Actor Bruce Dow 2016

In our recent iTunes podcast Bruce told me that he’s a bit scared by the job of hosting the 37th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

“I’m so honored to be asked to do it” he said, but he admitted to being nervous about performing in front of the gathering of extraordinary Toronto talent from the performing arts. “I still look up to them with awe,” he said, adding “I’ll be very happy around midnight when it’s over.”

Earlier in his career Bruce had a much more serious struggle with nerves and confidence.

In our candid conversation, available here on iTunes, Bruce told me that he was anorexic and bulimic for 15 years.

I was trying desperately to besomething I wasn't (2)
“It was not pretty,” he said, recalling a difficult time at the Stratford Festival. “I was binge eating and purging, and I finally went ‘I’m killing myself with this.’

I was trying desperately to be something I wasn’t,” he said.

“I was trying to be the young handsome, leading man, tenor…which I wasn’t bad at,” he said with confidence that has come over time.

During our podcast conversation Bruce spoke openly about the struggles of his past and his path to overcome them.

At his lowest point Bruce, who stands 5’11”, had starved himself down to only 145 pounds. He knew a change was required. After he quit purging and became “a larger, full figured, handsome tenor” his career took off.

His first chance to shine in a featured role came when he was cast as Sancho Panza in Stratford’s 1998 “Man of la Mancha.” It was in this role, working with director Susan Schulman, that Bruce learned to embrace the opportunity of playing a character part.

His personal and professional transformation has led to more avant-garde, challenging work, garnering critical acclaim and recognition from his peers.

In 2013, Bruce won his first Dora Mavor Moore Award as Best Actor, Musical, for his portrayal of pop-fashion icon Leigh Bowery in “Of a Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical,” for which he also received the Toronto Theatre Critics Association Award as Best Actor, Musical.

PigHe won his second Dora Mavor Moore Award, for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Principal Role – Play, in 2014 for his portrayal of Larry/Harry/Garry/Barry in the world premiere of Tim Luscombe’s controversial play, “PIG” for Buddies in Bad Times. 
 

Also in 2014 he appeared in Tarragon’s “Sextet.” Writing in the Toronto Star, Richard Ouzounian noted that Bruce “played every sexual confusion card in the deck brilliantly.”

Bruce Dow, Rebecca Northan, tarragon, sextet, morris panych

Bruce Dow, Rebecca Northan in Sextet

These days Bruce is exploring an existential approach to Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” for the upcoming Toronto Fringe Festival. His interpretation is called “a glass hive, aka the comedy of errors,” click here for showtimes at The Annex Theatre.

He is also writing a musical based on a Tony Award winning play, which is a natural fit for the Toronto based Dow who made his Broadway debut in 2000 as Robert in “Jane Eyre,” and has appeared on Broadway three times since then, most recently as King Herod in the 2012 Tony-nominated revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Check Out Intermission Magazine’s list of all the nominees at the 37th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

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Comedian: Steve Patterson

Best known to hundreds of thousands of comedy fans as the host of CBC Radio’s “The Debaters” there is no debate that Steve Patterson is North America’s funniest and least moderate debate moderator.
As a solo comedian Steve spent two decades touring around the world.

Twice named Canada’s Best Male Stand-Up at the Canadian Comedy Awards, Steve has also taken his award-winning humour to the literary world with “The Book of Letters I Didn’t Know Where to Send.”

In our interview, you’ll discover how growing up in a single-parent family influenced his ability to make people laugh. Steve also shares a story about a high school music teacher in London, Ontario, that influenced his path to making a living as a performer.

SHOW NOTES
Steve’s Website
Steve Patterson on Facebook
The Debaters Live Show On Tour
The Debaters at CBC radio

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Playwright, Actor: Michael Healey

After graduating from Ryerson’s Theatre School, Michael Healey acted in various productions before he wrote “Kicked.” He produced and performed the one-act monologue at the Toronto Fringe Festival and toured with it, subsequently exploring playwrighting further.

Healey’s impressive career trajectory includes writing “The Drawer Boy,” one of the most-produced Canadian plays in North America. He’s also adapted works for the Stratford Festival, North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company.

In our podcast, you’ll hear Healey explain how being a member of the acting company at the Blyth Festival led to the creation of a life-changing play. It was his time at the Blyth Festival, with Miles Potter and others collaborating on the collective creation “The Farm Show,” that inspired Healey to write “The Drawer Boy.” An international success that The Guardian called “a landmark in Canadian theatre.”

It’s hard to believe now, but Healey says he was on the brink of abandoning his career in theatre when he wrote that play. Healey opens up about the depression he felt after graduating from Ryerson and how he managed to overcome it.

Also in this podcast, you’ll learn how Healey works with actors during the rehearsal process, and why he leaves a box of Tic-Tacs on the table at rehearsals.

Healey explains why he sought legal counsel after the Tarragon Theatre cancelled his play about Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, “Proud,” and how grateful he is to playwrights across the country who supported him as he drew from a personal line of credit to mount his own production.

Towards the end of the podcast you’ll hear one of the best-ever audition stories that occurred the Shaw Festival.

SHOW NOTES

Michael Healey on Twitter
Miles Potter on Twitter
Paul Wells at Macleans
John Ibbitson on Twitter
The Stratford Festival
The Shaw Festival
The Blyth Festival
Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman in conversation at the Paley Center – on YouTube.

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