Paul C. Vogt will again mount the boards of the first Los Angeles theatre he connected with upon his arrival to L.A. in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, beginning November 15, 2017. Just this year, The Falcon Theatre was re-christened The Garry Marshall Theatre, in honor of its founder. Some of the shows Paul performed at The Falcon include: LAUREL AND HARDY, TWIN-PROV, HAPPY DAYS, THE LITTLE MERMAID, CINDERELLA! Paul waxed most poetically on his many happy days working with Garry Marshall and The Falcon.
Thank you Paul for taking the time for this interview.
This will be your first time performing at the recently renamed The Garry Marshall Theatre. What originally connected you with The Falcon and Garry Marshall?
I saw the theater when I first moved to town in ’99, and knew I wanted to work there. It was close to where I was living and I loved the look and feel of it – very homey, comfortable and welcoming.
I auditioned for BEANSTALK! – one of the Family Series of shows they performed on the weekends. I had no idea Garry was involved, or that the director Kathleen Marshall was Garry’s daughter. I got a call-back for the role of the Giant; but did not get cast. Shortly after that, I was asked to work with a group of friends from Orlando doing a show at The Falcon theater called LAS VEGAS HOSPITAL. A scripted/improvised comedy. I would fill in for a couple of actors when needed. This is when I met Garry and realized where I was. He saw me in that show and we hit it off. The actor that got the part of the Giant in BEANSTALK! had to suddenly leave the show due to a family emergency. Garry and Kathleen asked if I would help them out and accept the role of the Giant. I said, “Yes” on Wednesday, and was in the show on Saturday.
So, Garry was already very familiar with your comedic chops at his theatre when you were cast in his film The Princess Dairies 2: Royal Engagement in 2004.
When Garry asked me to do Princess Diaries 2, we had done a couple of family shows at the theater including the first try at HAPPY DAYS: “AAAY!” IT’S A MUSICAL and I was on MADtv by that time – which I attribute to Garry.
What words of advice or encouragement has Garry Marshall given you?
If you try a joke a couple of times, and it doesn’t get a response – stop doing it. It’s not funny. Do something else.
Do you have a funny Garry Marshall memory to share?
In HAPPY DAYS: “AAAY!” IT’S A MUSICAL, I played Jimbo Malachi, one of the bad guys. During our number, there would be moments my character would toss in a little bit of improv. Often before a show, Garry would come up to me and ask me to put random words into my song. Like one night he had me incorporate YoYo Ma the cellist. I sang my song,went into my improv section and sang about YoYo Ma. The audience laughed a bit ’cause it was funny and odd. BUT in the back behind them all, you heard a loud belly laugh that belonged to Garry, who was delighted that, once again, I took on his challenge and ran with it!! We would both giggle like idiots after when we would see each other.
If MADtv were to write a breakdown description of Pseudolus, what character traits would it include?
Large, loud, bossy servant/slave, has passion to acquire his freedom and will do anything to achieve it… ANYTHING!
How would you compare Pseudolus to some of the other characters you’ve inhabited on the boards- HAIRSPRAY!‘s Edna Turnblad, CHICAGO‘s Amos Hart, CHEERS LIVE ON STAGE‘s Norm Peterson?
Oddly enough, each one of these characters has an overwhelming passion that drives their actions:
Psedolous to be free,
Edna to love and take care of her family,
Amos to protect his wife,
Who have you seen perform Pseudolus previously?
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone do the show.
Would you name your favorite Stephen Sondheim song?
That’s a hard one. Sooooo many. Ummmm? Anything from SWEENEY TODD, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, INTO THE WOODS. Also “I Feel Pretty” from WEST SIDE STORY – that song has been very good to me.
I caught your HAIRSPRAY! duet with Michael-Leon Wooley at the Broadway to the Rescue fundraiser. Your Edna to his Wilbur rocked the Montalban Theater audience.
Thanks! It was so fun to do it with him.
How old were you when you realized you were a funny (and talented) guy?
Still trying to figure that out.
I’ve seen you perform in various shows in Los Angeles, At least I thought I had. When I was looking at my old programs, I realized it was your twin brother Peter Allen Vogt that I saw in ROMEO & JULIET: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD, and more recently DOGFIGHT. Was TWIN-PROV in 2008 the first time you two performed together? Or was it a reunion performance of your fraternal talents?
We have worked several times together on TV and a couple movie items. In Orlando for Disney back in ’89, we did improv. We have been doing improv together and in groups for years. TWIN-PROV was our first TWIN IMPROV show with special guests.
Any plans to perform together again?
It always seems to happen.
You wrote your first children’s book Billy Butler and the SnowDog last year. Any theatre projects you’re penning to come in the near future?
Nothing yet. I have an idea for a one-person show chatting about my cancer situation, but it’s still all in my head.
What is your dream role you’d love to take a stab at?
Hard to say… I would love to play Sweeney Todd. I love his passion and drive. I kinda understand him.
Thank you again, Paul! I look forward to see your sure-to-be hysterical Pseudolus!
Thanks! It’s such a fun show to do, amazingly well-written.
For ticket availability to experience what funny things Paul makes happen ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM through December 31, 2017; log onto www.garrymarshalltheatre.org