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Tuesday
Jun042013

Bryan Batt: 54 Below & Mad Men Interview

Two-time SAG award winning actor and Broadway favorite, Bryan Batt, who's well known to television audiences for his portrayal of "Salvatore Romano" on AMC's Mad Men is making his triumphant return to 54 Below on June 15th at 8:30pm and June 16th at 7pm with his new cabaret show Batt on a Hot Tin Roof, featuring an electic mix of music. Click here for tickets!

For more on Bryan be sure to visit http://www.bryanbatt.com!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was always the clown of the family, so entertaining came naturally, I also was shy, and many shy people turn to acting as a way to be heard…Helen Hayes, who saw me in a show in New Orleans and convinced my parents to let me move to NYC…opening night of my first Broadway show a year and a half later she sent a telegram reading "Welcome to Broadway, may you have a triumphant stay"…Kevin Kline ( just worked with him in "The Last Of Robin Hood)…and wait for it…Jerry Lewis.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That is a very long list…a LONG LIST…well, and as long as they are professional and nice, and love what they do…no crazies, egomaniacs, complainers, or rude people…life is too long for that crap.

3. What excites you about returning to 54 Below? It’s the swankiest cabaret room in NYC, it’s a real throw back to the more elegant days of smaller intimate chantusing….is that a word? It’s a difficult medium, you must connect with the entire room, you cannot hide in a character, it's you on that stage, no fourth wall, hell, no walls at all…my first time was terrifying, but after the third song I relaxed and discovered that I love it.

4. What does 54 Below offer as a venue that another place might not? A bad "Bottom" joke that does not apply…in addition to the above mentioned, the management is great, the food and the adult beverages are fantastic…the whole package.

5. How did you come up with the title and song selection for your upcoming show "Batt on A Hot Tin Roof"? Have you heard of 52 pick up?...it’s a real eclectic mix, a mixed bag o' nuts.

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your show? "I laughed, I cried, it was better than CATS."

Bryan Batt and John Hamm on AMC's "Mad Men", Photo Credit: AMC7. What was the best part about being on AMC's Mad Men? The scripts, the cinematography, editing, costumes, sets, design….and our fabulous cast…I loved every minute! Also at the SAG awards, I literally bumped into Meryl Streep and she said "I love you on Mad Men, my husband and I watch every Sunday"…bucket list full.

8. What do you get from your television work that you do not get from your theatrical/concert work? More recognition…and the chance to be subtle.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Phyllis Newman: "Take the part, ask questions later."

Tom Cianfichi (my partner): "Never talk about the show/movie until you are at least 6 blocks away from the theatre…you never know who is listening."

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? We all have so many powers that we never tap into, realize we have, or give away rather than share…I fly in my dreams and that could be cool, but healing would be the best for me…especially today.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Photo Credit: Michael Helms11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Last month I had a day off and didn’t do a damn thing, after I got over the guilt, I felt fantastic….dinner or brunch with friends, the beach, shop, travel, and travel within your own city…so much to discover. Almost anything but clean the house.

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Really? I hated Gym class in school, nothing has changed…my knees are shot from dancing on Broadway…so all I can do is the elliptical at the gym and a few other machines…love walking around the park…recently took a couple of yoga classes…it was an episode of I LOVE LUCY.

13. Boxers or Briefs? Both depending on the pants…also boxer briefs ( from UNIQLO…the ones that breath are like $1)…I do sleep in broken in boxers…right now, it the ones with the "tool" pattern.

14. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I am a giver, I love to give, I love to share…and fear is crippling and useless.

Bryan Batt in New Orleans Magazine15. In 2003, you and Tom Cianfichi opened Hazelnut in New Orleans, a home store with fine gifts and elegant home accessories. What made you want to start this venture? What do you like about working the design industry? And we just opened a second location www.hazelnutneworleans.com  (shameless plug, but hey we have more expendable and most of us have good taste!) I’ve always loved design…both fashion but mainly interior…I actually wrote a Décor Book called BIG EASY STYLE, (my first was a "momoir" called SHE AIN’T HEAVY, SHE’S MY MOTHER about growing up in the deep south with a steel magnolia/ Auntie Mame of a mom). The best thing for my acting was opening the shop…I realized there was more out there than show business...a great freeing feeling.

More on Bryan: 

Photo Credit: Michael HelmsBryan is also a designer. He and Tom Cianfichi, his partner of 22 years, are the nationally recognized creative forces behind HAZELNUT, a fine gift and home accessories shop in his home town of New Orleans. HAZELNUT has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES, HOUSE BEAUTIFUL, IN STYLE, FOOD AND WINE, TOWN AND COUNTRY and many more publications.

His debut book, a memoir, or as he calls it, a momoir, "SHE AIN’T HEAVY, SHE’S MY MOTHER," celebrates his Steel Magnolia/Auntie Mame of a mom and depicts growing up in wildly colorful  New Orleans in the 1970’s. The book has received wonderful notices…"I Loved, Loved, Loved This Book" – Whoopi Goldberg …and was on Janet Maslin’s NY Times top 10 summer read list.

Bryan Batt in Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast", Photo Credit: Joan MarcusAs a Broadway veteran, Bryan's leading and principal roles include: 2005 revival of LA CAGE AUX FOLLESBEAUTY AND THE BEASTSEUSSICAL THE MUSICALSUNSET BLVDSATURDAY NIGHT FEVERTHE SCARLET PIMPERNELJOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOATSTARLIGHT EXPRESS, and CATS. Off Broadway: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY (Drama Desk Nomination). Theatrically, Bryan is most proud of originating the role of DARIUS in both the N.Y. and L.A (Drama Logue Award) productions as well as the film adaptation of Paul Rudnick’s ground breaking comedy JEFFREY.

Bryan Batt, Patrick Stewart, Steven Weber, Michael T. Weiss, filming "Jeffrey" in NYC's Central Park, Photo Credit: Michael GinsbergA civic activist, Bryan champions many causes including Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, Habitat For Humanity, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Human Rights Campaign (Equality and Visibility Awards), the SPCA, The Preservation Resource Center, The Point Foundation, N.O. AIDS Task Force, and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré.

Bryan's latest book, BIG EASY STYLE is out now.

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    "Call Me Adam" sat down with two-time SAG Award winner and Broadway favorite Bryan Batt to chat about his upcoming cabaret show "Batt on a Hot Tin Roof" at 54 Below on June 15 & 16th. We also discussed starring on AMC's "Mad Men," opening an interior design store, Hazelnut, in New Orleans, and many other details of his life and career!
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