A two-time Lecomte du Nouy Prize winner, Greg Keller is an actor and playwright who is currently making his Broadway debut alongside Tony and two-time Emmy Award winner Cynthia Nixon in Manhattan Theatre Club's production of "Wit" by Margaret Edson. As an actor, his theatrical credits include "Cradle and All" (Manhattan Theatre Club), "33 Variations" (with Jane Fonda at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A.), "The Seagull" (with Dianne Wiest and Alan Cumming at Classic Stage Company), "Belleville" (Yale Rep), "Smudge" (Women's Project), "That Pretty Pretty" (Rattlestick), and eight plays at the Berkshire Theatre Festival.
As a playwright, Greg's plays have been produced at the Cherry Lane Theatre, LAByrinth, and Berkshire Theatre Festival. Greg is also a member of LAByrinth Theater Company and Partial Comfort Productions. He holds an MFA in acting from NYU and was a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at the Julliard School, which was where he was the two-time Lecomte du Nouy Prize winner.
Greg can be seen eight times a week alongside Cynthia Nixon in Manhattan Theatre Club's production of "Wit" at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in NYC (261 West 47th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/playwright? I wish I knew so I could maybe sue them for liability.
2. Who haven't you worked with, that you would like to? Kenneth Lonergan. I love everything he writes. Being a city kid, seeing "This Is Our Youth" was a very influential theatrical moment for me. I wasn't even writing then, but I think it made me want to. It almost made me quit acting because Ruffalo was so good. I thought, "Okay, he's got things taken care of." I'm a big Wallace Shawn fan too.
3. What attracted you to "Wit" and what do you identify most with your character "Dr. Jason Posner"? When asked what attracts me to a role I usually say, "because it was offered to me." I long for the day I have multiple scripts on my desk that I have to choose between. I long for the day I have a desk. I think I got hired because I was on the same page as director Lynne Meadow, as far as not wanting to vilify the character or the medical profession. I think I understand something about Jason's desire to live in his head. Or his fear of living outside it. It can be very scary to make yourself emotionally available to others. As actors we get paid to, but in life, unless someone hands you a check, I find it much safer to daydream alone.
4. What's your favorite part of the preview/rehearsal period in a show and of the creative process in writing a play? When acting, I always really love Tech. You've been rehearsing every day for weeks and you've probably just reached the point where telling a story in a room to no one is getting old, and all of a sudden you're in the theater with the set and the lights and new props to mess with, and none of the focus is on your acting, and you can play and let things sink in in a new way.
When writing, I like it most right around scene 3 or 4. Where you've gotten over the daunting enormity of the blank page but haven't gotten so far that you have to deal with daunting enormity of resolving all of the problems you've set up.
5. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer and playwright? I've learned that most of my strengths and limits as a person, show up as strengths and limits in my acting and writing. I wish that weren't true because it's a truism. I also don't want anyone to think my acting or writing is limited, because I'm definitely not saying that. They're totally not. Neither are my character or my humanity. My personality is unlimited. I've said too much.
6. What do you get from performing in a show that you don't get from writing one? You get to leave your house.
7. What's the best advice you've ever received? I've always liked this Robert Bresson quote. "Don't run after poetry. It seeps unaided through the joins."
8. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Let me think about it.
9. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? These are diametrically opposed because my favorite way to spend the day off is lying on my couch eating take-out while surfing the web and watching Lockup: Indiana, which is a terrible way to stay in shape.
10. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.
11. Superman or Wonder Woman? I think my answer to question 8 is Wonder Woman.