Every month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out editor Matthew Wexler’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. We kick off 2016 with a fresh look at Chicago, the long-running musical that also happens to feature the handsome Michael Scirrotto.
Chicago celebrates its 20th year on Broadway and the title of the longest-running American musical. How long have you been with the show and how do you (and the company) keep it fresh?
I have been with the show for almost two years now. I cannot speak on behalf of the company, but certainly for myself. It all comes back to when I was in acting class in high school. My teacher told us that whenever you step onto the stage, you have to put on your fresh ears/eyes, and always respond honestly as if you are hearing what is being said for the first time.
It is not about giving a consistent line reading night after night, but rather finding the truth in what it is you are doing. As for dance, I always deliver a full-out performance. I don’t know how to “mark.” It is not in my nature. Maybe it was my training. I am so passionate about Fosse and I feel the style suits me well. I have been studying it for years.
What’s your favorite number in the show and why?
Tough question! I absolutely love the “Overture” into “Jazz” but I think my favorite number is “Me And My Baby.” That is the point in the show where I really feel like I can finally bust out and dance. It is so playful, mischievous, and cheeky. It has great moments to showcase acting, Fosse technique and just plain old dance technique. For me, it’s a crowd pleaser.
Are you more Roxie or Velma?
Velma. For sure.
You’ve toured with A Chorus Line and West Side Story. How does this choreography (originally staged by Bob Fosse and interpreted for this production by Anne Reinking) compared to Michael Bennett and Jerome Robbins?
All three men were so different in their styles. Jerome was very ballet driven. In order to dance Robbins, you must have ballet technique. It’s hard stuff. Whereas I feel that Bennett was driven solely by the music and characterization. He did not necessarily have a “style” but rather choreographed to the music and to what made sense to him.
I believe Fosse is in his own category. Not only is it a style, but it is also a “way of being.” Bob was very much influenced by Jack Cole and from what I can gather, by the percussive sounds of Jazz. He played with isolation of the body and finding the stillness in a single movement. But what most people don’t realize is that his style is very actor-driven. You have to play the role of a magician.
I hate it when people say, “Fosse is so easy to dance.” It is more than just isolation. You cant expect to be able to just dance it; like most people think. You have to be a dynamic performer to execute Fosse correctly—otherwise his simplicity in movement is boring to watch. If you aren’t engaged and fully committed to being a jazzy-magician (lol) then you may as well take a seat. I feel that if you aren’t sweating after a simple “Fosse walk”, then you aren’t doing it correctly. Though it is rooted deeply in the isolation of the body, it all comes from the core. If your core isn’t engaged and pulled up tight, then you look sloppy. You have to learn to articulate all the way down to your finger, and then past it. It is at times slow and painful to dance, because you have to pull up very tight. It is sensual, cunning… and unlike any other.
If I wasn’t a performer, I would be:
I would probably be in sales like my father.
Places, Intermission or Curtain Call?
PLACES. The energy is intoxicating.
The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at:
As a cast we like to hit up E&E Grill House, which is right by the theater. But I hold a special place for Medi. The bartender there makes a really great extra dirty martini.
After you’ve hit all the traditional sites of New York City, you should totally go to:
If I could live anywhere else in the world it would be:
San Diego, Miami, or London
My workout “secret” is:
The show. I treat it like a workout. If I’m not sweating and tired, then I didn’t work hard enough. In addition, I hit the gym three times a week.
When I’m looking for a date, nothing attracts me more than:
My favorite website is:
Amazon. I’m obsessed. I have a problem.
People would be surprised to learn that I . . .
Love to be outdoors. I’m a secret hippy.
Ten years from now I’d like to be:
Married with kids, living on a beach. Or on television.
219 West 49th Street, NYC
NFL legend Eddie George appears as Billy Flynn through February 28.