Gary Lamb - Company Member of Parson's Nose Theater
Gary joined Parson's Nose Theater in this season's production of The Mi$er and reading of As You Like It. Gary is Co-Artistic Director of Crown City Theatre Company where he was seen as Scrooge in the new musical A Chicago Christmas Carol, as Simon Cohn in A Prayer for My Daughter, and the multi-award winning musical Assassins. Prior to that he was seen in Sleeping Beauty directed by Art Menke at the MainStreet Theatre. He recently played Feste in Twelfth Night, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and a lead in The Complete Works...Abridged in Florida. Gary's recent television credits include the pilot Drama: A Comedy and Mob Boss Associate. Gary co-authored/adapted the musical I'm Just Wild About Harry and penned the lyrics for A Chicago Christmas Carol. Q: Where are you from? What was your family like? A: I was born in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of 3 (two older sisters). We were lower-middle class until I was about 12 years old when my father finally started to grow his business. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and some of my finest memories are watching "Creature Features" horror movies on Saturday nights with her. My father didn't show his emotions all that much, but he was a very emotional man. The day I was going off to college he ran through the house looking for something to give me and came downstairs with a pair of gym shoes he had worn once or twice and gave them to me. It was such a strong gesture it almost brought tears to my eyes. I'm sure he gave me some money too, but the shoes were his way of saying I love you. The look in his eyes was priceless when he handed them to me.
Q: When did you begin acting and how did you get into it? What was your first role? A: My 7th grade drama-teacher asked me to try out for the school assembly on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I got the role of a hermit. After that I worked with the Children's Theater of Evanston which at the time, was the the oldest Children's Theater in America. I usually played villains because of my dark, swarthy look. My Sophomore year of high school, I played a small role of an epileptic in a mental ward and after doing that show I decided that I would be an actor, so I gave up my promising soccer career and moved full speed ahead.
Q: What are your favorite roles you've had a pleasure of playing and why? A: I would have to say Sean de Cahn in A Prayer for My Daughter and both Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and Iago in Othello were up there as well. Sean because he was such an interesting character and had a 7-minute monologue that took me places I had never gone before. Benedick, well, it's Benedick, simple, headstrong, buffoonish at times and yet a lover. And, Iago, because like every great villain he has so many reasons for doing what he did that it's hard as an actor for you not to think the audience should see him as a hero.
Q: When you're not performing, how do you like to spend your time? If you weren't an actor, what other profession would you have liked to explore? A: I love to write songs. One year I gave up acting and I ended up writing, drawing and painting. Honestly, I realized I was a much better actor than a painter.
Q: Share a story about "the joys of live theater". Either something ridiculous that happened during a show you were in, something you saw in another production, or any other anecdote about things that can only happen in live theater. A: One night while playing Scrooge in a musical version of "A Chicago Christmas Carol", the theater lost power right after the 2nd act began. We ended up holding electric candles in front of our faces while 2 or 3 audience members held up their cell phones on flashlight mode and the stage manager held a flashlight for the pianist. We got through the whole show and the audience had the time of their lives and an experience they will never forget.
Q: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you personally during a performance? A: Probably having my mustache fall half way off during a production of The Elephant Man and having to hold it with one finger in place and trying to make that look casual. However, a frightening moment was when I was on stage and another actor was fumbling for the lines in this great monologue he had and there was nothing I could do to help. I felt awful for him, only to find out when we went back at intermission that the reason he was fumbling all over was because I had 2 very similar lines and said the second one first which forced us to skip over a page and a half of the script that included this very important and touching monologue of his and he had somehow been able to get us back to it...so it was my fault. I had no idea until someone told me. I never made that mistake again.
Q: What have you been working on lately? Where can we see you now? A: I was just a lead detective on an episode of "Unusual Suspects" on Investigation Discovery Channel. Also, Mark Duggar and I are trying to create a series based on our ridiculous conversations (or at least get our own radio show) and to that end we are filming some of the short scripts we've written with a group of talented filmmakers. My own theater company I started almost 20 years ago just did a hit production of "Company" and is now running a world premiere play called "Night Hawks".