Another Q & A With Kevin Earley
January 17th, 2004
It's become somewhat of a tradition, when Kevin sees me after a show with my video camera and a list of questions he knows what he's in for. :o) It's been more than a year since I had the chance to ask Kevin some questions for the site and he whole heartedly obliged, giving up not only the little free time that he had between shows, but part of his dinner break as well. The following is a VERY condensed version of our wonderful conversation that day.
S: I have to ask you about Freddy in "My Fair Lady." Everyone who saw it mentioned the little snort-giggle thing that you did.
K: The snort laugh?
S: Yeah, did you think of that or was that something that came from the director?
K: I did think of that. I think that Freddy can either be this total nerd...like I played it there or he has to be really fairly confident and pompous, but really not as cool as he seems. So what I had come in to the audition with was the pompous guy. And then Gordon said to me one thing... he said, "Picture this guy with little round glasses. This kind of mousey guy." And he said, "Go with that." That's all he said to me and then we went back to the top of the scene and did everything again and he said, "Great." From that, I got to go home and work on it and I obviously knew he wanted to go in that direction. What was interesting about the song was that he said, "In the song, your arms don't go above your shoulders. That's big for you. For Freddy that's outrageous. He would never do this." (raises arms above head) He would never raise his arms above his head, it would just be too crazy.
S: (laughs) Well it worked because every review I read had such glowing things to say about your performance.
K: That was very nice because it is sort of a forgettable role if you play it standard. There's a line that Higgins says, "That snot nosed little brat who can't even get a job." And there's two ways that I think you can go with that. One is that Higgins is jealous and that Freddy is kind of a good looking, charming guy who can be threatening from Higgins to Eliza. OR he is a sniveling, snot nose little brat who couldn't get a job and never wants to get a job. And...we went with that.
S: Okay, I wanted to talk about "Les Mis" since it closed Broadway last year after 16 years. Do you remember the first time you went on?
K: The first time I went on? (Thinks) Les Mis...they were great about putting people in. You would do a full run through with the show in costume when you went in - which was really nice. I don't really remember too much...It's hard. The first time you go in all you're trying to think about is "Don't get in anybody's way."
K: (Smiles) I mean really. Don't sing out of turn, try not to crack, and stay out of everybody's way.
S: I probably already know the answer to this since I've asked you this before but, how did growing up around theatre help to develop you into the performer you are today?
K: My Mom was doubly hard on me - which was great. She wouldn't cast me unless I was twice as good as the next person. I did a couple of kid shows with Mom, but ... Mom directed... (thinks for a minute)... I think I did one show. I did the chorus of "How To Succeed In Business" and Mom cast me in that. But other than that, she was...she was great. It was the perfect relationship because I didn't ever get babied about it. She really made me work for it. The other thing she would do is if I was on the table for something...like the first show I did there, "La Cage", she stepped away. She went "Okay, if you want him, it's your decision - I'll step out of the room and you guys decide." Which I appreciate. I never wanted to be the person who got into the show just because she was there.
S: Okay, a "Millie" question. What do you think you've brought to the role of Trevor Graydon?
K: I think what I can bring to Graydon is a sense of groundedness. I saw Ben and I saw Marc - and Marc was pretty grounded in his character, as he always is. Ben, wasn't - I don't think - so grounded, but very funny and just a riot. (Thinks for a minute) Just that sense of groundedness that I can bring to the office space is something I think I bring to it. A sense of realism, but going far enough to be a character. That's what I've been working on, at least in the past four weeks is trying to figure out how far I can go that sort of makes it bold, but not extreme. (Thinks again) I'm not as happy as some of the other Graydons.
S: You're not a happy Trevor Graydon?
K: Well, I think the way it's written, you can kind of play against that, but the whole yelling at the staff (adopts the Graydon voice) "Ladies!" All that sarcasm kind of stuff... It's hard. It's a fine line. What I'm always trying to think about is "How does this fit in with Millie's story?" Trevor is the guy who is supposed to be the good looking young executive who she wants to marry. So he can't be too much of a lunatic otherwise they'd be no choice for her to make between Jimmy and him. That's why when she reads off the list, "Married, married, single - and I can see why" - you don't want to be that single guy who you can see why he'd never get married.
S: Both yours and Julie's recent successes have been like a whirlwind recently.
K: It's been great. We don't ever want to let the other person feel that what they're doing is hindering what you're doing. She is SO supportive of what I do. And...(smiles shyly) I try to be supportive of what she does.
S: You're VERY supportive of what she does!
K: And that's it. We make up our own rules as far as where we are and where we live and what we do with the time that we're together and apart. There's no set way to do it, you know? Julie's manager was so sweet and she was like, "Go, if you have to be with him - go and be with him." And we were like - No, this is the time that Julie really needs to be in LA. So we worked out a schedule. She'll be there and she'll be here and I'll take vacations, days off - it's not a huge deal. We went to LA so she could try that out and we had come here originally so I could do this and do "Les Mis" and now were finding that it's kind of landing on both coasts.
S: Last question - "Speed Test"... Have you ever gotten tongue-tied, have you ever not been able to make it to the end?
K: I have never gotten so tongue-tied that it's become illegible. They actually have it written down on that little piece of paper that I'm looking at.
S: I saw that! Today was the first time that I saw it. And it actually says Sincere Trust & Insurance Company on the bottom.
K: (smiles) Yeah, They have a logo and a bottom thing, it's all very cool. There was one day a couple weeks ago - and it's happened twice - that I didn't get that piece of paper. They have these other office papers that say "Dear Sir..." that all the girls are typing out. Luckily I have the thing memorized, but it was very funny because I was like (makes a face, looks to the side and then looks back) "This isn't the letter." And there's nothing Sutton can do about it because she sits down and it's whatever paper is sitting in there that she's got to put in and do. (smiles) It's a blast, though and I haven't gotten it wrong yet.....
S: (laughs) Where's the wood?
K: (knocks on table, chair...anything he can find)
S: Well, thank you very much!
K: Thank YOU very much.