Magazine article American Theatre

Twenty Questions.(Brief Article)(Interview)

Magazine article American Theatre

Twenty Questions.(Brief Article)(Interview)

Article excerpt

John Cullum is a two-time Tony-winner appearing in this season's most irreverent musical comedy, Urinetown: The Musical. He invited American Theatre to his dressing room before an evening performance at the Henry Miller Theatre.

What's your sign?

My sign is Pisces. I'm glad I knew that! I thought you were going to ask me something I'd have to struggle over.

Anything you know about that sign, other than that it's a water sign?

That they're some fishy guys is all I know. They're led around by the nose.

Do you find it kind of ironic that it's a water sign and you're in a play that...?

No, I never have thought of it. A fish raised in the kind of water that this show is about....I don't know how long it would survive.

Maybe your astrological sign directed you to the smallest dressing room you've ever had.

This is the tiniest room I've had since The Saving Grace, which was 30 years ago, down on the Lower East Side. I don't know whether it's a step up or a step down from where we [the Urinetown company] were Off Broadway. Off Broadway we all shared one dressing room--the men and the women. We had a sheet draped between us.

You must have overheard some interesting conversations?

I heard some things that I never expected to hear young ladies say. It was very, very educational.

Any stories you want to share?

No. I wouldn't even share them with my wife.

Did you have an affection for rabbits before you sang "Don't Be the Bunny"?

Well, I have eaten rabbit--but not since I've been in this show.

Where are you from?

I'm a hillbilly. I'm from east Tennessee. Knoxville. The foothills of the Smokies.

How did you make the way from there to here?

By bare foot. Actually, I'd been in the army for a year, in Korea. I was working on a master's degree in finance at the University of Tennessee. I gave myself a couple of years to try acting. …

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