Spotlight On...Randy Harrison

Friday, July 27th 2012

By: Michael Block
Source: theaterinthenow.com
Edited by: Marcy

Name: Randy Harrison

Hometown: Nashua, New Hampshire

Education: BFA from CCM.  Also, tons of different teachers in the city.  I was pretty much constantly in different classes the first 7 years I was in NYC.

Select Credits: Red (Ken, George Street Playhouse & Cleveland Playhouse); The Habit of Art (Stuart, Studio Theatre DC); Twelfth Night (Sebastian, Shakespeare Theatre DC);  Waiting for Godot (Lucky), Ghosts (Osvald), The Who's Tommy (Tommy) at Berkshire Theatre Group; Wicked (Boq, Broadway)

Why theater?: I began performing as a child and the theatre has always been a home for me.   Being with actors in a rehearsal or on stage has always been one of the few places I really feel I belong and am accepted.  When I was younger, the more fantastical and magical aspects of the theatre appealed to me.  I loved that on the other side of the proscenium was a world where anything you imagined could exist and the rules of everyday reality didn't have to apply.  As I got older the poetic, social and political aspects of theatre really inspired me.  Seeing or reading Kushner, Beckett, Shakespeare- it makes me feel more deeply engaged in the world.  Also, some of the most cathartic and personally inspiring moments in my life have occurred as a member of an audience, and I want to be part of that for other people.

Tell us about Silence! the Musical: Ha ha.  After I get all deep, I'll talk about Silence! the Musical because this shit is DEEP.   Silence! the Musical is an unauthorized musical parody of "Silence of the Lambs", I kid you not.  Its insanely funny and raucous and filthy. I watched it a bunch rehearsing to go in, and I was laughing my ass off every night.

What is it like being a part of Silence! the Musical: It is so fun.  Its refreshing for me to be a clown, cause its an aspect of my personality that I haven't had much opportunity to explore professionally.  Also, I'm working with friends who I think are brilliant, so I feel lucky every night to look across the stage and see someone I love and admire do something so hilariously idiotic that I can't help but break.  And the audiences enjoy it so much that it really leaves you feeling rewarded.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I have a hard time pinning it down.  When I go to the theatre I always want to see something personal, something engaged and a little bit idiosyncratic.   I like to be surprised and when you see plays all the time it can become hard to be surprised.  It's nice to be refreshed and challenged.  Even if the work is messy or doesn't come together, I find the attempt and the risk more inspiring than anything else.    Actors inspire me.  When you meet an actor with a long eclectic career who's managed to do some amazing work and keep a roof over their head and their feet on the ground, that's fucking inspiring because its not easy and you know how much they've sacrificed.   I'm also inspired by risk and failure.  People who aren't afraid, who can let go of needing to be right or good or liked. 

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I have a bunch of somedays, a few maybe sometime soons, but no absolutely right now at the moment.    Uncle Vanya, Richard the Second, Hamlet, George in Sunday in the Park.  I could do Beckett all the time, I love it so much.   I also really want to do more new work and work more with playwrights.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I think its a tie between "Move On" and "Rose's Turn"

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Isabelle Huppert.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would want to pull some "Palindromes"/"I'm Not There" shit and have a ton of people play me.  Like all my friends.  It would be called something like "Accumulated Mistakes" or "Accident Prone: or something.  I dunno.   Lynne Ramsey would direct it and we'd shoot all over Europe and South America. Just 'cause. 

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: "Dance Moms Miami" 

What show have you recommended to your friends?: "Dance Moms Miami"

What’s the best advice you can give someone trying to make it in theater?: Do it.  Jump on every opportunity.  Make your own work.  Don't have an ego about it.  Know what you love.

What’s up next?: I don't think people should ask actors that because we usually don't know and are forced to make something up that makes us seem glamourous and successful.   So for me I guess megastardom and something that pays my BILLZ.  I also want to work abroad.  And get back on TV.  And keep working with Jenn Harris.