Stories & Cast Interviews

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Duke Lafoon..aka George Bailey!

Posted by: wbtpress on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 2:40:00 pm Comments (0)

George Bailey is a stand up guy..and Duke is the perfect actor to portray him! Learn more....

 I'm from Richmond, Virginia. (I was very surprised to learn on the first day of rehearsal that Juli Robbins who plays Mary Hatch is also from Richmond. After comparing notes we realized that although we had never met we know all the same people. All small world for sure) I'm the youngest of five kids. It was a really great way to grow up. Lot of love, lot of fights (4 boys and one girl... don't worry she was safe. very well protected by my father), and two incredibly supportive parents. There is absolutely nothing I would change.

I spent my childhood in a fantasy world. Either I had a towel safety pinned around my neck pretending to be Batman or I was climbing a tree with one of my dad’s screwdrivers in my belt pretending I was Tarzan. I don't know how unusual this is but I simply never grew out of it. I think my first role was as a Christmas elf in a school play. At 14 I worked at my first professional theatre and that’s all she wrote. As for mentors,  I have been very lucky. A couple that stick out are my friends, Tom Width, who directed me many times in Richmond and Randy Strawderman, who I first met as a teacher and later directed me as well. They both believed in me which was invaluable. And Mom and Dad taught me over and over that you will have more success in life doing what you love rather than what is expected. 

Favorite Shows? This is a tough one. So many...Sweeney Todd was a biggie, Into the Woods, Floyd Collins....and the plays! Oh boy, I really could go all day. As for dream roles,  I think every actor wants the chance to create something new....To be involved in the storytelling from the very beginning. I've had a few opportunities to do this and there is nothing more exciting. I'm just hoping for more.

 I love this movie. Always have. Always have loved James Stuart. It’s really a pretty perfect film. I knew nothing of the musical until I auditioned for it at Theatre Virginia. I was blown away when I landed the part. A dream role to be sure!   It was really great working with Richard Stafford. He has a clear vision and knew just what he wanted. It has been a few years since I last did this and I think I come into it a little wiser. I think I understand a little better what’s at stake for George Bailey. And I was very happy to discover that much of this show hadn't left me. That certainly made my job a little easier. 

 My wife Janet and I don't yet have kids but we do have 14 nieces and Nephews. All in VA.  All different ages. Some of the youngest haven't seen me on stage and the older ones might be a little bored with it. But lately they have had fun with an American Express commercial I currently have running. Uncle Duke’s on TV! Now that's something. You know you've made it! 

 I love to read most anything. I love movies. Janet and I are currently going thru the AFI top hundred movies to see anything we missed. I like to play tennis when I can. Not the easiest thing to schedule in Manhattan. And because I'm away from home more than I like, I try to spend as much time as I can with Janet.   What's on my I pod?  I'm kind of a talk radio junkie. Radio Lab on NPR is my current favorite. I have few of their pod casts on there.  Many of the songs are ones I need to learn for auditions, etc. And music that makes me smile and relax. There's a ton really.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Darin is an Angel!

Posted by: wbtpress on Monday, December 1, 2008 at 5:51:00 pm Comments (0)

 Darin Depaul  is Clarence in A Wonderful Life... typecast?  Read on...

  I was born and raised in Palm Beach, Florida.  It was a truly wonderful childhood.  We would either summer in the Hamptons or go to Europe.  My father was a men's clothing designer with several shops on Worth Avenue.  My parents really gave us so much.  My sister and I were quite spoiled.  But my parents loved doing it - so is that spoiled?  We really appreciated it and the experiences made us who we are and taught us to embrace different cultures and ways of thinking.
My Parents were always taking us to shows on Broadway when we visited New York.  And because of my father's work, he knew many celebrities and artists of the day.  He would have them over and I was always taken with them and how they thought.  Just really fascinating and varied people - like Jose Ferrer, Liberace, Gunther Gebel-Williams from Ringling Brothers.
I did a year long apprenticeship at the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre and Mr. Reynolds, Charles Nelson Reilly and Sally Field were very inspirational.  Then in 1993 I saw Bill Irwin and David Shiner do "Fool Moon" on Broadway followed by my first experience with Cirque Du Soliel and I was hooked on that style of clowning.  I was even lucky enough to study with Mr. Shiner.  When I think of the style of performing that I love - I think about all that Mr. Shiner taught me.  There's a lot of that in how I looked at doing this role in "A Wonderful Life".   
I saw  the film once with my wife and it is pretty darn near perfect.  Exquisite Capra story-telling.  I know it's on every holiday season, but I tend to watch Cirque Du Soliel marathons and BBC America.  I didn't watch the film before doing this show because the two styles are so different and you start thinking "Hey, why did they leave out that part" and things like that.  The musical version is truly it's own animal.  
I really love innovative theatre.  Last year my wife and I went to Stratford-on-Avon and we saw Ian McKellan in "King Lear" and the most amazing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" ever.  Tim Supple visionary production in seven Indian languages and English.  Just visually and emotionally stunning.  On that trip we also saw "The 39 Steps" which is now on Broadway and a production of "A Matter of Life and Death" at the National.  Just brilliant.  Those are what I like to see.  "Cats" and "42nd Street" ... not so much.                       All the characters I play are unusual.  Heck, I was Grandpa Who in the "Grinch".  I could never do what Duke Lafoon does in our production.  He is so brilliant and natural and HUMAN.  I'm this odd little clown from Weirdsville.  But put us together and that's where the fun starts.  To me it's fascinating to put these two fundamently different styles together onstage and watch them meld.  I love every moment I get with Duke.
No children in family.  But last year doing "Grinch" on Broadway was such a great experience.  Working with the young performers and meeting children after the show.  For some reason they do take to me.  I guess I'm just a big Muppet. 

I have been doing a lot of voice-overs.  Performing, writing and directing.  That is my passion.  I love the freedom of the voice-over booth.  You can be anything! 
My I Pod Currently  has  everything by the Celtic Band Gaelic Storm, lots of Cirque Du Soliel music and British radio comedies like Mitchell & Webb and "Chis Addison's Civilization".  I may be the only person in the world who works out to the Dickens' parody "Bleak Expectations".

Heavenly & Wonderful!!

Posted by: wbtpress on Monday, December 1, 2008 at 5:06:00 pm Comments (0)


Darin De Paul (as Clarence) & Angels ( Kendall Kelly, Michael Scibilia, Ronnie Nelson and Julia Cardia ) perform "WINGS".