Q & A with Mark Blum, who starred as 'Lawrence' in Manhattan Theatre Club's Off- Broadway production of Zoe Kazan's We Live Here, directed by Sam Gold, which played at NY City Center Stage I from 22 Sep 2011 - 6 Nov 2011.
May 14, 1950
Place of birth?
You now live in?
NYC; Roosevelt Island, to be exact.
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
I have an MFA in Acting from University of Minnesota, and a BA from University of Pennsylvania.
Your first stage performance was?
As Harold Hill in the Camp Weequahic production of Music Man. Professionally, the National Shakespeare Co., and in NYC, the Soho Rep's production of Anna Christie (I was Anna's father, and by all reports, unintentionally hysterical.)
Career highlight to date?
Well, not Anna Christie. Twelve Angry Men? Gus and Al at Playwrights Horizons? Desperately Seeking Susan?
What roles would you most like to play?
Willy Loman. Chebutykin in Three Sisters.
What's the best advice you have ever received?
Get out of your own way.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Realizing the entire audience at an early Soho Rep performance had been recruited by my father, to avoid my parents being the only people there.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
Auditioning. And wearing uncomfortable shoes.
Briefly tell us how you become involved with We Live Here
I received a call, while on vacation, asking if I'd like to do it. I said yes.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in We Live Here?
A professor of Classics, specializing in Aristotle's theory of Hamartia (the fatal flaw in the tragic hero), a father, a husband, and the only man in a home full of energetic women.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
A lawyer, like everyone else I knew. Or opened a bookstore (that would've bankrupted me even faster than acting.)
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Growing up: Zero Mostel, Richard Burton, Robert Preston, Danny Kaye. Later, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Arkin.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
Phillip Roth: "Can I buy you a drink? And just talk?"
Favorite after-show haunts?
Joe Allen. The roof of my building.
What was the last Broadway show you saw?
Follies. I cried a couple of times.
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors
The last book: The Art of Fielding. Favorite Authors: Phillip Roth, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathen Lethem, Dostoeyevski, Chekhov, Kafka.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies? I Don't Know How She Does It (I'm in it). Recent favorite: Higher Ground. Other favorites: Midnight Cowboy, The Producers, Becket, The Court Jester, Chinatown, The Wizard of Oz, Withnail and I, Five Easy Pieces.
Favorite TV programs?
Top Chef, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Yankee game broadcasts.
Favorite holiday destinations?
Sonoma, and the next new place I've never been to.
Do you have any hobbies?
Cooking, baseball, wine, reading. Writing, but that's not a hobby.
Do you have any superstitions?
Never joke about a disease you might actually get.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Sunscreen, my wife, a Costco ribeye steak.
What are your future plans?
Continue to teach at Brooklyn College and at HB Studios, continue to do the most interesting projects anyone wants me to do.