If in your first week you can begin to experience what it’s like in your fourth week, how far along would you be, by the time you actually get to your fourth week, in terms of what you’ve discovered? — Harry Groener
I’m thrilled to welcome Harry to the show: he’s a 3x Tony nominee, a true triple threat, and a helluva nice guy. I’ve been lucky to catch Harry onstage as King Arthur in Spamalot in New York, as the afflicted king in The Madness of George III in Chicago, in Equivocation in Los Angeles, and he’s always memorable! We’ve also worked together on Mother Courage and Her Children with The Antaeus Company.
He’s probably most familiar to audiences for his musical theatre work in New York, as well as being a series regular on the ’90s sitcom Dear John with Judd Hirsch, and playing Mayor Wilkins on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Harry has received many recognitions for his stage work, including three Tony nominations (Oklahoma!, Cats, Crazy For You), an LA Ovation Award (Equivocation), an LA Drama Critics Circle Award (King Lear), the Joseph Jefferson “Jeff” Award (The Madness of George III), as well as a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination (both for Oklahoma!), just to name a few.
He has performed in regional theatres across the country, including the San Diego Old Globe Theatre (where he is an associate artist), Mark Taper Forum, Westwood Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, A.C.T., and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Film/TV work include About Schmidt, Patch Adams, Road to Perdition, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, The West Wing and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Enterprise.
Please enjoy my chat with Harry Groener!
Total running time: 1:20:54
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Want to hear more from another musical theatre actor? Check out my talk with Peter Van Norden, an actor with over 45 years in the business!
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Harry Groener around the web
- An injury he sustained over 40 years ago doing French farce
- What drew Harry to ballet as a kid
- Playing the Prince in The Nutcracker ballet
- His audition experience for PCPA
- How Harry developed the foundation of his process at PCPA
- How the artistic director laid down the law for all members of PCPA
- Why he wanted more training and how he found it at University of Washington
- How he landed a job at Actors Theatre of Louisville
- What it’s like acting with your spouse
- Why Harry was so prepared for auditions
- Working on Brubaker with Robert Redford
- How he felt about his nominations and awards for Oklahoma!
- His goals during the Broadway phase of his career
- Why he enjoys playing villains or “evil” characters
- How Joss Whedon directed him to play the Mayor on Buffy
- What Harry took away from working as a series regular
- How Harry maintained 550+ consecutive performances of Crazy For You
- Differences between NY vs. LA vs. Chicago as theatre towns
- What inspired him as a kid and made him want to pursue theatre
- The similar way he approaches Noel Coward and Shakespare
- One of the most important things you can do as an actor
Selected People and Items Mentioned
- REI – Opt Outside
- West Side Story
- Harding Theatre, San Francisco
- University of Washington Drama
- City College San Francisco
- Donovan Marley and PCPA
- Simon Levy, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles
- Jim Corti, Paramount Theatre, Chicago
- ACT, San Francisco
- Dawn Didawick, Harry’s wife
- Actors Theatre of Louisville
- Seattle Repertory Theatre
- Theatre Communications Group
- Jon Jory, Actors Theatre
- Bob Rafelson, film director
- Agnes de Mille, choreographer of Oklahoma!
- Gemze de Lappe, dancer and chorographer
- Zev Buffman, Broadway producer
- Ghetto by Joshua Sobol
- Joss Whedon
- Judd Hirsch
- Dear John
- Marco Pennette, TV producer
- James Burrows
- Mike Ockrent, director of Crazy For You
- Susan Stroman, choreographer and director
- Bette Midler in Hello Dolly
- Antaeus Theatre
- Goodman Theatre
- Chicago Shakespeare
- Martha Lavey, Steppenwolf
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Rene Aubergenois as Tartuffe
- David Dukes
- Mother Courage with Antaeus
- Mrs. Worthington by Noel Coward
Harry singing and dancing in Crazy For You
Copy and share: bit.ly/waj-groener
Photo credit: Liz Lauren / Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, translated and adapted for the stage by Anthony Burgess)