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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Deeper Dish with David Burnham

Last June I had the great pleasure of seeing actor David Burnham perform for the first time in The Best Is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman, an Off-Broadway musical tribute to one of Broadway's best composers. He wowed the audience with his wonderful renditions of "Witchcraft" and "I've Got Your Number" - and I instantly became a new fan of his.

David first gained critical acclaim in 1997 when he was chosen to replace Donny Osmond in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since then he has performed the lead male role in the World Premiere musical production of Peggy Sue Got Married at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois (1999), made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning musical, The Light in the Piazza (2005), and played Fiyero in the Broadway production of Wicked (2008) after having created the role in the original Los Angeles workshops. David was also the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Fabrizio in the national tour of The Light in the Piazza. On film, he can be heard as the voice of the Prince in the 1999 animated film adaptation of The King and I and as Willie Brother #1 in the 2004 Disney movie, Home on the Range.

David released his second solo CD, One Day, last August, and this Tuesday, January 10, he will be performing Mostly Broadway, a solo concert at NYC's Laurie Beechman Theatre with Sally Mayes as his special guest and Mark Vogel as his musical director. I am so delighted to have the talented Mr. Burnham here on the Dish to discuss his career and answer a few pop culture questions.

Let's begin with your Mostly Broadway show on January 10th. Can you share a few songs that you're planning to sing?
I will be singing songs from some of the shows I have done, including Wicked and The Light in the Piazza, as well as classic standards and songs from my new CD, including "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Fly Again".

What was your inspiration for your new CD, One Day?
My Mom was a big inspiration. In fact I dedicated the album to her memory. She lost a battle with cancer a few years ago, and so some of these songs have very special meaning to me, especially "Fly Again" which I sing for her.

Did you always want to be an actor/singer?
As a junior in high school, I was trying to get into woodshop and it was full, so I got put into choir and discovered I could sing. I had a great choir director named Dan Friberg, and he really encouraged me to pursue singing. I got cast in the musicals at school. First I played Friedrich in The Sound Of Music, and then I got the lead role of Sid Sorokin in The Pajama Game and I was hooked.

What is the most memorable and/or funniest moment you have had while performing onstage either in concert or in a musical?
The Light in the Piazza is a gorgeous show that was very atmospheric. It had blowing leaves that created a beautiful effect as they danced on the wind across the stage. One night I was doing the show and it came to the part where I run across the stage to see Clara. On this particular night there were more leaves than usual and I caught one just right, slipped and slid across the stage and into Clara, knocking her over. We both laughed so hard we almost couldn't finish the scene.

When I was doing Wicked, it came time for Elphaba and myself to sing "As Long As You're Mine" in the second act. We did the song on our knees with low-lying fog all around us, it was very romantic. On this particular night they got a new fog machine and as we were singing the song, they fog kept getting higher and higher until we were completely covered up. So we both stood - but the fog kept coming and even covered us while we were standing. It was crazy.

Out of all the theater you've done, what stage role have you enjoyed performing the most?
I love all the characters I play for different reasons, but if I had to choose one, it would have to be Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza. I was always able to find something new in Fabrizio. Not only did I get to sing Adam Guettel's stunning music, but Craig Lucas wrote a fantastic sophisticated script that I really got to sink my teeth into.

Is there a musical or play that you would love to do someday?
I would LOVE to sing the score to West Side Story someday.

If you could go back and give your 19-year-old self a wise piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't be so hard on yourself at auditions. As long as you are prepared and do the best you can do, that is all you can ask of yourself. Try not to take things too personally.

In high school I was:
Unsure of myself. I wish I had had more confidence.

My favorite comfort food is:
At this moment I am being comforted by a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped creme. Yum!

When I was growing up, I never missed a television episode of:
My Mom was a big fan of I Love Lucy so when I was a kid, I think I saw every episode - in reruns, of course. Lucille Ball was hilarious!

Today I never miss a television episode of:
I am obsessed with American Horror Story - soooo creepy and fun. I also dig Top Chef.

The very first record album that I purchased with my own money was:
I purchased the original cast recording of Carousel when I was 15 and played it non-stop trying to imitate John Raitt.

If I was stranded on a desert island for a year, I would want to listen to:
Adele's 21 because she is amazing, anything by David Phelps - his voice is brilliant - and maybe Nat King Cole's Christmas album because it takes me back to my childhood and it is so comforting.

Three of my favorite movies are:
Love Actually is so romantic. I loved the new Martin Scorsese film, Hugo - so magical - and Raiders of the Lost Ark is a classic fun adventure movie.

If I could have anyone in the world – living or dead – be a guest at my dinner party, I would invite the following people:
I would first invite my Mom (who passed away) because I want to know what the afterlife is like and how she is doing, maybe Jesus - to ask what his position REALLY is on everything - and Ellen DeGeneres because she would make us all laugh, which is my favorite thing in the world to do.

Thank you, David, for getting Deeper with us here on the Dish. To learn more about David Burnham, check out his website at You can also follow him on Facebook.

For reservations to David's Mostly Broadway concert this Tuesday, January 10, at 10:30 pm at NYC's Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 W. 42nd Street), call 212-695-6909. For booking inquiries for David Burnham in concert, contact

1 comment:

Feather said...

David is not only a Fabulous singer, but a beautiful person inside and out!His CDs are wonderful and when you listen to him you feel as if he is singing to you and to you alone.
An adoring fan, Marsha Tarih