Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Hooking up with John Sanders of 'Starcatcher'
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2014-04-08

This article shared 2781 times since Tue Apr 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Peter and the Starcatcher is a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. Told cleverly with a talented cast depicting more than a hundred characters, one performance definitely stands out in the crowd. John Sanders, as Black Stache, almost single-handedly steals the show.

Playing a comical Captain Hook is just one of the many roles Sanders has brought to life. Not only was he an original cast member on Broadway for Starcatcher, but he was also in Matilda the Musical. His Chicago credits include working for some of the top theaters in the city like Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, and Stage Left.

He returns to his roots with the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher. Windy City Times caught up with him to discuss it while in town.

Windy City Times: Hi, John. I was just reading in the program that a friend of mine from college theater did the sound for Peter. His name is Darron L West.

John Sanders: You know Darron? He won a Tony for doing the sound design for this show.

WCT: I didn't even know that fact!

John Sanders: It is not only for the obvious stuff that you hear like sound effects and musicians but people are surprised that we have mics. The beauty of that accomplishment to make us sound very real and live coming from the stage is something worthy of note.

WCT: Have you been with this show since the beginning?

John Sanders: Not originally. It was commissioned through Roger Rees and his husband Rick Elice based on a book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. They decided to turn it into a play so they got Roger who had done Nicholas Nickleby with sort of the same style.

They just went out to the prop room to figure out how to build some of these sequences. Eight months later they started writing the script. Most of the physical sequences were done first.

I remember I was doing Turn of the Century here at the Goodman Theatre when I first met Roger at the opening night. He randomly told me they were doing a workshop of a play in that conversation. Years later my agent got the call that they wanted me to audition for the Broadway production. I went to New York and was cast in the original Broadway company.

I moved to New York and was in the original company of Matilda the Musical then I was asked to play Stache on the tour. I left Matilda to do this tour and we have been all over the country. It's great to be back in Chicago.

WCT: Matilda was a big hit, also.

John Sanders: It was a great experience. I have been in big musicals before at the Goodman and Drury Lane. I led Mama Mia for a while on the road. Being a part of a 16 million dollar Broadway musical from the beginning of the process and being on the Tonys, Letterman, and The View was really amazing. Starcatcher is the little play that did but Matilda was the Michael Bay of Broadway productions!

I guess Spider-Man was really that being financed at $70 million but the typical Broadway musical was around Matilda's price.

WCT: Did you always want to be in theater?

John Sanders: Yeah, and I always have been in theater. It was in high school where I had an amazing department there in California. They threw a lot of money at the arts and really valued it. I majored in it in Oregon then moved to Chicago. I was here eleven years before moving on to New York.

WCT: How much fun is the big drag number?

John Sanders: You mean the mermaid number? It's amazing. Paloma Young also won a Tony for her costumes, and that is a big part of it. It is great when they design around you. It allows you to be what is intended and not have to do much. That is one of those great opportunities when you walk out on stage and people start applauding. We just look so hilarious!

WCT: Who did you model Black Stache after?

John Sanders: There have been a lot of influences comedically in my life from Leslie Nielsen to Monty Python. One of the films I started watching getting ready for this role was Richard E. Grant in Withnail and I. He is so weird and tortured in that movie. He is convinced that he is surrounded by fools. This guy is on a singular mission that no one else can understand and so is Stache.

WCT: Do you have to reel in your character sometimes?

John Sanders: It is always a balance to strike the right aesthetic tone for the scene. There is a lot of ways to play a character like this either from the outside in or the other way around. There is a Marx Brothers feel to it. There is not always a narrative reason for a bit to exist but the best clowning always has an idea behind it. I hope that is what I accomplish in my time here in Chicago.

WCT: Do you believe your character is really flamboyant or do you think he's gay?

John Sanders: I don't really know. This is the type of person that is open in all of those ways. When he sees Boy for the first time at the very end of act one when they see each other there is a long pause. Stache is open to all of those experiences. I still find it very useful to answer that question.

WCT: People asked the same question when Johnny Depp played a very flamboyant pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean.

John Sanders: You know when J.K. Rowling mentioned that, for her, Dumbledore is gay? It was important because of the movement and gay rights. It was important for her because of the motivation of the character and why things happened in his life the way that they did.

The motivation for me is not Stache's sexuality in terms of the build. I can't speak for the writer. In terms of me being the interpreter I'm more interested in what is happening in the moment. In the moment I find it more useful to be open to everything.

WCT: How many times do you say "Oh, my God" when he loses the hand?

John Sanders: [Laughs] Sometimes the sound guys time me because they find that's funny. They let me know if I have hit a record or not.

