Q & A with Keith Nobbs who stars as Michael McCormick in Eric Simonson's Lombardi, directed by Thomas Kail, which played at Broadway's Circle in the Square from 23 Sep 2010 - 22 May 2011.
April 9, 1979.
Place of birth?
Hinsdale, IL outside Chicago
You now live in?
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in NY. Did a year at Columbia and a year at NYU Gallatin studying fiction and anthroplogy.
As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, tv or film?
I've learned to love TV and film and had wonderful experiences in them but my home has always been theater.
Your first stage performance was?
Stupid Kids at the WPA and then later the Century Theater. I had just turned 19 when I was cast. I did theater back in TX- first play was Schroeder in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown when I was 6.
Career highlight to date?
Um.. I feel lucky that I have had lots of great experiences with so many great people. In terms of the best role, I really enjoyed doing The Hasty Heart at the Keen Company directed by my friend Jonathan Silverstein. The character was an emotionally cut-off Scottish soldier in WWII who was dying but didn't know- it was one of these experiences where you end up doing something you didn't think you could do. And Lombardi so far has been a freakishly wonderful experience- there is not a person involved in this who brings in bad energy. I hope our respect and care for each other shows up on stage.
What roles would you most like to play?
Dream roles: I would love to play Edmund in A Long Day's Journey into Night and Tom in The Glass Menagerie.
Whats the best advice you have ever received?
Give up on trying to be perfect.
Also: If you live your life trying not to die, you will be sorely disappointed one day.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Nights when you feel you didn't do what you wanted to do. Failure (and success) in this business happens in a public forum. But what I love about the theater is that you always get to come back that next night. It is a rigorous, therapeutic endeavor.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
Waiting for the right jobs and maintaining self-belief in the interim.
Briefly tell us how you become involved with Lombardi?
Auditioned for Tommy Kail and came back to read with Dan Lauria. As soon as Dan opened his mouth, I knew he was the perfect choice for this character. I feel very lucky to be cast in this because it is rare these days for someone who is not a star to have the chance to play a lead on broadway.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in Lombardi?
I play Michael McCormick- a journalist who moves in with Lombardi to write an article on him and develops a close relationship with Vince and Marie.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Would have loved to teach English.
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
There are so many people- people I admire from a distance and friends of mine who consistently blow me away.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
My dad's mother who died before I was born. She was a single mom in the 50s when it wasn't as accepted as it is today. I would ask her what my dad was like as a little kid.
Favorite after-show haunts?
A bunch. Sometimes I'm in the mood to see people from the theater and talk about "theater-y" things and sometimes that sounds like taking a nail and putting it in my eye. On those nights, I just disappear with friends in a dive bar.
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
Last book- David Maraniss's book When Pride Still Mattered on which the play is based (how's that for a plug?). Favorite authors: Baldwin, Salinger, John Irving, John Knowles, Richard Yates.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
Embarassingly (or, you know, not), Chris Sullivan who plays Jim Taylor and I just saw Piranha 3-D. Oh yeah. But the best movie I've seen this year was The Kids Are All Right. The writing and the performances of Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening had no ego. All the elements were about being part of a greater whole. Some movies I love: Ordinary People, The Apartment, Ratatatouille, The Ref.
Favorite TV programs?
Moment of honesty: So You Think You Can Dance. My parents told me never to lie.
Do you have any hobbies?
I don't know if it's a hobby, but kareoke at 2nd on 2nd makes me feel happy to be alive.
Do you have any superstitions?
I knock on wood like a madman.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
A dog, something to write with/on and Judith Light.
What are your future plans?
Just gonna keep on keeping on. I'd like to still be doing this when I'm 80. I'm a lifer.