Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview with "Lend Me a Tenor"'s Frank Creasy - Part 3

This is the final installment in a three-part interview with Frank Creasy, one of the stars of Lend Me a Tenor. We greatly appreciate his taking the time to talk with us. The picture to the right is a recent promo shot Frank made for the Virginia State Fair.

Q - You've played some terrific parts over the years, and your current role in Lend Me a Tenor is certainly among them. Are there any dream roles that you'd still like to play?

A - Can I send you the complete list in an Excel spreadsheet? Okay, okay...truth be told, I’ve had some dream roles already, such as George Schneider in Neil Simon’s Chapter Two at CAT (that's a role I’d like to do again, actually). And although I love character parts and I love comedies (see previous question and answer in yesterday's installment), I’d like to have the chance to tackle the role of Johnny in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally. Probably without the nudity. As a “man of a certain age,” I’m not sure that would appeal to ANYONE. But I absolutely love the play and the role.

Q - Have you dabbled in any other arts activities?

A - Believe it or not, I did a semester with the modern dance company at Longwood. You’ll notice I’ve never been asked to dance in any Richmond theatre productions; I guess that speaks to my skill as a dancer more than anything else I could say.

Q - Does your wife Carol (pictured with Frank to the left) share your interest in the arts?

A - Carol sang in the UVA women’s chorus and still has a lovely voice to match those beautiful eyes. She also did all the interior design and decorating in our home. Guests always ask who we hired. "I didn’t hire someone," I tell them, "I married someone."

Q - When you're not at work at Anthem, or acting in a production at a Richmond theatre, what are your other interests? What other aspirations have you pursued?

A - I was a “jock” in school – wrestling was my thing, and during my first year of college at George Mason (before Longwood), a pinched nerve in my neck led to an x-ray. That’s when I learned about an injury two years before that had caused a dislocated cervical vertebra. I'd been wrestling for two years with a dislocated vertebra! I'm very lucky that I didn't wind up in a wheelchair. I quit wrestling after that, under doctor's orders. I got healthy, took up acting after transferring to Longwood, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Q - Why do you think theatre has held your interest all these years?

A - I just really enjoy it, I guess. I come to the theatre to have fun. But I approach what I do very seriously. It could be a farce like Lend Me a Tenor (the picture to the right shows Frank with Tenor co-star Jan Guarino), or a violent epic like The Spanish Tragedy (Henley Street Theatre), or a brand new avant garde piece where I’m playing an apartment building, like I did in Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), a show I did last year at the Firehouse. Whatever show it is, first and foremost, I try to be entertaining and interesting because the people who work hard and pay for their tickets deserve that.

I try to be versatile, to honor the play and the role and the direction, to create a character who is unique, who has a little bit of “Frank” in him, but is still, hopefully, different from anything else I’ve done before. I'm not really interested in rehashing a previous performance or falling back on some schtick from my acting “bag of tricks."

To me, my highest achievement would be for an audience member to see my name in a playbill and think, “Frank Creasy is in this play. That should be fun. Wonder what he'll do this time.”

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