The fun part of that bit is having a conversation with the audience. It is like an existential scream of what has happened to me. I have lost an appendage!

WCT: It's the process of your character wrapping his mind around losing a hand then.

John Sanders: Yes, we all have a primal scream inside of us. It is freaking great to let it out! It is really daunting and mountain to climb every night.

WCT: It must be like a roller coaster that you can't get off each night.

John Sanders: You can't. You are paid to ride the whole thing!

WCT: Did you improv with this bit much?

John Sanders: There are only two areas where we have the freedom to say something different than the script. One of them is that and the other one is when the hand gets bandied about. Sometimes it goes offstage! We have to deal with that situation.

The hand bit was originally developed to have a lot to it. I was around on Broadway when it was being developed so I have never been coached through it. It is an opportunity to have a conversation with the audience about this crazy weird thing that happened.

WCT: It is like your solo act.

John Sanders: It is. It's interesting that this show and Once the Musical came out at the same time. They are both very Chicago style shows. Once is a musical that plays like a play and Peter is a play that plays like a musical.

Peter and the Starcatcher flies now through April 13 at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St. For showtimes and tickets, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or call 800-775-2000.


This article shared 2781 times since Tue Apr 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight 2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...


Gay News

REVIEWS: Movies of Reeling 2021 2021-09-22
- Reeling: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will take place Friday, Sept. 23-Thursday, Oct. 7. After a virtual edition in 2020, Reeling returns with in-person screenings this year, kicking off with the Estonian romantic drama ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Shang-Chi' actor in anti-gay controversy 2021-09-20
- Actor Simu Liu—the star of the latest Marvel action movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—is embroiled in controversy over alleged Reddit comments he made about how pedophilia is "no different from being gay," ...


Gay News

FILM REVIEW Chastain mesmerizes in 'Tammy Faye,' but bio offers few surprises 2021-09-20
- Televangelists featured in some of the of the most spectacular falls from grace in the '80s. Television preachers who'd spent the better part of the '70s and the '80s insinuating themselves into pocketbooks, not to mention ...


Gay News

8th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival on Nov. 5-7 2021-09-17
- The 8th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival (BAFF) will take place Nov. 5-7 at the University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. One of the longest running Black ...


Gay News

Brittany Devon meets a 'Platonic Girlfriend' 2021-09-15
- Queer, genderfluid actor Brittany Devon has created a brand new project to explore with Platonic Girlfriend. It is the story of a relationship between straight woman Alice and a queer, nonbinary person named Dev. Devon stars ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...


Gay News

MOVES Talking about 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' 2021-09-08
- The new movie Everybody's Talking About Jamie tells the inspiring story of Jamie New, a young drag artist who overcomes hardship and homophobia in Sheffield, England. Out actor Max Harwood stars as New, who gets by ...


Gay News

Survivor shares the story of trauma and thriving in 'Untold' 2021-09-07
- WARNING: This article contains material of a graphic nature. Gina M. Garcia is finally sharing her story of thriving after trauma in her new docu-drama biography, Untold: This is My Story, which premieres Sept. 6 at ...


Gay News

MOVIES Fall films harvest famous names for LGBTQ+ stories 2021-09-01
- The film industry is featuring world-renowned names like Lady Gaga, Truman Capote and Tammy Faye on the big screen this fall season. Award-winning musicals, true-life stories and far-out fiction are all part of the fun in ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'On Broadway' to open Sept. 10 in Highland Park 2021-09-01
- As theatergoers prepare for the return of Broadway after an unprecedented absence of 18 months, Kino Lorber is releasing Academy Award nominee Oren Jacoby's documentary On Broadway. The tribute to one of the most vibrant ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, 'Death Drop,' Brandi Carlile, vintage films, Gaga 2021-08-29
- Billy Porter will direct a queer teen comedy feature titled To Be Real for Amazon Studios, which is being helmed by Gabrielle Union's I'll Have Another Productions, NME.com noted. Porter, who is currently working on his ...


Gay News

EVENTS Celebrity attendees named for Wizard World Chicago 2021-08-28
- William Shatner (Star Trek; TV's Boston Legal), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, TV's The Walking Dead), Matthew Lewis (All Creatures Great and Small), James Marsters (TV series Buffy the ...


Gay News

TV Netflix animated series 'Chicago Party Aunt' debuts Sept. 17 2021-08-27
- The LGBTQ-inclusive series Chicago Party Aunt will debut on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 17. Inspired by the popular Twitter account Chicago Party Aunt, this eight-episode adult animated comedy follows Diane Dunbrowski and nephew Daniel as they ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.