Tuesday, October 11, 2016

PHX Stages Q/A: Tim Pittman

Timothy Pittman
by Gil Benbrook

Tim Pittman has appeared in an incredibly wide range of roles across numerous theatres in the Valley over the past ten years. 

He has excelled in leading roles - including a superb peformance as the larger than life Vince Lombardi in Lombardi, as the loveable, but physically imposing Lennie in Of Mice and Men, as well as in smaller character parts. 

In Heaven Can Wait he played a gruff boxing manager and an incredibly sleazy fiancĂ© in August: Osage County. yet he was also completely charming as Humphrey Bogart in Play it Again Sam.  

This past weekend he opened in Neil Simon's Pulitzer Prize winning Lost in Yonkers at Desert Stages Theatre as the loud and abrasive Uncle Louie .  

In between final rehearsals for this show Pittman sat down to answer the PHX Stages Q/A:

Name: Timothy Pittman

Where you were born and or raised: 
I was born on Dreux Air Force Base, France. Pop was career Air Force. In those days we lived in CA, CO, WA, MI, TX, HI, and SD. I went to 11 schools in order to graduate HS.

What made you decide to stay in or return to Arizona?
 My sister- Cinda Smith has lived here since 1979, and I visited her on and off. My parents moved here in 1996. But I only came to the valley in 2006 because I got a job off the Internet – completely unrelated to family. But it did not hurt my feelings to be close to family – I love them!
What your parents did/do for a living:   
My Father, now deceased, served 24 years in the Air Force and afterwards as an Accountant/businessman. My Mother a career Mom, but volunteered in Arts museums, church activities and Hospice.

Cinda Smith, my older sister, is also an Arts maven. She worked with many organizations – JDRF, Juvenile Diabetes; ZIA records here in the valley. She also mothered two wonderful children with the Meat Puppets front man Kurt Kirkwood.  My little Brother, Andrew Pittman, has lived and worked in Cincinnati since College in the banking industry.

Christian Bader, George Piccininni and Timothy Pittman
in Lost in Yonkers - Desert Stages Theatre
photo; Mark Clemente
I have no natural children, but I gained an incredible daughter- Constance Albanese, when I was married. Although I am now divorced, I keep in contact with Cons who lives in Argentina. And I have visited her in Argentina 7 times since moving to AZ in 2006.

Day job/part time job:
I am an IT Project Manager for the Corporate headquarters of Safeway /Albertsons stores. My worked includes things like coordinating the creation of the secure data feeds to report Corporate Compliance with The Affordable Care Act – AKA Obamacare - for a quarter million employees.

First show you ever saw:  
 I was 14 and our High School took the Drama Club to Minneapolis MN to the Guthrie Theatre to see The Crucible. I was enthralled, but it would be 11 years before I got actually involved in theater myself.

as Vince Lombard in Lombardi - Desert Stages 2015
photo: Heather Butcher
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
 Ah, well I never had the confidence that I could perform for a living. And with my BA, and MBA in Business, I have always had a decent paying job, so I have maintained my Amateur status for 30 years now.

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:  
There are sooo many fantastic performances I have seen!! But in 2010 my Mother and I went to London, and I got to see several shows in the West End. On back to back nights, I saw Warhorse and Priscilla – Queen of the Desert. Both fresh to the stage.  Warhorse completely blew me away. I found myself at intermission barely able to catch my breath, and at the end bawling like a baby. I woke my mom up at 6:30 the next morning because I could not wait to tell her about it.
 That night I went to see Priscilla – a good tonic after a heavy show – and just about bounced out of my seat the whole time as the Gay Parade unfolded before me. The Entire audience was up many times dancing away. It was Incredible!!  BTW – My Mom did take in one show with me – at the rebuilt Globe theater and museum. We saw A Comedy of Errors and we loved it.
 In the 1990s I got backstage passes and 10th row tickets for Cats' record breaking performance – and even got to go to the after party at the Manhattan Hilton.

in A Streetcar Named Desire
First stage kiss: 
30 years ago October I played Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. I had a lot of firsts in that show.

Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting?  
Tough one. Here in AZ one of my first shows was La Cage Aux Folles at North Valley Playhouse. I met Joe Navan, Matthew Harris, many others and Shari Watts – not bad. Obviously some shows are better experiences than others, but the one thing that snares me is the people. I cannot imagine my life without the experience of interacting and befriending show people, and when the creative process is collaborative, open and fun with wonderful people, that is a truly fantastic experience.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?  
In this case, it is the challenges the director presents to me! Fortunately, Mark Clemente has faith in me to step in and deliver a credible performance no matter the challenges. I’ll admit it is not enough for me to give appropriate emotional responses and entertaining Highs and Lows. I love to transform into someone who is not me at all.

