I’m asking veteran 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 seem outside the box.
Versatile actor/performer Geno Carr
“Wow — so many roles to choose from. Every time I’m privileged enough to hop on a stage, I am forever grateful to step into someone else’s shoes and share their life with the audience. There’s nothing more nurturing to your own humanity than exploring what it would be like to live as someone else. I’ve been lucky enough to play several of my ‘dream roles’ already. But here are a few characters whose footwear I would love to try on for size.”
1.) The Baker, Into the Woods, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. “This is definitely a hot show right now, but it has long been one of my favorites. I fell deeply in love with the piece when I directed a production as my senior thesis at Hartwick College — and the affair has endured. In August, Nancy (my beautiful wife) and I welcomed a son, Elliott, into the world. So the Baker means even more to me now. He and his wife go on a quest to reverse a curse in order to have a baby. The choices we make in life and the impact they have, especially on our families, is a theme I’m particularly drawn to today.”
2.) Clown #1 or #2, The 39 Steps, by Patrick Barlow, based on the 1935 Hitchcock film, uses only four actors. “Now this would be exhausting fun! I do love a good challenge, and creating the seemingly endless cavalcade of characters in this comedy would provide that and then some. Plus, it would be a very effective way to sweat off the pounds I’m looking to drop — swimsuit season in San Diego is always just around the corner, you know.”
3.) Tateh in Ragtime, book by Terrence McNally, lyrics, Lynn Ahrens, music, Stephen Flaherty. “One of the all-time great musicals: an epic story told beautifully with an incredible score from top to bottom. Tateh, the immigrant father, is a special role with great depth and a character arc I drool over. Plus, he gets to sing some of the most gorgeous music in the score.”
4.) Freddy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, music/lyrics by David Yazbek; book, Jeffrey Lane. “Boy oh boy would this be a fun one! I hadn’t moved to San Diego when this gem was at the Old Globe, but I did get to catch it on Broadway. I can safely say that Freddy, the comic con man, sits squarely in my wheelhouse. Don’t you agree, producers and directors out there? Don’t you? Please?!?!”
5.) Father O’Flynn, Doubt, John Patrick Shanley. “Some might think this choice comes out of left field for a guy seen primarily in musicals and comedies. I have been known to play a few darker characters from time to time, though, and would relish the challenge of creating this mysterious priest in a drama that asks more questions than it answers.”