Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PHX STAGES Q/A: Joseph Kremer

Joseph Kremer, or just "Kremer" as pretty much anyone who knows him calls him, is gifted in portraying characters in both dramas and comedies. He has appeared in plenty of both at just about every major theatre across the Phoenix area over the past dozen years. Not only is he talented, but he is also one of the smartest actors you'll ever meet. He's the kind of guy that you can have an in-depth conversation with over a couple of cocktails where he clearly explains, in a non condescending way, the finer points of Stray Cat Theatre's recent production of Pluto that you failed to grasp. 

Not only is he smart, but he is also one of the nicest guys in town. He is the type of guy who goes out of his way to say hello to you in a crowded room. He definitely has his fans, so many in fact that there is even a "Joe Kremer International Fan Club" on Facebook.

He's won five ariZoni awards for Best Actor and been singled out as the “Best Actor in Phoenix” by the New Times. In the past two seasons he's co-starred in A Steady Rain, The Book Club Play and The Cottage for Actor's Theatre, had featured roles in both Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew at Southwest Shakespeare, played a comical role in All New People at Stray Cat as well as was in the new musical National Pastime at Theater works.  He also earned his Actors Equity card when he portrayed the distraught husband in Arizona Theatre Company's Wait Until Dark this past winter. He opens this weekend in One Man, Two Guvnors at Phoenix Theatre and even though he's a very busy guy he sat down to answer some questions for PHX Stages.

with Ron May in One Man, Two Guvnors
Phoenix Theatre - 2015
(Photo by Erin Evangeline Photography)

Name: Joseph Kremer

Where you were born and or raised: I was born in Quincy, IL. My family moved to a couple of other places, but then decided on Phoenix when I was 14 and I've lived here ever since. I feel like a native Phoenician in so many ways.

What made you decide to stay in Arizona? I decided to stay in Phoenix to raise my daughter. I moved around a bit as a kid and I hated it, so I wanted to give her the opportunity to stay in one place. I think it worked out pretty well.

Siblings: I have one beautiful younger sister. Her name is Maggie and she’s a very talented artist. Some of her murals can be seen in antique stores and cafes in Glendale.

Family/Children: One daughter and her name is Sabrina. My parents (Jeff & Diane) still live here in Phoenix and have been married for 41 years. YOWZA. I don’t know how they do it. I was married for 7 years and I wanted to hang myself.

First show you ever saw: I was a sophomore at Greenway High School and saw their production of Bye Bye Birdie. Looking back on it now, it was…not great. BUT, I didn't know what amazing theatre was at the time, so I thought it was fantastic.

Kremer and Tyler Eglen- The Cottage
Actor's Theatre -2014
(photo: John Groseclose)
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I saw Saturday Night Live for the first time and saw Dana Carvey play the Churchlady on a skit called “Church Chat.” I think I was around 11 or 12. I laughed so hard I nearly vomited. And I thought to myself, “I want to be someone who makes people vomit too.” Some would say I've already attained that goal…

The one performance you attended that you will never forget: Psychosis 4:40 at Stray Cat Theatre with Kerry McCue in the lead. That show FREAKED. ME. OUT.

First stage kiss: It was with April Shepherd in a show called Beau Jest at Hale Centre Theatre. I'm not gonna lie: she was hot and it was awesome.

Best stage experience you’ve had so far: The first one that comes to mind is Reefer Madness at Nearly Naked Theatre. The cast was tight, the role was very funny, and the parties were unforgettable. That show came along when I had a TV commercial that was getting a lot of airplay, so it was just a real happy time in my life.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show? This cast for 1 Man 2 Guvnors is absolutely incredible. They’re already very funny people on their own, but when you get them all together? KA-BOOM! You’ll see.

Christopher Haines and Joseph Kremer in A Steady Rain
Actor's Theatre- 2013
(photo: John Groseclose)
Most challenging role you have played onstage: Denny in A Steady Rain. Huge line load and an emotional roller coaster.

Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? Not at the moment…but you’ll be the first to know if something changes.

Leading role you've been dying to play: The leading role I’ve been dying to play is all of them.

Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play: Ooooooooh…no one has ever asked me that. Hmmm…probable Maggie the Cat in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof…or any female lead role in a Tennessee Williams play.

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Every show is different and I usually have a different ritual for each one. However, one ritual that has been consistent recently is playing the piano before the show. Alone. Where no one can hear me. Because it’s hideous.

National Pastime - Theater Works 2014
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: There’s two: The first was during A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Sedona Shakespeare Festival. I was playing Theseus and the line I was supposed to say just…went…right out of my head. I leaned over to Andi Watson (who was playing Hippolyta) and I whispered to her, “I can’t remember my line.” I then stood up…clapped my hands…and simply said, “FANTASTIC.”  Which, if you’ve seen or read the play, that’s not the line. Everyone in the cast just froze and stared at me for, what felt like, 3 hours. Luckily, Kyle Sorrell knew my line and saved us all. The second one happened last year when I was performing National Pastime at TheatreWorks and I was singing a line of a song to Sara Wolter and a few other members of the cast. I flubbed it SO BAD that all that came out was, “kee bop a dop dop, badooka deeba dah!” All of us barely made it through the rest of the song without cracking up. Right after we got off stage Sarah collapsed was laughing so hard that I think she threw up on her shoe.  See? Told ya.

