BWW Interview: Rob Paulsen of ANIMANIACS LIVE! at Balboa Theatre
There is a word to describe Rob Paulsen; that word is joy. There are others of course, insanely talented, energetic, and impactful since the characters and shows he brings his talents to have people of all ages over the years. It's the live concert, ANIMANIACS: LIVE! That brings Rob, and Emmy Awarding winning cast of the show, and those beloved characters to the Balboa stage on Thursday, July 18th at 7:30pm.
The show features the voice-cast stars of the iconic animated series - Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky, Dr. Scratchansniff), Jess Harnell (Wakko), Maurice LaMarche (The Brain), and Emmy Award-winning composer Randy Rogel who created all of those memorable songs you can still sing from memory.
From Yakko and Pinky from THE ANIMANIACS, TEENAGE NUTANT NINJA TURLTES (Raphael the original series, Donatello in the new series, and he is the voice director), DARKWING DUCK, POWERPUFF GIRLS, RICK AND MORTY, his characters seem endless. Honestly...go to his IMBD page, if there's a cartoon show you loved he was probably a voice on it.
Naturally someone with such an impressive and imaginative resume is equally as energetic and charismatic as those he brings to life in the recording booth. This passion for performing is no accident though, Rob says that it has always been a family passion.
"I have three siblings, one brother, and two sisters and we are all in the arts. My parents were performers as well in community theatre and we were all encouraged to perform, to sing, and quite honestly my siblings - I started out as a singer who became an actor, and my brother is a wonderful dancer, and my two sisters are really excellent singers.
My brother, Mike Paulsen was a full time actor in New York for years and now works for Broadway Cares. He's been working for them and I'm really proud of him."(Thank you for all that you do Michael Paulsen and Broadway Cares!)
Rob credits all the theatre people that he's worked with for being amazing colleagues and inspiration in this business as well.
"I found myself in animation working with people like George Hearn, like Helen Hunt, and Jonathan Winters, and Carol Channing, John Astin, and all of these wonderful actors and actresses who did all kinds of work in every medium and now they're doing cartoons.
I bring up George Hearn because he is a great touchstone for people who love Broadway. I had the good fortune of working with him a few times. Hearn's example and his kindness he taught me a great lesson and that is no matter where you get success is relative. It's still all about working."
So it's no surprise that Animaniacs had a strong theatrical vein to it, or that it transferred into a live concert version like the show coming to San Diego.
"Animaniacs was such an homage to theatre, Bernadette Peters was on that show, what does that tell you about the power of animation? And she is a star any way you slice it. She is not only delightful, but all of those songs are still so relevant. They're utterly timeless, the shows on which I have had the good fortune to work has remained relevant especially for people who grew up watching it."
The other bonus to performing all of this live in a theatre is the fun of performing it for a live audience.
"When Randy Rogel, who wrote virtually all the music you know from Animaaniacs, and I do this around the country with the music it's nothing but utterly joyful. We have people who come to the show and are there with their children and grandchildren and it's the most gloriously positive, wonderful and happy experience and the music is unbelievable in a live setting.
Performing in a theater is the best because the audience knows one or more of the songs and they're all happy and singing in and it is nothing short of astonishing. I am the grateful beneficiary of profoundly impactful love and kindness from an audience so big I can't even get my head around it. Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain were very, very special. "
Rob is looking forward to bringing this experience to San Diego this coming week.
"It will be a four or five piece band and Peter Hastings who helped create Pinky and the Brain is playing bass for us, so we'll be able to talk to Pinky and the Brian and the Balboa Theatre is gorgeous.
There has been this incredible connection to something that has brought immeasurable joy to millions, not the least of whom is your humble Yakko. It's a mind bending thing to be a part of."
Join Rob, Randy, Peter, and the band on Thursday, July q8th at 7:30pm for ANIMAIACS Live! At the Balboa Theatre. For ticket information go to https://sandiegotheatres.org/animaniacs-in-concert/
Photo Credit: Rob Paulsen