Tony Award nominee and Theatre World Award Winner Howard McGillin holds the record as the longest running "Phantom" in "The Phantom of The Opera," playing the role for 2,544 performances! With one of the biggest male voices out there, Howard delighted thousands of audiences during his run in "Phantom." His other Broadway credits include "Kiss of The Spider Woman," "She Loves Me," "The Secret Garden," "Sunday in the Park with George," "Anything Goes" (Tony & Drama Desk nomination), and "Drood" (Tony and Drama Desk Nomination, as well as Theatre World Award). Off-Broadway audiences saw Howard shine in "As Thousands Cheer," "La Boheme" (Drama Desk nomination), and Encores' "Where's Charlie?" Howard toured the US in "Peter Pan" and regionally been seen in Stephen Sondheim's "Bounce" at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for which he received a Helen Hayes nomination. In addition to the US, Howard took London by storm when he starred in "Mack and Mabel" and "Anything Goes." His film credits include "Swan Princess" and "The South Park Movie." Howard has also released a collection of love songs with his debut CD "Where Time Stands Still."
Howard can currently be seen in Rubicon Theatre Company's production of "The Best Is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman" at 59E59 Theaters in NYC (59 East 59th Street) along with Billy Stritch, Lillias White, Sally Mayes, David Burnham, and Rachel York. For tickets click here and for much more on Howard be sure to visit http://www.howardmcgillin.com
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I guess Richard Kiley was a huge early idol of mine. He was an actor who also happened to sing (beautifully, I might add). When I first got the theatre bug back in high school, I played cast albums over and over, and MAN OF LA MANCHA was one of them. I became a huge fan of Kiley's then. Years later, when I was doing the Lincoln Center revival of ANYTHING GOES, he came backstage and told me he wanted his son (who was an actor) to see me in the show. I was hugely flattered.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Jimmy Stewart. Too late, I'm afraid.
3. What attracted you to "The Best Is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman"? A job in town so I don't have to go out on the road. No, seriously, I love the music, and to work with David Zippel and Billy Stritch was a huge plus.
4. What was it like for you to perform "The Phantom" for so many years and what was your favorite part of the show? I really loved the experience (I guess I'd have to in order to keep at it that long). I've done several long runs on Broadway, and it takes a certain kind of stamina to sustain energy and interest over the course of time. Of course, nothing ever came close to the Phantom run--nothing's ever run that long! While some days you think you're not going to be able to get the energy up for a performance, once the curtain is up, something carries you through. Knowing the audience is seeing it for the first time is a big help. In terms of my favorite part of the show to perform, I'd have to say the final scene in the Phantom's lair is enormously satisfying to play. The show really builds beautifully to that scene, and it's a huge catharsis.
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? I love rehearsals. The chance to explore and build a performance with a creative team of directors, choreographers and actors is like nothing else. Especially in cases where the director sets the tone of exploration and freedom to make really bad choices. That's the only way you can really find something unique and satisfying all around.
6. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on my own? My living room, with the iPod on the stereo. I clear the coffee table out of the way and "dance around the living room!"
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I love ride my bike, and thanks for the reminder. I've got to get back on it now that the weather's finally nice enough.
8. Boxers or Briefs? Too personal.
9. Favorite website? Facebook, although I'm really terrible about keeping up with it.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? I have no idea what you're talking about.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received?
1. If you can do anything else with your life, do that, because a life in show biz is just too damned hard. Guess I didn't listen.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Wonder Woman.