SB - No. Sometimes I just look around and wonder how I got here. I'm not a dancer, yet I ended up doing Tommy which was one of the biggest dance shows on Broadway at the time. Zombie Prom was a huge dance show.
EF - Your comment reminds me of an interview I saw with Barbra Streisand. She pointed out how her goal really is to act and direct and put less emphasis on the singing.
SB - It's funny because I had a professor in college who said that I could not sing and should talk sing all of my music. For years afterwards I didn't sing a note. I believed I was not a singer. I'm thinking he knows, he's the teacher.
EF - Well, I'm glad you changed your mind.
SB - It is weird. After that I started singing rock music and stuck with that for a while. I figured that is all I can really do.
EF - Look at you now.
SB - It is amazing because I'm learning a lot from the writers of this show, John (Dempsey) and Dana (P. Rowe). There is an untapped area of my voice that I'm really discovering doing this show. Dana, the man who wrote the music, knows my voice so well. Better than most people. It is really amazing to have someone like him here. He catches little things I do. It is really helpful.
EF - You have mostly been in shows which are rock based. Have you thought about exploring the more traditional Broadway show?
SB - I've done shows that are mostly rock based because that is what I am most comfortable singing. I never really aspired to be a "Broadway style" singer. I got my degree in acting and directing and just happened to be singing in rock bands at the same time... and now I'm here... GO FIGURE!!! I have a true admiration for the discipline that goes into a legit or Broadway style of singing. Dana and John have worked a lot with me on developing the more "legit" side of my voice and I would love to keep working on it and trying to combine it with what it is I do. I would like to do some of the more traditional roles out there and just put more of an edge on them. The trick is getting the people in charge to take a chance on that!
EF - Do you remember when you first wanted to be in the business? Was it a certain event that sparked it off?
SB - I think it was a combination of a lot of things. I can remember sitting in the audience at rock concerts. My parents use to take us to concerts. We really weren't a theater going family. My parents were into Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, and The Eagles. They would take us to see concerts. I remember sitting in the audience thinking how moved I was by that person on the stage. What they were doing was so important. It made me feel a certain way and I knew that is what I wanted to do.
EF - Was there ever somebody who has had an influence on your life regarding this business?
SB - Like a lot of actors, I had a high school drama teacher who was hugely instrumental in setting me on the right track as far as being an actor.
EF - Are you still in touch?
SB - Yes. She's one of my best friends now. To this day, if I'm a little lost, I know I can call her.
EF - Now, think of your best friend. If he was sitting right here, right now and I asked him to describe you, what would he say?
SB - I have no idea. I know what I would hope for them to say. I would hope they would say that I'm a good person, honest, and fair.
EF - Let's reverse it around a bit. Say you want to save money on publicity, so you don't hire someone but decide to do it yourself. How would you advertise yourself?
SB - I'd say something like oh yeah he's a nice guy. He's good, you'll like him (laughing). I guess I'd say I'm a multi-faceted person. I would definitely need a publicist.
EF - Often an actor wants to get to a certain level of success. How would you define success in terms of being an actor?
SB - Well, there are so many different levels of it. The reason you do it is to touch people through playwrights words, through lyricists words. That is the reason for doing it, to send a message. We all know there are like 6 million actors in the world. A certain part of success is just being able to do it. This is a huge gift for me that I can be here doing this play right now. I'm so thankful to be here, to have done The Last Session. That is a degree of success right there. For some people success is they just want to make a living at it and pay their bills.
EF - Is being on Broadway a measure of success?
SB - Yeah, I think it is. It is weird because the minute you think something is successful and you attain it, the success tends to disappear and it is on to the next thing. I can remember thinking to myself when I was working at an office at one time that if I could just get into a show it would help in paying my bills. Then, I was in a show and I'm like OK , now what I need is something else. You sort of move to different levels.
EF - So, what would your next level of success be?
SB - To continue going in the direction I'm going. To originate more roles. It was a conscious decision and one that I'm still going to have to pay the price for. I could have taken a lot of money jobs over the summer rather than have stayed at The Last Session. I was offered a lot of other stuff that would have paid my way but I would have gone back to roles I already have done or someone else had done. When I got back from doing Tommy in Germany, understudying Michael, which was great, I made a conscious decision not to step into anyone else's work anymore. That is not to say that I won't ever...
EF - So if Miss Saigon comes up?
SB - (Laughing) If Miss Saigon comes up, I WON'T TURN IT DOWN. It was more important for me to go in this direction of originating roles. It is a hard call.
EF - John Barrowman originated the role of Cal in The Fix in London. How did you make it your own?
SB - Well, before John played the role, I did the demo tapes of the role. The guys who wrote Zombie Prom wrote this. It was a couple of months after Zombie Prom closed. They told me of a new show and a role that my voice was right for. They invited me to come in and demo it. They gave me the script. We worked a lot on the sound they wanted for Cal. There was a lot of work that went into it on my part already. They brought be over to London to audition for it. That was really exciting. It didn't work out but for the better because I got to do The Last Session. When they decided it was going to come to America they called me in to audition.
EF - You went to Montclair State and studied acting and directing. Do you think school helped you? Some say an actor either has the talent or not and really doesn't need to study.
SB - Let's face it you can either do it or you can't. That is half of it though. The other half is you have to be in the right place at the right time. It also depends on what you look like. We all know that there are some beautiful actors out there that can't act their way out of a paper bag. That's a fact. We also know there are brilliant actors that don't really achieve what they are capable of. I have worked with some talented people who have never gone to a school to study. Going to college was good for me.
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