Friday, September 30, 2016

PHX Stages Q/A: Gary Zaro

the cast of Noises Off at Paradise Valley Community College
photo courtesy PVCC

The classic comical farce Noises Off opens tonight at Paradise Valley Community College and director Gary Zaro found a moment during final rehearsals to sit down and answer the PHX Stages Q/A:

Name:  Gary Zaro

Where you were born and or raised:  San Jose, CA
Day job:  Professor of Humanities and Theatre at Paradise Valley Community College.

First show you ever saw:  Hamlet

Moment you knew you wanted to perform/direct for a living:  After seeing a production of Cyrano de Bergerac at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:  Revival of Camelot starring Richard Burton as King Arthur.

First stage kiss:  In a production of Lysistrata in college.

Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting?  Playing Silvio in The Servant of Two Masters.

Trish Sewell, Grant Zaro, Mark Kleinman, Rachel Brown, Chris McClymonds,
Ryan Kleinman, and Kelly Hutchison
in The Secret Garden - PVCC 2008
photo: Brian Hermann

Best stage experience you’ve had so far directing?:  The Secret Garden at PVCC.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?    The cast is very hard working and they are a lot of fun to work with.

Most challenging role you have played onstage?  The Dancing Waiter in Company.  I’m not a dancer!

Most challenging show you’ve directed?:  Noises Off

What made you go into directing after originally being an actor?  It seemed like a logical progression from acting and it was required in grad school.  Once I started teaching theatre it was the natural step to take.

What was the first show you directed and what did you learn from it that you still use today?  I was assistant director for a production of Loose Ends and I learned that a director, while the final decision maker, has to listen, watch, and be flexible to ideas and change.  I also learned you have to be a pretty good psychologist.

Leading role you've been dying to play:  Cyrano de Bergerac

Show you are dying to direct:  The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar, adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig

Guilty pleasure show you’d love to direct:  The 39 Steps

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:  I always stretch and do a lot of vocal warm-ups including tongue twisters.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:  The seat of my pants ripped out during a show, and I had to do sword fight as well as the rest of the act like that listening to the audience in the front row commenting on my ripped pants and the color of my underwear.
Worst costume ever:  
 It was in a college production of Lysistrata.  There was barely anything to my costume and we performed in an outdoor amphitheater in northern California so it was quite chilly!  That also introduced me to the fact that there is no modesty in theatre.

Best costume ever:      
 I played Harcourt in The Country Wife – gotta love Restoration comedies and their opulent costumes!

Your go to audition monologue/song: These days my only acting is in commercials and those auditions are all improvs.

Worst audition experience:  I forgot the lyrics to the song I was auditioning with and the other auditioners shouted them to me from the house.

Lisa Sanchez, Desiree Baumer, Laura Hardwick, Kent Welborn, Toby Gerst, Valerie Kline,
Gretchen Gesell, Jessica Graeber, and Jessica Weber
in A Midsummer Night's Dream - PVCC 2007
photo: Brian Hermann
If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?    Elvis Presley and Sir Laurence Olivier (not together, of course!).  

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with or directed:
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly

Your personal acting idols: Richard Burton and Cary Grant
Favorite play(s):  Leading Ladies, Lend Me a Tenor, Rumors, Twelfth Night, and You Can’t Take It With You
Favorite musical(s):  Les Miserables, Camelot, Chicago, and The Secret Garden

Favorite showtune(s) of all time:  Anything from Les Mis or Chicago

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:  An LP of The Monkees

Last good book you read:  Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre  and  SEAL Target Geronimo by Chuck Pfarrer

Must-see TV show(s): Just about any college football game.

Last good movie you saw:  13 Hours

Favorite movie:  Departures

Music/book/movie that makes you cry:  Music: Bring Him Home from Les Mis;  Book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand;  Movie:  Fort Bliss

Favorite restaurant in the Valley:  Flo’s
Ric Alpers, Brienna Horacek, Kolten Ledesma, Michael Workman, Siobhan Eagen, Jacob Nalley,
Danielle Plaso, Bennie Martin (the 3-legged dog in a tutu), and Bruce Klefstad
in You Can't Take It With You - PVCC 2013
photo: Tiffany Marie

Favorite cities:  Seattle, Juneau, London, Rome, Venice, North Lake Tahoe, and Durango

Sports teams you root for:  Oakland Raiders, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona Cardinals

Something about you that might surprise people:  I play ice hockey

Special skills:  Fencing

Career you would want if not a performer/director:  Pilot    

Worst non-theatre job you've had:  Outside sales

Best non-theatre job you've had:  Teaching

Three things you can't live without:  Coffee, chocolate, and movies
Words of advice for aspiring performers:  It’s not about you, it’s about the audience.

CLICK HERE for more information and to buy tickets for Noises Off at PVCC, which runs through October 9th

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