"Nice work if you can get it" is one of my favorite lyrics, especially when it comes to my thoughts of working on Broadway. And this job does have its perks when you get to interview some of the lucky actors, whose dream actually becomes a reality. So, here is an interview with another one of the cast from DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. This week, we hear from one of the nicest guys on Broadway, Gregory Jbara, who plays ANDRE in DRS. Jbara, a favorite of BroadwayWorld.com, last spoke to BWW about a year ago and so now, let's check in with him and have a chat…
TJ: Very nice to meet you, Greg. I actually saw you after you took over the role of BILLY FLYNN in CHICAGO, here in New York with Bebe Neuwith and Marilu Henner. I believe it was one of your first performances in the role.
JBARA: When I tripped on my curtain call coming down the stairs?
TJ: I don't recall you tripping so you must have covered it pretty well.
JBARA: That was actually the first time I ever replaced someone in a role. I had only two weeks of rehearsal with a stage manager and a piano. It was then that I realized what a luxury it was to have six to eight weeks to create a role before you start in front of an audience.
TJ: Well, we thought you were amazing in the role. But enough about that, what is this I read about a show you were in a the Monster??
JBARA: That was actually my very first show in NYC which was a camp musical based on the Bride of Frankenstein called HAVE I GOT A GIRL FOR YOU. And it starred Semina De Laurentis, the original Sister Amnesia of NUNSENSE. This was the first major role for her after NUNSENSE and I played Frankenstein's monster, complete with the bolts on my neck and wearing ledehosen. I was actually tap dancing in the big old Frankenstein boots. Coincidentally, it also starred D ennis Parlato, who stands in for Jonathan Pryce and myself in DRS. It was my first union gig in NYC.
TJ: Hmmm, a monster…OK. So what initially got you interested in acting?
JBARA: My therapist would say one thing. Well, I came from a family of four kids and there was also a big extended family. My father was the youngest of thirteen children and my mother was the second of three, but we had many many cousins. So at family gatherings, there were hundreds of Jbaras and Sweeneys so there was no time or place for being modest or shy. We were all raised Catholic so there was a lot of singing from the very beginning. As soon as we were able to talk, we were all singing church songs. I was an altar by third grade so the idea of being up on stage during high mass….there was no greater theatrical experience than that of high mass.
Attending public school, a lot of the other Catholic kids would come up and say, "Hey I saw you up there.." So here I was being singled out here and I thought "Hey, this is kinda nice being recognized." And on some of the weekday masses, I would get to do some of the readings. So I had a lot of experience early on thanks to the Catholic church.
TJ: So you could call it a "God-given talent?"