Craig Waletzko on stage as Father in Ragtime...
Craig Waletzko (l) as Father with Todd Ritch (as Younger Brother)
I grew up mostly in Northern California, near San Jose. There’s tons of children's and community theatre there. My mom took me to a children's theatre audition for "Alice in Wonderland" in 5th grade. I got cast as King's Horseman #2.
What influenced you to become an actor? Any mentors?
I had seen Singin' in the Rain on TV when I was 7. That hooked me on the musical side. Then in 7th grade I was doing a straight play with this semi-pro theater in my hometown. I got to help one of the character men with his upcoming Julius Caesar audition - the Cassius monologue. ("The fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves...") Language, inflection, rhythm, emotion - HOOKED!!
When did you first hear of RAGTIME ... Have you done the show before?
I first read the book sometime in the 80's, and I remember being surprised by how much sex was in it. When the original production came to Broadway, I wondered how they would translate it for the musical stage. AMAZED at the result. All that adult-oriented material is kept under the surface. It’s still a (mostly) family-friendly show, but for discerning adults there's a LOT more going on than just what is in the dialogue.
I've never done the show myself before, and I’m glad to have the opportunity. (Always excited to play the less-than-lovable characters!)
What are some of your favorite shows? What is your dream role?
Favorite show of all time: Gypsy. I’ve been in five productions (playing everything from newsboy to Tulsa to the back of the cow) including the 1989 Broadway revival with Tyne Daly. The score is amazing, but even if you take away all the songs, the book is so powerful all on its own.
Dream role: Anything that pays well, runs for years, and lets me sleep in my own bed!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not on stage?
I've been married for nearly 24 years to actress/playwright/director Joey Brenneman, and we have two daughters. So offstage life is pretty busy with volleyball practice, college applications, homework help etc. I also work in real estate with the Corcoran Group here in NYC. (Do you know anyone who's buying or selling?)
What's on your iPod?
Surprisingly, not a lot of show tunes. Tons of classic and not-so-classic rock, some NPR Podcasts, and I just bought the Inside Llewin Davis soundtrack.