Thursday, March 24, 2016

PHX Stages Q/A: Walt Pedano

Walt Pedano
by Gil Benbrook

From classic comedies and dramas to recent dramatic hits Walt Pedano has appeared in close to 70 productions over the past 40 plus years. Having been an Arizona resident for the last 16 years, Walt has appeared at numerous theatres across the Valley. He's appeared in Sons of The Prophet at Stray Cat Theater, August: Osage County for Mesa Encore Theatre, Miss Reardon Drinks A Little at Theatre Artist Studio, and last year played Decker in Bleacher Bums at Fountain Hills Theater, plus he's also appeared in several productions at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre. 

This weekend he stars as the salesman to end all salesmen - Richard Roma in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize winning play Glengarry Glen Ross - a smooth talking East Coast real estate salesman who is a ruthless shark and who can convince anyone to buy anything - even worthless real estate. Desert Stages production of Mamet's classic drama runs March 25th to May 15th and Walt took a break during final rehearsals for the show to answer the PHX Stages Q/A:

Name: Walt Pedano

Where you were born and or raised:  Rochester, New York

What brought you to Arizona?  Love warm weather and this was my last stop on a 36 year career with the Marriott Corporation.
Walt Pedano
Glengarry Glen Ross - Desert Stages Theatre 2016
photo: Wade Moran
What your parents did/do for a living:  Mother was a teacher and RN and Dad was a small business owner. Both have passed

Siblings: 2 sisters and a brother

Day job/part time job (if not acting full time): Retired

First show you ever saw:  Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand in NYC  I think I was 13

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:  Original Broadway cast of Equus in NYC

First stage kiss: Too long ago to remember

Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting?  Too many to name….too many theatres in too many places….60+ shows over 4 decades and 5 states and 7 cities

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?  Mamet is always a challenge and this director/cast has worked so hard right from the start…

Most challenging role you have played onstage? Lenny Bruce in Lenny and Teach in American Buffalo
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? All my attention is on Roma

What was the first show you performed in and what did you learn from it that you still use today? The Remarkable Mr Pennypacker  Know your lines!

Leading role you've been dying to play:  Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman

Guilty pleasure show you’d love to perform in: Gin Game … whole family plays all kinds of cards

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:  Repeat every line and listen to every cue

Rod Ambrose (center), with Walt Pedano and Todd Isaac
iTheatre Collaborative’s The Exonerated
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:  Again too many to name…..maybe I just want to forget them all….  

Your go to audition monologue:  Shylock in Merchant of Venice

Worst audition experience: All auditions are tough….I have gone up on my lines…probably the worst

If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?   Brando in  A Streetcar Named Desire

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with:  Kevin Kline

Actor/actress in the Phoenix area you'd love to perform with: Too many good ones to name!

Your personal acting idols:  Film Paul Newman  and Stage Anthony Hopkins
Current/recent show other than one of your own you have been recommending
to friends:    Stupid F….king Bird at Stray Cat

Favorite play(s):   Cyrano
Walt Pedano,Jeff Davey and Wade Moran, 
Desert Stages Theatre 2010
Favorite musical(s):   It’s dated, but A Chorus Line 
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:  "With a Little Bit of Luck" from My Fair Lady

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone?  “On Broadway” George Benson

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:  Hound Dog (Elvis)

Last good book you read:  "Memory Man" by David Baldacci

Must-see TV show(s): Sports

Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show: Modern Family

Last good movie you saw: Trumbo

Favorite movie: Too many again….have 5-10 for every actor I like

Music/book/movie that makes you cry: Ordinary People

Favorite restaurant in the Valley: Hiro Sushi

Favorite cities:  Seattle, Bozman, Scottsdale, New York, San Francisco

Sports teams you root for: All AZ teams …Diamondbacks, Suns, Coyotes, Cardinals

Pedano (left) with Bob DePalma in Breaking Legs
Mesa Encore Theatre - 2011
Something about you that might surprise people: I don’t like crowds

Special skills:  Negotiation

Best non-theatre job you've had: trainer for Marriott

Three things you can't live without: Peanut butter, Coconut and my wife
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Learn your lines and let the words and your heart lead you to the character

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix: so many wonderful options

What you think needs to be changed/improved/different about theatre in Phoenix:  Early auditions and casting to give time to memorize …..can you tell I am a little older?

And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:
1. What is your favorite word?  Loyalty

2. What is your least favorite word?  Hate

3. What turns you on? Great Theatre

4. What turns you off? Bad service

5. What sound do you love? Silence

6. What sound do you hate? Crying

7. What is your favorite curse word? Don’t really curse much…..ironic considering this show

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Retirement works for me

9. What profession would you not like to do? At this point almost anything with the word Work in it.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Your family is right over there."

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