John Behlmann starred as 'Richard Hannay' in the comedy The 39 Steps which played Off-Broadway from 25 Mar 2010 - 16 Jan 2011 at New World Stages. The show had presiously played on Broadway (at various Broadway venues) from 4 Jan 2008 - 10 Jan 2010.
January 25th, 1982.
Place of birth?
I was born in St. Louis, MO.
You now live in?
Southern Harlem, or as some realtors have embarrassingly taken to calling it: 'SoHa'.
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
I went to the excellent MFA program at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts called the National Theater Conservatory, which sadly will be no more after 2012. Due to budget cuts and poor prioritizing, the Denver Center has decided to kill the MFA program after more than 25 years.
As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, TV or film?
It's all a great time, but nothing beats a live audience.
Your first stage performance was?
My first real show was Romeo & Juliet in high school. I played the Prince. I was really tall and louder than everyone else so I was the natural choice to do all the banishing.
Career highlight to date?
Oh this show, definitely. It's so much fun to perform.
What roles would you most like to play?
I'd love to play Marc Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, and someday I hope to do a big splashy musical with singing and dancing and the whole nine yards. Of course with all the running around I do in 39 Steps, when I'm finally done with that, I might just be in the mood for a nice dark drama where I just sit in a chair.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
The mustache. Having a mustache in everyday life is a taxing affair. Plus, mustache maintenance is no joke. All this trimming and shaving takes a lot out of you.
Briefly tell us how you become involved with The 39 Steps?
I worked with Maria (the director) on a production of 'As You Like It' in D.C. in the fall. So once she knew the show was transferring from Broadway to New World Stages, she asked me to audition.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in The 39 Steps
I play Richard Hannay, a 1930's Englishman falsely accused of murder who has to run from the law while also trying to foil the plot of an international ring of spies. Did I mention he has a sweet pencil mustache? Well, he does.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
I was a Political Science & French double major in college, so if I hadn't gotten into any of the MFA Acting programs I applied to, I might've ended up working for an NGO in Africa.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
Shakespeare. And I'd say to him, "Did you really write all that stuff? You got some help, right? Come on buddy, you can tell me. It's cool."
Favorite after-show haunts?
I love Bar Nine. It's close to our theater, plus my understudy Greg Jackson DJs there sometimes.
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
The last book I read was the latest issue of McSweeney's Quarterly. It's a literary journal, full of great short stories by some of my favorites like Roddy Doyle and Wells Tower.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
Well, I just got a Netflix disc that lets me watch instant movies on my TV using my Wii...so it's not really a film, but I just re-watched Eddie Izzard's 'Dress to Kill'. Brilliant.
Favorite TV programs?
The Wire is the greatest TV show ever created. That's right...I said it. Deal with it. I also love Arrested Development and the recent Battlestar Galactica series.
Favorite holiday destinations?
Well, I've never been there...but my answer is Iceland. Volcano be damned, I want to go there now.
Do you have any hobbies?
Trapeze! I've been doing it for years now, and I actually run a trapeze theater company called Matchbook Productions with some folks here in the city. We just finished a trapeze adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard II.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Kate Austin, John Locke, and Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes
What are your future plans?
Well, I'm also a playwright. 2 other playwrights and I have been commissioned by Amios theatre company to write a 30-minute play every 3 months for a year as part of their NY Cycle. The first round just finished, but I've still got 3 more plays to write. Also did I mention traveling to Iceland? Yeah. That.
Questions by Alan Bird