Worst costume ever: Don’t be ridiculous. They’ve all been amazing and I would never speak ill of a costume designer …because I’m not an idiot.

Angelica Howland, Michael Peck, Kim Richard and Kremer
All New People- Stray Cat Theatre - 2013
(photo: John Groseclose) 
Best costume ever: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Phoenix Theatre in 2006 when I played an Aggie. Tighty whitey underwear and cowboy boots. Totally different body of course.

Your go to audition monologue/song: I don’t have one. I change them constantly.

Worst audition experience: The first time I auditioned for Southwest Shakespeare. I didn’t know that I was supposed to memorize the audition monologue so I just read it out of the book. Poorly, I might add. Needless to say I didn’t get a callback.

If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be? Robert Duvall or Marlon Brando. Doesn’t matter which production, I’d watch any of them.

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with: Probably John Belushi. Just this big, beautiful, natural funny.

Actor/actress in the Phoenix area you'd love to perform with: I haven’t done a show with Toby Yatzo yet. I think that’s due.

Your personal acting idols: Ricky Gervais, because he just does what he wants. Will Ferrell, because he invents such funny characters and puts so much life in them. John Ritter, because he had such incredible timing.

Performer you would drop everything to go see: Kevin Spacey. Hands down.

Current/recent show other than one of your own you have been recommending
to friends: The TomKat Project at Stray Cat. Absolutely hilarious. They have such amazing shows.

Noises Off - Phoenix Theatre
photo: Laura Durant
Favorite play(s): To perform in? Noises Off. Probably one of the best written comedies of the 20th Century.

Favorite musical(s): I haven’t seen a lot of musicals, but my favorite one so far was The Producers. I saw it in New York in 2004 and just fell in love with it.

Some favorite modern plays/musicals: Any play by Martin McDonagh. He’s awesome.

Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "All I Care About Is Love" from Chicago

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone? Requiem by Mozart. I listen to it while I’m working. It’s a little dark, I know, but it gets the job done.

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: The Eagles Greatest Hits

Last good book you read: "Balas De Carmin" by Alfredo Garcia Frances. SO GOOD.

Must-see TV show(s): HOUSE. OF. CARDS. Also, SO GOOD.

Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and WKRP in Cincinatti.

Dead Man's Cellphone - Actor's Theatre
(photo: John Groseclose)
Last good movie you saw: Nymphomaniac by Lars Von Trier, parts 1 AND 2. Don’t you judge ME!

Favorite movie: Schindler’s List. That movie makes me stop what I’m doing and park on the couch.

Music/book/movie that makes you cry: The Professional with Natalie Portman. The part when Jean Reno sends Natalie Portman down the air shaft. I can’t handle it.

Favorite restaurant in the Valley: Bliss/Rebar. (everyone that knows me gasps in shock)

Favorite cities: In no particular order they would be: Madrid, Spain; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Chicago, Illinois; Paris, France; Dublin, Ireland; London, England, Quincy, Illinois.

Sports teams you root for: Arizona Diamondbacks; Arizona Cardinals; Arizona Coyotes; Phoenix Suns

Something about you that might surprise people: I’m an amazing Country & Western dancer and I also listen to a lot of country music. Shut up.

Special skills: I can juggle. I can also play a little guitar and piano. Also, surviving life.

Career you would want if not a performer: Politician or lobbyist.

Worst non-theatre job you've had: Landscaper. Never forget.

with Courtney Weir in Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Nearly Naked Theatre
(Photo by Christopher Mascarelli)
Best non-theatre job you've had: Bartending. I loved it so much. I would make these crazy, elaborate drinks while dancing all night, AND got paid to do it. Plus, the girls. MY GAWD, the GIRLS!

Three things you can't live without: Food. Water. Air.

Words of advice for aspiring performers: Never never never never NEVER stop trying and learning. Persistence and talent are the keys.

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix: Our big lovely community of local theatre folks. They are the most amazing, wonderful group of people I have ever known.

What do you think needs to be changed/improved/different about theatre in Phoenix: I don’t think anything needs to be changed about theatre in Phoenix. Theatre in Phoenix is fantastic. What needs to be changed are the ATTITUDES that city, county, and state officials/ representatives have towards theatre and giving it the appropriate funding. Shame on those people. I don’t vote for them, and I wish no one else would either.

And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:

1. What is your favorite word? Murciélago. It’s Spanish for “bat.” It’s a cool sounding word.

2. What is your least favorite word? poop

3. What turns you on? Funny friends.

4. What turns you off? Religious fanaticism

5. What sound do you love? Audience laughter. Ugh. So cliché, but it’s true.

6. What sound do you hate? Crying babies. On Airplanes. When I’m hungover, I haven’t had any sleep, and the battery just went out on my noise cancelling headphones. Can I have a parachute, please?

7. What is your favorite curse word? Muthafucker!

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Tour Guide

9. What profession would you not like to do? Security Guard

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Congrats! You made it! Barely…

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