Vote for your favorite Dish of the Day

Make Your Own Groovy Music Playlist for 1989

Battle of the Broadway Stars #49: 1972-73 Season

101 Groovy TV Movies: Hart Bochner in Having It All

10 Groovy Things to Do in April
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Deeper Dish with Kevin Chamberlin

The first time I saw actor Kevin Chamberlin was in the short-lived 1995 television drama, New York News, about a struggling newspaper, in which he played Victor the office clerk. The show also starred Mary Tyler Moore and Madeline Kahn so, of course, I had to tune in - but, unfortunately, it only lasted two months. I also liked Chamberlin in the 1999 gay comedy, Trick, in which he appeared as the ex-boyfriend of Christian Campbell's pal, Perry. I interviewed "Perry" (actor Steve Hayes) last year, and he had some kind words for his co-star: "My favorite scene was the romantic scene with Kevin Chamberlin, where we get back together. He was so incredible to play off and it came off exactly as I had pictured it might in my mind." It is a very sweet and funny scene (which you can watch below). However, I became a true fan of Chamberlin in 2000 when I saw his Tony-nominated performance as Horton the Elephant in the Broadway production of Seussical the Musical. He was perfect in the role, and I imagine he was just as wonderful in his other Broadway shows, which include The Ritz, Chicago, Triumph of Love, and Dirty Blonde (for which he was also nominated for a Tony). And now the talented actor is returning to Broadway this spring in another new musical, The Addams Family, in which he plays the amusing Uncle Fester. I enjoyed the show when I saw it during its Chicago tryout in November, and in my review, I described Chamberlin as "a total delight who definitely deserves a Tony nomination come next June" (and hopefully he'll win). The man is amazing in whatever medium he's acting in, and I am so happy to have him here on the Dish to discuss his career and answer a few pop culture questions.

Let's begin with The Addams Family. How did you get the role of Uncle Fester?
I was in NYC playing Amos in Chicago on Broadway, and the casting director called asking if I'd be interested in doing an informal reading of the script. I have been with the project ever since.

How would you describe Uncle Fester?
Fester is a romantic, he's a frustrated inventor, enjoys the darker side of life and is an eternal optimist.

What is your favorite scene in the musical?
My love song to the moon.

What did you enjoy the most about the show's pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago?
The Chicago restaurants. And the Chicago audiences.

Out of all the theater you've done, what is the funniest moment you have had while performing onstage?
When I was doing Dirty Blonde, there was a person in the audience who had a very distinct, bizarre laugh. Every time he laughed, Claudia [Shear] and I would start to lose it. We were really bad together when it came to breaking up onstage. I tend to hold it in, and then it explodes out of me. It sort of sounds like a "PUH!"

What is your favorite thing about living in New York City?
This is the city I grew up in. It's where I learned the craft of acting. I love the immediacy, the speed, the energy. It's also what's so exhausting about the city. Working on Broadway is the best job you could ever have. Eight shows a week separates the men from the boys.

You’ve appeared in some interesting film, television and theatrical projects over the years. What is the first thing that pops into your mind about:

My Favorite Year (the 1992 musical)?
My first show. My parents got to see me in my first Broadway show before they passed away.

New York News?
Working with Mary Tyler Moore and Madeline Kahn. A dream. Too quick. We were canceled after eight shows.

Who knew it would be such a milestone in gay cinema? People still recognize me from that film.

Triumph of Love?
Best final performance ever. Roger Bart and I got a standing ovation at the end of our number, "Henchmen Are Forgotten".

Dirty Blonde (written by Claudia Shear and directed by James Lapine)?
The most perfect theatrical experience I've ever far. It was written for me. I will always be grateful to Claudia and James.

Seussical the Musical?
It was so much fun doing the show. All the drama surrounding it - not so much fun.

In high school I was:
A drama and chorus nerd.

My favorite comfort food is:

The last good book I read was:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

If I was stranded on a desert island for a year, I would want to listen to:
Jennifer Warnes, Joni Mitchell, Dave Brubeck, Frank Sinatra, The Hi-Lo's.

When I was growing up, I never missed a television episode of:
The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Star Trek, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Banana Splits, The Sonny and Cher Show, All in the Family.

Today I never miss a television episode of:
Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance, Nurse Jackie.

Three of my favorite movies are:
Local Hero, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, My Father's Glory/My Mother's Castle.

If I could have anyone in the world - living or dead - be a guest at my dinner party, I would invite the following three people:
Chef Mario Batali, Ben Franklin and Julia Child (Julia and Mario would cook for Ben and I).

What's next for Kevin Chamberlin?
Dinner with Ben Franklin and eight shows a week for the next year!

Thank you, Kevin, for getting Deeper with us here on the Dish. To learn more about Kevin Chamberlin, check out his website at And to purchase tickets to The Addams Family, which begins previews on March 8, go to

No comments: