Arts & Culture News

Broadway Vet Brent Barrett, Star of the Music Hall's Peter Pan, on Life as an Actor's Actor

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Before we talk about Peter Pan, we have to talk about Grand Hotel. You played the Baron in the original production directed by Tommy Tune. The late Michael Jeter, who won the Tony for his performance, played Mr. Kringelein. The two of you sang and danced the number "Let's Take a Glass Together" on the 1990 Tony Awards in what, for me, is the most joyous three minutes ever seen on the Tony telecast. What do you remember about that night?

Michael was a very special human being. It is one of those numbers that has gone down in the history of the Tonys as one of the favorites. It is a little magical moment and I remember it so well. It was done live, of course, and right after that we were hustled out into a van. And then a few moments later, Michael won the award for best supporting actor in a musical. It was a perfect moment in time. [Jeter died in 2003.]

Here's the number, preserved on YouTube:

You've spent more than 30 years doing Broadway shows and taking them on national tours. What are three things you like about life on the road with a big musical?

As you get older, it is harder to keep your life together. But now you can do your bills and banking online. That's one thing. Also, you don't have auditions to deal with while you're on the road with a show. You just have to think about your show at night. Depending on what town you're in, you get up, go to breakfast, go the gym and do the show at night. I like the simplicity of that routine. I spent three years doing Phantom in Vegas. I bought a house, put down roots. This is really the first tour I've been out on in a long time. With this business you go where the work is.

So what's something you don't like about road life? You leave your life behind. I'm traveling with my dog Boris, my 5-year-old Shih Tzu. My partner goes back and forth to Germany with the job that he does. He sells Bare Essentials makeup on QVC. I use it onstage. It's good stuff.

Cathy Rigby is 59. You're actually a little younger than this production's Peter Pan. How does she do it? Cathy is still in incredible shape, flying around the stage like nobody's business. I had to get back into shape for Captain Hook, doing cardio and weight training. Hook is much more active than the last role I did as Billy Flynn in Chicago. In that show, you stand and sing, you park and bark. Peter Pan is a workout. It's a testament to both of us that we're holding up as well as we are.

Do you have a favorite moment in Peter Pan?

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Elaine Liner
Contact: Elaine Liner