BWW Interview: We Play 20 Questions with ALADDIN's Clinton Greenspan
The national tour of the hit stage adaptation of Disney's ALADDIN has finally arrived in Orange County, playing a three-week engagement at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through March 23, 2019. The talented, terrifically nimble actor that can currently be found in the title role wearing the signature vest-no-shirt-parachute pants garb is Clinton Greenspan, who first joined the tour in the ensemble as well as serving as the Aladdin understudy. His previous work included roles in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, DREAMGIRLS, ROMEO & JULIET, and the tour of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER.
While enjoying the sometimes rainy, sometimes super sunny weather of Southern California, Clinton agreed to answer 20 Questions from BroadwayWorld's OC correspondent Michael L. Quintos.
1. Hi, Clinton! Any nicknames or aliases?
2. Where is your hometown?
Arlington, TX---between Dallas and Fort Worth.
3. Did you know even as a young kid that you wanted to be a musical theater actor?
I started as a gymnast. My family played classical music and musicals in our home, and we watched operas on TV. So when gymnastics did not work out, I moved over to theatre arts. My grandmother suggested a local theatre---The Creative Arts Theatre & School---that had classes in various disciplines: dance, acting, on camera, and stage combat. I became very comfortable there---it was a second home for me.
4. Which artists influenced you growing up?
Dick Van Dyke---I loved his approach to things. I would tap dance along to "Step in Time" when I was young. I also looked up to Gene Kelly---they both gave so much energy and life to their performances that it made you want to perform like that.
5. What is the first ever role you played on stage?
My first role was playing Coco, a Pirate in PETER PAN, at the Creative Arts Theatre & School (CATS).
6. How did you feel when you learned you were cast as Aladdin, one of the most beloved characters (and Disney Princes) of all time?
I turned into a hedgehog and curled up on the floor... when I was first cast in the musical, in another role. I got very emotional when I was told about getting the role of Aladdin. I called my mother---and made her guess---what surprise I was calling about. And when she guessed---and I told her---she screamed and was very excited for me. My mom is my "leading lady."
7. What's been your most challenging role to date?
Aladdin is a physically and vocally demanding role---water and sleep are my best friends. I have to stay in top shape during the show run---eating plenty of healthy food like spinach, grilled chicken and broccoli, smoothies, and an occasional burger or donut.
8. Is there a dream role you want to maybe tackle some day?
Alexander Hamilton in HAMILTON, and maybe Thomas Jefferson also. Another would be Bert in MARY POPPINS, given my childhood memories of that movie.
9. Describe your character Aladdin in one sentence:
He's a boy with a big heart that has made bad decisions and wants to do better.
10. If you had an opportunity to get three wishes from a genie, what would they be?
1. An infinite amount of burgers.
2. Have the Red Hot Chili Peppers play just for me.
3. A Spider-man costume.
11. What song or artist do you like to belt in the shower or in the car?
Stevie Wonder's "I Wish."
12. What scares you the most?
The movie E.T. - the character scares me!
13. What is your one guilty pleasure?
14. What do you like doing on your day(s) off?
Getting fast food... Going to see a movie... Binge watching some TV... Exploring the town I am in.
15. What or Who irritates you the most?
When a fried chicken place says they don't have anymore chicken.
16. What instantly puts a smile on your face?
Hearing kids giggle in the audience.
17. If you weren't an actor, what other career do you picture yourself doing instead?
Bassist in a rock band (I play bass guitar).
18. Any advice for our young readers on Broadway World who want to pursue a career in musical theater?
My advice would be to take all the classes and build up your résumé; say yes, more than no; and that the hard times are what make you stronger.
19. What is the most important thing you learned about yourself while touring with ALADDIN?
Self-Appreciation---I have learned a lot about taking care of me on tour.
20. And, finally... what are you looking forward to the most during your stop in Costa Mesa?
Looking forward to getting to the beach and exploring around Costa Mesa.
Performances of the National Tour of Disney's ALADDIN at Segerstrom Center for the Arts continue through Sunday, March 23, 2019. Tickets can be purchased online at www.SCFTA.org, by phone at 714-556-2787 or in person at the SCFTA box office (open daily at 10 am). Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For tickets or more information, visit SCFTA.org.