Bob Stillman is a two-time Tony Award Nominee whose talents range from acting to composing to singing. Bob's first nomination came for the Broadway show "Dirty Blonde" where he was nominated for his acting, composing, and onstage piano playing while his second nomination came as one of the songwriters for Broadway's "Urban Cowboy." His other Broadway credits include "Grey Gardens" with two-time Tony Award Winner & fellow "Call Me Adam" participant Christine Ebersole and "Kiss of the Spiderwomen" starring Vanessa Williams. Off-Broadway, Bob has delighted audiences in "The Last Session," "Saturn Returns" at the Public Theatre, and "Hello Again" at Lincoln Center (in which he is currently starring, this time with the Transport Group).
In addition to theater, Bob lit up kids' faces (and their parents') in Nickelodeon's "Allegra's Window" as "Reed." He also released his debut CD "Come Down Angel," which was selected as one of radioio.com Acoustic channel host Zoe Montana's "Essientals." Bob has performed his music at such NYC venues as Joe's Pub, The Cutting Room, Ars Nova, The Zipper Factory, and Elaine's.
Bob can currently be seen in the Transport Group's production of "Hello Again" along with Max Von Essen, Elizabeth Stanley, Alexandra Silber, Alan Campbell, Blake Daniel, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Johnathan Hammond, Rachel Bay Jones, and Robert Lenzi at 52 Mercer Street, 4th Floor in NYC through April 3. For much more on Bob be sure to visit http://www.bobstillman.com.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I guess it was just the experience, as a kid, of feeling people shut up and listen when I sang. You can really feel it, and when you're that age, your antennae are out for signs of where your power lies.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Ooh, one person, huh? Can I cheat here and list a few? There's nobody better than Brian D'Arcy James, so.....but I'd also love to work with Patrick Stewart (the most generous actor I've ever seen) and Jan Maxwell (such warmth and such a sense of humor) and Edie Falco (such ferocious honesty).
3. What attracted you to "Hello Again"? Duh, the sex! No, seriously: I covered three of the roles in the original production, so I'm very familiar with the score. I don't know of anyone, other than Sondheim, who can musicalize a scene the way Michael John can. You know, set up a musical structure that both functions as a song and tracks the emotional reality of what's happening between the characters from second to second. It's just dazzling. For people who have this peculiar, particular ability to act while singing, it's an absolute feast.
4. What do you get from performing/writing your own music that you don't get from performing in a theatrical show? Hmm, there's a good question. I guess it's the simple statement, "I made this." You don't get that when you're performing somebody else's work. Of course, that cuts both ways: when you're doing your own stuff, there's really no place to hide, whereas in someone else's material you're kind of off the hook, y'know? Some piece of you can always say, "Hey, if you don't like this, don't look at me---I didn't write it!!"
5. What's the best advice you've ever received? "When you must, you better."
6. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? I've recently discovered the joys of practicing the piano on my 88-key weighted-action Casio keyboard, with headphones...It's amazing how much more you get done when you don't have to worry about bothering the neighbors! I played Beethoven in a production of "33 Variations" this summer, and I had to learn the Fugue from the Diabelli Variations. There was no WAY I would have mastered it if I hadn't been able to practice with the headphones on until 2 or 3 in the morning.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Denial.
8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer-briefs. I'm very indecisive.
9. Favorite website? Well, I have to say I'm a big fan of engrish.com. It's a site that collects photos of hilariously-translated signs from foreign countries. I mean, an entree translated as "Grilled Chicken Ass"....a wall sign translated as "Dying Right Here Is Strictly Prohibited"....what's better than that? But then, recently I've discovered damnyouautocorrect.com, which posts screenshots of text conversations in which the phone's spell-checker has twisted what the person meant to say in the most hilarious ways. You should check it out, it's HOURS of fun.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? WonderMan. He's a superhero who's in touch with his inner superheroine.
11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I do a lot of digital photography, imaging and graphic design. The image on my CD cover, for example, is a black-and-white photo I shot using film, then colorized in Photoshop and incorporated into the cover design. I also love to restore old damaged photos, and I've gotten quite good at it.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? You know who shows up a lot in my dreams? Joni Mitchell! She's always totally intimidating. Paging Dr. Freud...