Friday, August 14, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Tommy Piper

Good morrow, folks! You're in luck today, as we have Tommy Piper visiting the blog. You've seen him on the Opera House stage over the years as Bottom, Touchstone and more...and this summer as Dorn in The Seagull over at Ames Farm. Now, you have the chance to watch him as the hilarious Sir John Falstaff in this summer's 80's-infused production of The Merry Wives of Windsor! But first, dear friends, take a moment to get to know Tommy a little bit better...

Where did you grow up?

Well- I was born in Chicago... The biggest baby ever born in Evanston Hospital, at 9 lbs 14oz.  That record, sadly, has since been shattered. However, I spent most of my childhood in St. Louis, MO, and then graduated high school in Atlanta, GA.

How would your elementary school classmates remember you?

Devilishly handsome, wicked smart, incredibly talented, and one heck of an athlete.  Ohh... And a bit of a clown....

Name four fictional characters with whom you'd be okay being stuck in an elevator. Why them?

Dean Moriarty and Yossarian... Cause we could cause some trouble and tell some stories. Galadriel 'cause she's like Cate Blanchett with magical Elven powers (no brainer, right?) -- And then Schneider from One Day at a Time 'cause he could fix it.

Or maybe we want Schneider back in his apartment and that Chinese acrobat from Ocean's Eleven in the elevator so he can crawl out and go  tell Schneider to fix it.

If you were a cartoon character, which cartoon character would you be?

Racer X from Speed Racer.

When did you fall in love with theatre?

When I was a kid I went to a production of Showboat with Eddie Bracken at the Muny Opera in St. Louis. Bracken was the father of my Mom's best friend from college, so we got to go backstage after the show, meet the cast and see some of that 'behind the scenes' magic.  The next day Bracken came to our house, picked my pocket, stole my watch, and told stories.  Lots of stories. Stories about hitchhiking his way across the country at 16 to get to Hollywood, and Vaudeville, and how Carol Burnette daily bursts through his front door.

The seed was planted...

But I guess that's more like seeing the pretty girl at the other end of the bar, and feeling the butterflies in your belly while you work up the nerve to go strike up a conversation.  The love part comes later. 

And that's another story...a long one. 

And then there's the time Theatre and I got married, and then we moved into that house, and then we had lots and lots of little theatre rugrats running around, and then...and then...and then...

Join Tommy and other OHA favorites - Jeffrey FracĂ©, Melody Bates, and Matt Hurley - along with talented new faces and area residents all this weekend and next Thursday through Sunday at The Merry Wives of Windsor!