Interview: James Urbaniak Yields a Wide BRUSHSTROKE

John Ross Bowie’s Brushstroke world premieres at the Odyssey January 27th (w/previews beginning January 23rd)

By: Jan. 19, 2024
Interview: James Urbaniak Yields a Wide BRUSHSTROKE

Interview: James Urbaniak Yields a Wide BRUSHSTROKE

John Ross Bowie’s Brushstroke world premieres at the Odyssey January 27, 2024 (with previews beginning January 23rd). Casey Stangl directs the cast of James Urbaniak, Malcolm Barrett, Brendan Hines and Brendan Hines. James took some time from rehearsals to answer a few of my queries.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, James!

What aspects of this world premiere of Brushstroke enticed you to be a part of it?

I’m an old friend of John Ross Bowie’s. (We share a love of old show business and from the moment we met we started sub-referencing the names of old character actors.) I saw John’s play about the Ramones, Four Chords and a Gun, and loved it. When he asked if I’d be in a reading of a new play, I said, absolutely. I ended up being in three readings of Brushstroke over the years and jumped at the chance to be in a full production. John writes about provocative subjects with a classic sense of style.

What would your three-line pitch for Brushstroke be?

Come see Brushstroke. My first play. In years. Then something pithy about how it’s a sensational dark comedy set in 1950s New York about the real-life co-mingling of national espionage with the avant garde.

Have you worked with any of Brushstroke’s cast or creatives before?

Known John and Brendan Hines for years, first met Malcolm Barrett when we did a reading of the play together, known Evangeline Edwards since we started rehearsal and I’m lucky to be working with her.

If you were to submit your character Ted on a dating website, what qualities of his would you list?

Pot smoker, free-thinker, action painter

What flaws would you definitely leave out?

Secrets I cannot disclose here.

In an alternate universe, in what venue and under what circumstances would the characters you’ve played (Brushstroke’s Ted, The Universe’s main character and Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)’s Thom) interact? A football game? In line for the DMV? At an art auction?

In the waiting room of a therapist’s office.

What inspired you to co-found the theatre company Arden Party in New York in the 1980s?

Meeting my mentor, the director Karin Coonrod, whose idea it was. Arden Party existed for about ten years, some of the best of my life.

What cosmic forces brought you to the taping of Late Night With David Letterman in 1983?

I was obsessed with Late Night with David Letterman, like many of my generation. And I lived in New Jersey, quick bus to New York.

What do you remember of getting in front of the camera to retell his flubbed monologue joke?

How strange it was to see myself on the monitors and how tall Letterman was. 

If financial compensation were not a factor, in which form of entertainment would you focus all your talents? Film? Television? Theatre?

I would quite honestly love to do more theater. I miss it.

What’s in the near future for James Urbaniak?

Since as of this interview I’m still in rehearsal, Sleepy Time tea and bed.

Thank you again, James! I look forward to seeing your Brushstrokes.

For tickets to the live performances of Brushstrokes through March 3, 2024; click on the button below: