DE - I don't know. I dance around the house all the time - in my underwear (laughing). I think we might need to come back to this one (grinning).
EF - If your best friend were sitting here right now, how would he/she describe you?
DE - Loyal. Gosh, it's so hard. I know what she would say but it is hard to express it. She would call me a good listener. I'm sure she would use the words sweet, big-hearted, and caring. Driven in this career. I know what I want as far as what I'm doing. (pausing)
EF - It is a tough question, isn't it?
DE - Yeah, it is because you see them sitting there saying it but it is hard to put it into words.
EF - This business is tough. What gave you the perseverance? For every one of you, there are many just trying to get in the door. Did you ever have any regrets making the choice to do this?
DE - So far no. I've been very lucky and I'm very aware of that. The whole process has been good for me. I'm a reactionary. I react to things that have been presented to me. The Guys and Dolls thing came from doing Radio City. It has always seemed like something led to something else so I've been fortunate in that I've always been working. Since I've done Guys and Dolls I haven't been out of work except for two weeks after I finished the tour of Damn Yankees . It was two weeks of freaking out before Jay Binder called and asked me to do Once Upon a Mattress for him. That was a tough decision for me because I just played a lead on the road. I didn't know if I wanted to go back into the ensemble right away. It isn't that I mind the ensemble, but it was right after this whirl wind tour of being in the lead. I have no regrets though. Sometimes when things get tough, I wonder why I put myself through all the stress.
EF - What made you take the part in Once Upon a Mattress?
DE - That fear of never working again. I think that is what creeps in and maybe you start regretting the career choice and what you got yourself into.
EF - This business is all too time consuming with rehearsals, shows, and auditions. How do you balance your social life and relationships?
DE - I think you can. Right now, I'm doing double duty so there is no time. I don't even have time for myself. When you are in a nice run doing eight shows a week, you occasionally have a day you can spend with each other and make it work. It depends on what people like. I like a lot of interaction and sharing. I enjoy that. You make it work.
EF - If you didn't want to hire a press agent, how would you advertise yourself? What would you say to sell David Elder?
DE - If it came down to my abilities, it would be 'he is a singer, actor, dancer and comfortable at providing all three.'
EF - This business is obviously conducive to criticism. How do actors shield themselves?
DE - It shouldn't kill you. If you read it, you absorb it totally on a surface level. Everybody is not perfect and people know that. Sometimes comments can be beneficial. On some level it hits home and sometimes it doesn't. You have that control on how you will take it. It should not destroy you on your own personal level. You follow your own integrity. You should constantly be doing the best for yourself. That is what keeps you going.
EF - Now that your run in Titanic is coming to an end, how would you sum up your experience with the show?
DE - A dream. When I started this show, I knew three people out of a cast of 42. I felt like a fish out of water but eager to learn. I call them the cutting edge group. They are writers, creators and are all a wonderful talent and I've learned so much from. They are such dear people.
EF - How would you sum up your experiences in the repertoire of shows you have been involved in?
DE - To go down the line: Titanic was cool for me. It was an all singing, great show with a wonderful cast. It was a new and inventive way to do a musical. It was ground breaking from the struggle of dealing with the critics to the Tony awards to the story itself. Once Upon A Mattress, what do I say about that? (laughing). It was eye open ing experience because I was apprehensive after Damn Yankees to jump into a show as an ensemble member so quickly. It wasn't necessarily the best choice for me or the most rewarding show. Damn Yankees was an incredible experience. The show was one of the most enjoyable shows I've been in. A group of guys as ballplayers just having a great time. As Bomber on Broadway with Jerry Lewis, I got to be very athletic. On the road as Joe Hardy, it was another type of experience of being in a lead and making one of the coolest entrances on a Broadway stage. Coming through that door after the magic trick and walking to center stage and singing at the top of my lungs was incredible. It was a culmination time. I reached the first major goal I set for myself. Before that was Beauty and the Beast. I was happy to be in the show and they gave me the Beast cover. It was great to know they really did hear me sing and realized that I had a voice. Guys and Dolls was my break onto Broadway so that was great. Every show I've done has been one step up unless you count Once Upon a Mattress which was a reality check and a reminder of what you do and don't want.
EF - In some of these shows, you are working with big name people. What was that like?
DE - Well, Titanic is more of an ensemble cast. Well-known people in the community but it is definitely a different experience from working with Jerry Lewis. That becomes a star vehicle as well as Once Upon a Mattress which was a star vehicle for Sarah Jessica Parker. The other show I was involved in, Guys and Dolls helped propel Faith Prince and Nathan Lane into stars. A star vehicle show has its own energy. You feel a bit diminished as a cast member. It does, however, offer you an insight into what their life is like. His lifestyle is definitely unique and the way he has to act in public is interesting. It makes you think if that is what you want.
EF - When you first got involved with Titanic, did you think it had what it took to be a big show, a success? What makes a show a success?
DE - Well, I think Maury's music captures so much of the emotion. The theatricality of the history and helping the audience transcend where they are and imagine themselves there is amazing. Because it is a true story, it touches people. They are so fascinated by the story and how so many innocent lives were taken away.
EF - Do you ever lose sight the impact the show has by doing it night after night?
DE - What ever is happening in your personal life can influence how you act but for me I don't get bored that easily and sing the show fresh every night. I really dig being out there.
EF - You know if you ever surf through the Internet, you will notice that Titanic has a cult following of its own. I'm not talking about the movie but the musical. There are people who repeatedly come back to see the show over and over again.
DE - Why do you think they keep coming back?
EF - Well, I've never asked them but my guess is a genuine enjoyment of the cast. They certainly each have their favorite actors and enjoy seeing them. Also, it is the story and the lives of these real life people.
DE - I do think this show is done in a real way that people feel a part of it. You immerse yourself in it. I do recognize a lot of faces because they come back a lot especially due to those rush tickets. It is great to see that.