Most challenging role you have played onstage? 
I have played some really atrociously awful characters. Thieves, cheaters, abusers, and even pedophiles. Unlike some who describe the character getting inside them. I describe it as I wear the character like a coat.  I cannot allow the thoughts of those types of characters to infect my soul. But I can present them to the audience with a realism that can be revolting. And after the show, I take off that “Coat” and hang it up until the next performance. You can’t take that stuff home.

Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about?
I’ve got my eye on a couple of audition notices, but you never know if you will fit the Director’s vision.

What was the first show you performed in and what did you learn from it that you still use today?
  This is not going to sound real – but my first stage speaking role was Stanley in Streetcar. Of course I learned a lot of things that I use still. Stage Left and right -LOL, voice inflection, body position, every single gesture, facial tick, and LEARN YOUR LINES!

Leading role you've been dying to play:  
Have to say – I’ve left the age appropriate level to play some roles I would have loved to tackle. But I have played both the Dentist/boyfriend and the Mailman in On Golden Pond – I think I’d like to play Norman Thayer before I hang it all up.
in Sylvia
Tempe Little Theater 2009
Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play:    
Wow. If I had the talent…. But check my drag pics… LOL

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:  
Repeating my first line over and over in my head. I know I just got to get that first line out of my mouth. That and a lot of pacing.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:   
Just one? Seriously I try very hard but …sometimes one does totally lose it.  I have improvised a few times, but on one occasion just looked at my costar and said “Go On?” Ask KatiBelle Collins. She loves this story.
Your go to audition monologue/song
 I like to use a Last of the Red Hot Lovers monologue – “My first attempted Extramarital affair” …. And I like to use Horatio's "Two nights together had these gentlemen" from Hamlet

Worst audition experience:
“Thank you” and they just turn away to whisper amongst themselves….. You’re (I) standing there for a split second, and then realize you’ve been summarily dismissed. Just a bit humiliating.

Famous past stage or screen star you would have loved to have performed with:
 Paul Newman is my Idol.

Your personal acting idols:   
Did I mention that Paul Newman is my Idol?

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone?

Favorite movie:
Apollo 13

Sports teams you root for:
Cardinals – What’s going on?

Something about you that might surprise people: 
I’m (was) a good dancer

Career you would want if not a performer:      
Political Advisor

with Wade Moran in
Of Mice and Men - Desert Stages 2015
photo: Moran Imaging
Worst non-theatre job you've had:
Tree Surgeon – chainsaws, tree climbing – great combo

Best non-theatre job you've had:
International Y2K consultant – fun times, big budgets

Three things you can't live without: 
Internet, Wine and cigarettes.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Did I mention Learn your lines? Use your whole body right down to the finger tips. Control your breathing. Be able to accelerate your heart with nervous energy without displaying it to the audience.

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix:
Diversity. I get to see so many shows with such a wide variety of performers, topics and venues. Of course – not like you Gil.

What you think needs to be changed/improved/different about theatre in Phoenix: 
I advocated for separating Educational and Community theaters 3 years ago when I was a member of the Board of the Arizoni’s – I’d like to see that discussion revived.

And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:
1. What is your favorite word?
 Depends. Depends is the word. I have a world view that everything is more complex and complicated than single thread narratives. History, religion, racial, age, and economics play a part within almost any issue. And it depends on the timing and cultural & personal maturity of involved parties before one can begin to understand any situation.

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?
I consider myself a Sapiosexual. I’m turned on by intelligence.

4. What turns you off?

5. What sound do you love?
 The pitter patter of rain

6. What sound do you hate?
 My Alarm clock

7. What is your favorite curse word?
 Hahahahaha.  Coitus. In the Fbomb format.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
 Politics? I have a love/hate relationship with politics. I’ve been watching politics since 1968 (Sweet lord I’m old!) Martin Luther King Jr in April and Bobby Kennedy were both assassinated when I was old enough to barely comprehend it. Bobby Kennedy was Assassinated: June 6, 1968, Los Angeles, CA – that was my 9th birthday. And then the ultra-violent Chicago Democratic convention in Chicago came that August.   I know more about US political history than I do about theater by far. I could be a policy wonk or a political strategist. But the over the top vitriol is disgusting to me.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
 Administration. Tedious tasks make me crazy

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
 “You did good Tim, look down there and see the people mourning your passing. You touched them. You helped many. You were a friend, an inspiration, an example of decency and humbleness.”

1 comment:

  1. Very nice interview, Tim, and a good look into who you are.