I like to think I’m a pretty savvy interviewer.  I like doing it, I have fun doing it.  All in all, I give myself an A.  However, on the day of my interview with actor Harris Doran – who had come to PGH to star as Mozart in the Public’s production of Amadeus, let’s just say I was very much off my A game.

I get a call around three in the afternoon.  I forget the area code, but it’s not 412 and that has me immediately thinking: sales call.  I roll my eyes and answer.  And this male voice on the other end asks if this is Bethany.  And I’m like, “yeah.  Why?”  And this male voice proceeds to try to say something to me but I’m so unaccountably annoyed that I interrupt him and snottily, snootily say, “Sir, I can’t understand you.  What are you saying?”

“I’m Harris Doran and I have an interview with Bethany at three.  Is this her?”

Silence. My mind goes blank.  My tongue gets really dry.

And I’m like, “Oh.  Uh, sure.  Yeah.  I’ll go get her.”  And then I shout into the empty room, “Bethany.  The phone is for you.”  And then I speak back into the phone, lowering my voice an octave and making it sound so smooth jazz dj’s wished they spoke like me.  And I’m like: “Hello.  Yes, this is Bethany.”

And Harris, gracious, awesome, generous guy he is, does not call me out on my rudeness or schizophrenia.  We proceed with the interview and later that week, I watch him perform the hell out of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Though I am not sure who acted harder…him or myself????



Hi Harris!  Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me today.  I’ve got questions, so if you’ve got answers, let’s begin. 🙂

First, congratulations on the success of Amadeus.  The reviews have been nothing less than complimentary.  The Post-Gazette described you as “deliciously childish” and says you “deftly [handle] Mozart’s turn from ribald comedy to growing despair.”  The City Paper says you were “wonderfully heartfelt.”  Upon hearing such praise, does that silence your inner critic and make you sit back and relax with your performance, or does it just motivate you and inspire you even more to make your Mozart bigger and better?

I think that’s awesome. It is always nice to be acknowledged for your work. I make it a plan for myself to continue to grow over the course of a run. The show and my performance have evolved since the show has open, as one would hope any show would. The nice reviews inspire me to do better and I appreciate them.

I had the great pleasure of seeing Amadeus in its first week of production and am looking forward to seeing it again before it closes.  I personally LOVED the scene during which you were first commissioned by Emperor Joseph to write an Opera.  As this run has progressed into its latter weeks, has much changed from the way you’ve been portraying Mozart?

I would say that it has changed, in that, knowing him better after living with him for more time, he conitinues to be more fleshed out as a three dimentional human being. I think Mozart (the character) is very complex in terms that not only is he an eccentric, but he is always an extremely feeling person who wants to do well and balancing those two things is a tightrope. The play is huge and although, I felt it was very good when we opened, I feel it is even better now.

How is it working with Tony [Abatemarco – the actor portraying Salieri, Mozart’s nemises in the play]?  Do you two get along pretty well on-set, or is it all a bit Daniel Day-Lewis and you’re very method with each other? 🙂

Tony is a supurb guy and we get on like wildfire. I feel grateful to be working with him every performance.

PPT is known for its professionalism and its top-tier talent, plus its bold creative choices.  You are an actor, writer and singer who’s made some pretty bold and creative career chioces as well.  How has the collaboration been between you and the theatre, specifically Ted Pappas, who once swore that he’d never direct Amadeus until he found the perfect Mozart? 

I feel really grateful for the opportunities that I am being given by the Public and Ted Pappas. I feel very lucky to be able to work on these great characters in great pieces at such a high caliber. I feel that I’ve been given the chance to grow and learn and develop as an artist and for that I feel truly grateful. The Public makes every effort to give their audiences the highly quality shows — physical production and performances — and it is a thrill to be a part of. Not to mention,Pittsburghhas incredible audiences, so it is a real pleasure to perform every night.

Unfortunately, you’ll be packing your bags soon as Amadeus is finishing up.  What’s next?  Where can we see you?

Next for me is finishing writing the musical I’ve been working on. My collaborator and I are getting very close to having a finished draft and we hope to do our first reading in the Spring.

And finally, just for fun, if you could ask Mozart any question in the world, what would you ask him?

I would say, “Hey, Wolfie, How’d you do it?”

Thanks again, Harris.  I congratulate you again on a performance well done and wish you nothing but the best as you move forward to your next venture. 

Oh, by the way, I’ve gotten several emails in regards to your picture I posted on the LUX blog.  People are wondering if you’re really a cowboy and if that’s really your car?? 🙂

I like to think I’m a cowboy, but unfortunately, that’s not my car 🙁