John Preator is the Irrisistable Gaylord Ravenal Aboard the Show Boat!
John Preator with Katie Grgecic (as young Kim) In Show Boat
I was born and raised in Provo, UT. I am the second youngest of 6 kids. Being from Utah, we were a very outdoorsy family. We did a lot of camping, fishing, skiing, hiking etc. I've always had a passion for music. I started taking piano lessons when I was 7. In addition to concerts and competitions growing up, I've played for auditions, in the pit for shows, and just love playing for friends and family to sing around the piano at home. I have a major sweet tooth, so I also learned how to bake cakes and cookies at a young age so that I'd always have them around to snack on. I also love to travel. Growing up, we didn't vacation much further than places we could drive to in Utah. Occasionally we'd get out to Yellowstone National Park, and a few times even as far as Disneyland or the Oregon Coast. In more recent years, I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to see a lot more of the world.
The story goes that when I was 3 years old, my Mother was doing costumes for a production of H.M.S. Pinafore that my older brother and sister were in. She would take me to rehearsal with her and claims that by opening night, I could sing most of the score by heart. I'm guessing there's a little exaggeration there for the sake of a good story, but I do remember being very entranced by the show. (And what more catchy songs to latch on to than those in a Gilbert & Sullivan score?) I got my first shot at being onstage myself when I was in the 5th grade. My elementary school decided to produce their first ever full-scale musical. They chose Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" and I was very excited to be cast as the prince. I mostly remember having to wear my first pair of tights, and that Cinderella was about 4 inches taller than I was. From then on, I pretty much knew I wanted to be on the stage as much as possible. I also couldn't get enough of all the old Hollywood movie musicals, and have always loved Gene Kelly, Julie Andrews, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. When I first started to sing, I wanted to sound just like Howard Keel and Harve Presnell. I've watched My Fair Lady more times than I could ever count. I got to play Henry Higgins in High School which was a big moment for me. I can still recite the whole show from start to finish.
I remember very well the first time I ever saw the 1951 MGM version of Show Boat. I must've been 5 or 6. My parents had rented it from the video store. My sister and I had been giggling and clowning around as the opening scenes were playing, as we liked to do. By the time William Warfield began to sing "Old Man River", my dad yelled at us to be quiet because that song was the whole reason they'd rented the movie and he wanted to hear it! I've seen it many more times in the years that followed. It has always been a favorite, which is why it's so thrilling to be part of now.
Stage Musicals being made into movie/tv musicals? Obviously I'm in favor of it, being such a fan of the classics movie musicals myself, as I've mentioned. It provides a way, especially for children at home, to have exposure to these beautiful pieces of art that they might not get to see otherwise. I think that's so important in order to keep musicals alive. Although, I do think it is very difficult to do. The stage and the screen are such different mediums, and I think some shows have transferred far better than others, but I'll leave it at that...
This will be my first show at WBT! I've wanted to work here for quite some time, and I'm very happy to finally have the chance. So far it's been a wonderful experience, and I'm looking forward to a great ride.
My favorite show has always been My Fair Lady. There's just something about the combination of Shaw's incredible script combined with that lush Lerner and Lowe score that I can't get enough of. The first show I ever saw on Broadway at 17 years old was Miss Saigon. It was life changing, and I'd love to be a part of it someday. Another is Phantom of the Opera. I think Webber's score is just glorious. Playing the Phantom one day would be a dream-come-true for sure. I was able to do a small community production of She Loves Me once in college. It's a darling show that doesn't get done enough, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm glad that it's being produced at Roundabout this season. And Show Boat! Playing Ravenal is definitely a role off the dream list.
I love movies. I'm a complete movie fanatic. I could watch movies all day, and sometimes do. I'm fascinated by stories, by the human condition. It's why I'm an actor! I also enjoy being outdoors. I love fishing and take any opportunity I can to do it. This year for my birthday I took a trip to Alaska with two of my brothers to do some salmon fishing which was just incredible. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken. I just love to be with family and friends. I'm pretty content to do anything as long as they're around.
My Ipod? Oh, it's a giant mess. I have very eclectic taste in music, so you'll find everything from top 40 to broadway, R&B to 80's-90's rock and even some opera. Oddly enough, being from Utah, I'm not much of a country fan, however. And I'm not a fan at all of heavy metal or techno. I have to have a melody and words to sing along to. I'm the annoying guy at the gym who's singing along with whatever I'm listening to. If you hear a guy singing Mambo Italiano while doing bench presses, that's probably me.