Fred Harlow in A Man His Wife and His Hat
I’m asking veteran local actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that may seem outside the box.
Fred Harlow in An Inspector Calls
1.) Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof, by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein. “When people ask me if I can sing, my response is always, ‘at gunpoint.’ The few times I’ve been cast in a musical I make sure everybody concerned heard me sing and double-checked they didn’t switch my name with somebody else. However, FTOR is a perfect story! It has it all. Tevye’s relationships with his daughters and his faith are gut-wrenching. I can only imagine how draining this role is, but I would welcome the challenge.”
2.) Martin Dysart, Equus, by Peter Shaffer. “I saw the Broadway production in 1978 and was blown away. I remember sitting there thinking I could play that role someday. There is a stipulation, however: ion theatre must produce it! It’s such in-your-face storytelling. Combine that with their wonderfully intimate space, and they might have to add seat belts to the chairs!”
3.) “All of the Tuna plays.” Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard have written four: Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas, Red, White, and Tuna, and Tuna Does Vegas. Two actors play over 20 eccentric characters. “I was lucky enough to have been cast in A Tuna Christmas, and would love to do the whole series. I know, it's light fluffy theater, but hey — funny is funny!”
4.) “Any role in The Skin of Our Teeth,” by Thornton Wilder. All time exists at once, which is why a dinosaur’s in the Antrobus family’s living room. “I love this play!! I saw it when I was 11 or 12 and thought it was delightfully weird. A while back I posted on Facebook if people thought it worthy enough to produce today, and the answer was a resounding YES! We all know about Grover’s Corners in Our Town, but I feel we theater geeks know very little about the Antrobus family. I also love the fact that Thornton Wilder wrote the play as a reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.”
5.) Sheridan Whiteside, The Man Who Came to Dinner, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. Theater critic/raconteur Sheridan Whiteside slips on ice, breaks his leg, and commandeers the home of unsuspecting Ohioans. “I would love to revisit Sheridan Whiteside. I played him in college but what the hell can a 20-year-old bring to that part? I know it’s an old war horse but what a noble war horse it is! I love language and so does Sheri. He has some of the funniest insults ever written. It’s a tricky role that could sour very quickly. He’s a pompous ass but a lovable one.”