Yeah, it's strange to do these interviews because we have a younger audience and it's giving them the story over and over and letting them know there's life after where they are now. But then this will get linked from BroadwayWorld.com, and then it will all be snark, like, "Oh, gee, an actor on Broadway who's gay?!"
So, I don't think there's any way to please both of those constituencies. But it's kind of like, I didn't write it for you, you linked to me. I'm sure Avenue Q has a core group of diehard people who will crosspost this around.
Oh yeah, we've got repeat offenders once a week, people who keep coming back and back.
Yeah, I only ever did that with Rent, and not that often. But my old job used to have a shuttle service, and it used to drop me off directly across the street from where Rent was playing, ten minutes before the lottery.
So, it was kind of like… Hmm, am I doing anything tonight? Actually, I'm planning to hit the lottery tomorrow for Jersey Boys, check that out finally.
I'm so behind at seeing shows. I've never even seen Rent, isn't that terrible? I've never gone, and we have the same producers, too. So, I have no excuse.
Well, if you doing that crazy weekend schedule, you should have one night off to see shows.
It's silly. We have Wednesday nights off, because we're probably one of three shows that have a Monday night show. Monday night is traditionally the off night.
So, your schedule allows you to go see other shows…
Yeah, I could go on Wednesdays.
You just prefer to hibernate that night.
Honestly. Spending all the time in the theater all week, and Times Square, I'd rather nap.
Yeah, I'm planning to move to New York in a few months.
Well, that aside, I love it here.
My adjustment is New York for me has always been a burst of crazy activity and then driving back home the same night. So, I'm there for a day, seeing two shows, have a dinner reservation in between, go to a club briefly after the night show, and drive home. So, it will be a weird adjustment to get to "I live here now. I don't have to go out tonight." At first, I'm sure it will be a bit of 'kid in the candy store.'
It's going to be overwhelming and you're not going to know what to do with yourself. And when I moved here, I lived a block away from Times Square. That was a big mistake, because I never felt I got out of the craziness. Now, I'm on the Upper East Side, so I can kind of leave that behind. I live up here with all the old people, so it's nice and quiet.
Yeah, I'm mainly familiar with the Village, Chelsea, and Hell's Kitchen more than any other neighborhoods. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. So, if you have such a crazy schedule, what kind of life do you have outside of Princeton and Rod?
A lot of rest. Every once in a while, a benefit will pop up that I'll go do something for, make an appearance. But I try to spend a lot of time by myself, just chilling and writing and I got a dog five months ago, so he calms me down. It's really good to step outside of showbiz.
Are you pretty close to the park?
Yeah, a couple of blocks away, so that's nice for the dog.
After Avenue Q, would you like to follow a trajectory as mainly a singer, an actor, joining a band, doing cabaret?
Well, I knew that singing was my strongest point. I got into Carnegie Mellon for vocal performance in the music department. I knew for a very long time that the goal was Broadway for me. No one could tell me otherwise. That's what I wanted to do. So, I got into CMU in the voice department, and in about my second year there, I made a half-transition into the drama department, so I could have acting classes. So theater, acting and singing, is where I'm going to stay. I don't have any desire to move to L.A. to do movies or anything. There's nothing more thrilling than standing in front of an audience. It's just an amazing, amazing feeling.
A lot of people on the site mention they want to go into writing or performing, and it seems like everyone's advice is: start! If you want to get into acting, you should be auditioning. If you want to write, launch Microsoft Word.
Right, do it! It doesn't help to wait, just jump in and do it.
Do you have any advice for gay youth in general?
If they're interested in getting into performance or whatever, he best thing I could say is don't let anybody ever tell you you can't do something. You should always do what you want to do. Do what you love. I mean, if I would have stopped … I don't know how many people have told me in my past, "You're not going to get anywhere with this." Even my high school guidance counselor was like, "You're really going to be an actor?" And I said, "Yeah, and if you're not going to help me with it, then OK, I'll just figure out something else, another way to get there without your help." So keep going, just don't stop. There's no reason to stop if you love it.
And have you called your guidance counselor since then?
I should send him a Playbill! "Thanks for the advice."
Because you grew up outside of Pittsburgh, and wasn't it on a farm?
Yeah, out on a farm. It wasn't the thing to do.
You weren't one of the Barrymores out there.
Right, it was, 'do you work in the local factory, teach at the high school, or farm?' And I was… No, I'm going to go sing Pippin! (laughs)
Cool, I think we worked the whole Pennsylvania connection for this interview. We got the Pittsburgh area actor, going through the Berwick area publicist, for the Wilkes-Barre area writer…
(laughs) That's everything!
(Professional pictures of Howie with both Rod and Princeton, by Nick Reuchel)
Still not enough Howie for you? Well, while I had him on the phone, I asked him five questions for Hunk Du Jour, so you can check those out, as well. Not the kind of stuff we usually cover on Oasis...