Mark McCracken - Company Member of Parson's Nose Theater
Mark greatly enjoyed performing successfully in Mrs. Leary's 1st Grade Assembly, eventually moving on to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY. In Miami he cut his teeth on improv and sketch comedy as Artistic Director of the company Mental Floss. You can see him in television and feature film opposite folks like Greg Kinnear, Jon Hamm, Stanley Tucci, and Mel Gibson. He toured nationally as Fagin in Oliver!. He is an alum of LA's ACME Comedy Theater, and the prestigious LA improv company, Comedy Sportz. Mark has written comedy with SNL luminary, Anne Beatts, and even appeared in a few monster suites, like Pumpkinhead and Daniel, the Bull, in Where the Wild Things Are. He's very grateful to be among the illustrious Parsons Nose players, where he not only experiences incredible talent, but - along with the audience - is happily schooled in classical theater! Q: Where are you from? What was your family like? A: I'm originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. Dad was an old country doctor type - salt of the earth with aspirations of being a writer. Mom was a nurse and a great friend to all. I have an older brother who's the exact opposite of me - no acting chops and is all about working on cars. My sister is younger than me and was a great friend growing up. We're still very close.
Q: When did you begin acting and how did you get into it? What was your first role? A: My first role was in Once Upon a Mattress. It was my first year in High School and a buddy encouraged me to audition. Turns out I got the lead. Now I've been trying to get the lead ever since...
Q: What are your favorite roles you've had a pleasure of playing and why? A: Fagin in the national tour of Oliver! was amazing. Sir Cameron Anthony Mackintosh risked giving me great license to improvise with this plumb role. Plus, our cast and crew were absolute top drawer and many of us are still good friends a decade later.
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 like to spend my time catching up on movies, TV shows or theater. I love helping other creative friends with their projects, such as Lance and Parson's Nose. I read biographies on creative or inspiriting people and can often be found writing, drawing and composing songs. If I hadn't had success with acting, I would have liked to be a producer. Hands down. I think that would be a risky, exciting and potentially very rewarding profession.
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: The first thing that comes to mind was an incident during a show where I was suddenly hit with a bad case of "extreme colonic malfeasance." I was in the middle of a physically demanding fight scene and feared I would not be able to complete the action. Shot by my foe, I lay dead on the stage. As hundreds of eager faces watched my killer finish his monologue, I lay "dead" at his feet, panting heavily, sweating badly and ready to explode. I was certain any second I would ruin the scene, the show and everybody's afternoon. Fortunately, that didn't happen.
Q: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you personally during a performance? A: I was performing as Fagin in Atlanta's beautiful old Fox Theater. We had been on the road many months and settled into our lines, music and choreography. Or so I thought. Suddenly, opening night, as the strains of "Pick A Pocket" are played I go blank. Can't remember a syllable. So I do what Louis Armstrong did decades before when he, too, forgot the lyrics to a song during an early recording session: I scatted. While Mister Armstrong basically established a whole new artistic attack to vocal performance, I sounded like a slurry drunk. I wasn't encouraged either when looking to my conductor for a cue he's in the pit doubled over with laughter. After a verse and chorus my synapses decided they'd had enough fun and Mister Bart's clever lyrics were once again occupying their rightful place in my noggin and glottis.
Q: What have you been working on lately? Where can we see you now? A: I just finished a buddy's screenplay which is going to be produced in Miami. Now I'm writing a show of my own. This fall I appear in perpetuity in an intro film for NASA's new shuttle Atlantis exhibit. And I can be seen several times weekly - that's weekly, not weakly - at Universal's theme park, entertaining the patrons as a silly New York cop. And of course, waiting for my next stint with the ever-popular, ever-reliably entertaining Parson's Nose troupe!