By Gil Benbrook
Born in Brooklyn, yet having lived in the Phoenix area now for almost 40 years, Rich Rose performed in numerous plays when he was a teenager. After a hiatus from acting he found himself on the boards again after his
daughter's Allie's passion for musical theater brought her, and him, to Desert Stages Theatre.
He is currently appearing in the comedy 6 RMS RIV VU at Desert Stages, which runs through April 8th, after appearing in Camp Rock last summer.
Rose says that DST is his daughter’s home away from home, and he quickly found himself as a board member of the organization, where he is helping DST off stage in running and helping to build and expand the organization in their new home inside the Scottsdale Fashion Square.
Rose sat down in between his daytime consulting job and his nighttime spent on the stage in DST's Actor's Cafe to answer the PHX Stages Q/A:
Where you were born and or raised:
Brooklyn, New York
What brought you to Arizona?
I was a senior in college and it was a very cold winter. I was going to school and living in Rhode Island at the time. It was during winter break and I had to go to my father’s office to pick something up on New Year’s Day. The office was on a hill and the wind was strong off the water and I slipped on the black ice and fell on my rear end. I swore at that point that when I graduated I would go to a warm climate. I sent out resumes my last semester in college, set up interviews during spring break and wound up in Phoenix.
What your parents did for a living:
My father was an Engineer for a Defense Contracting firm, my mother was a stay at home mom
1 Brother - Bruce
Wife Meryl, daughter Allie (15 ½ and has been doing musical theater actively since she was 9)
Day job/part time job:
Self Employed Business Consultant – I work with clients all over the country that are facing money problems and help them either fix their problems or liquidate in a manner that allows the business owner to walk away with some money to go on from the business loss either into a new career or a new business
First show you ever saw:
Grease on Broadway when it first came out – guess I’m showing my age
Moment you knew you wanted to become a performer:
Any time I am on the stage and hear the audience laughing at one of my lines
The one performance you attended that you will never forget:
Going to Book of Morman
with my daughter when she was about 12 or 13 and bumping into people I knew who kept on looking at me as to was I really sure I wanted to have my daughter seeing the show. As a theater parent my censorship senses have become very lenient.
First stage kiss:
in Mary Poppins
when I was 6 years old
Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting? Camp Rock
|Rich Rose in Camp Rock|
photo courtesy Desert Stages Theatre
at Desert Stages Theatre – it was a youth production with some adults in it. I just really enjoyed seeing how much the teens in the cast loved being in the show and enjoyed their roles so much and I got a kick out of interacting with them – and actually took on the role on and off stage, of being the camp owner with them trying to save my camp. My daughter was in it with me which of course was a plus and although I already knew many of the teens in the cast – I really got to know some of them a lot better. This experience truly demonstrated for me why being on stage and being part of a cast is such importance experience for youth to learn how to navigate thru life and be better human beings. It also opened my eyes as to the magic that can be made in an intergenerational show.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?
Being able to bring to life building superintendents I knew growing up in NYC in the 1960’s
Most challenging role you have played onstage?
This show as Eddie the superintendent in 6 Rms Riv Vu. I am perhaps the most unhandy person I know and on stage I’ve got to keep fixing the doorknob to move the show along – it is a new experience every show as to whether or not the doorknob will work
What was the first show you performed in and what did you learn from it that you still use today? Mary Poppins
as Michael Banks – I was too young to really appreciate the experience
Leading role you've been dying to play:
Pseudolus in Forum
– he runs the show and was always able to keep one step ahead no matter what happens. Also Professor Harold Hill in Music Man
– again was always able to keep one step ahead and he could sing and lead a parade.
Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play:
Mary Poppins – she could do it all – sing, dance, fly, make magic things happen
Guilty pleasure show you’d love to perform in: Avenue Q
– I laugh all the time at it
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
Try to visualize myself as the character I’m playing
Worst costume ever:
Have always liked my costumes – never had an outlandish or strange one I had to wear
Best costume ever:
None stand out – I just like to be comfortable onstage
Your go to audition monologue/song:
Unfortunately I am an awful singer so any song I sing has to be one where I can almost talk thru the song – like Kids from Bye Bye Birdie
or Everybody Ought To Have A Maid from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Worst audition experience:
Having to sing (You’re) Timeless To Me in a callback for Hairspray
and being completely unprepared as I had no intention of trying out for Wilbur Turnblad – I was just looking for a small role like Mr. Pinky where I didn’t think I needed to sing.
If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?
The Rat Pack performing together
Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with:
Frank Sinatra – could do it all and look good at it when he was doing it
Your personal acting idols:
Tom Hanks – brings it all to any role he is in
Current/recent show other than one of your own you have been recommending
to friends: Come From Away
– saw it on Broadway last year and just thought it was a great all around show that made you feel good and was enjoyable
Favorite play(s): Glengarry Glen Ross, Odd Couple, Brighton Beach Memoirs, 12 Angry Men
Favorite musical(s): Guys & Dolls
and Bye Bye Birdie
Some favorite modern plays/musicals: Come From Away, Book of Morman, Something Rotten, Chicago, Avenue Q
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
Comedy Tonight (Forum), Hello Dolly, Footloose, Guys & Dolls,
Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone?
1960’s to early 1970’s music
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Last good book you read: The Whistler
by John Grisham –I’m always a sucker for a John Grisham book
Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show: Law & Order
Last good movie you saw: The Big Sick
Favorite movie: Almost Famous
|Rich Rose in 6 RMS RIV VU at Desert Stages Theatre|
photo by Renee Ashlock
– no particular reason, I just like it
Music/book/movie that makes you cry: Marley & Me
– sorry I have a soft spot for dogs
Favorite restaurant in the Valley:
Don & Charlie’s
New York City – still feels like my hometown even though I haven’t lived there in over 40 years
Sports teams you root for:
New York Yankees
Something about you that might surprise people:
I wished I could sing & dance
Keep people calm when they are upset
Career you would want if not a performer:
Making business deals
Worst non-theatre job you've had:
Waiter - yuck
Best non-theatre job you've had:
Three things you can't live without:
My wife & daughter, inner peace, sense of humor
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Put yourself out there – continue to hone your craft and recognize you are always learning
What you love most about theatre in Phoenix:
The fact there is so much theater out here and so many choices. You always have a show to see if you want
And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
When a deal comes together
4. What turns you off?
Lack of common sense and when people lie to me
5. What sound do you love?
6. What sound do you hate?
People screaming at each other
7. What is your favorite curse word?
No fucking way
8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Any kind of manual labor
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Enjoy an eternity of inner peace and calmness