think I know exactly where life is taking me, a whole other set of doors open which take me in other directions. For the past three years, I have been directing and choreographing in New York City - something I always had an interest in, but never thought I would ever be doing professionally. I have also been juggling theatre with TV and film work for the past few years. So right now, in five years, I see myself having booked a few co-star roles on TV, making more of a name for myself as a director, and building a resume of roles in straight plays, not just musicals. Oh, and I am also currently writing and illustrating my first children's book, which I hope to have published by then. I try to do it all, but why not? Life is too short!
Thank you again, Clint! I look forward to checking out your assortment of twelve characters when LITTLE BLACK DRESS comes to the Kirk Douglas.
For ticket availability and show schedule at the Kirk Douglas through December 15, 2019; log onto KirkDouglasTheatre.org
For future tour dates and cities, log onto LittleBlackDressTheMusical.com