Stories & Cast Interviews

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meet funny man, Patrick Richwood!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 1:15:00 pm Comments (1)
Patrick Richwood as Boris in CAN-CAN

I was born and raised in Burbank, Ca. I have two sisters; we're each one year apart and I'm the baby. My mother and father were avid theatre lovers who met as actors on the stage in San Francisco in the 50s.
I come from a family filled with actors including Bert Convy, Janel Moloney and Christine Ebersole - all my cousins. Writers too - Mom, who grew up in Hollywood in the 40s, was raised around show business royalty from an early age since my granddad, writer Phil Leslie was the genius behind the iconic radio hit, "Fibber McGee And Molly", which ran for 17 years on the NBC Radio Broadcast. (Grandad also wrote for many greats from Bob Hope to George Burns.) Mom went on to become one of the first woman Television Developement Executives in the business and developed shows at Warner Brothers with some now legendary directors and production companies. My sister Blair has run ahead with that talent and has created the only script development consultancy in the industry - Richwood Script Consultants with a long roster of A-list clients.
Artists too run way back in my family - Dad, a native San Franciscan was a painter who went from doing scenic art at NBC, where he was the creator of such iconic visuals and the psychedelic "Laugh-In" doors and the "Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award - to creating TV art direction for shows such as "The Rockford Files" and "Magnum P.I." Art Direction and Production Designer for films came soon after. Eventually Dad became an Academy Award nominated Art Director for his work on the film "BEACHES" with his long-time mentor, Production Designer Robert Boyle (The Birds, North By Northwest, Fiddler On The Roof and many more.) My sister Laura remains a big inspiration to me with her beautiful work as an extraordinary painter.
Both my parents have influenced my love for the theatre hugely. When we were in our early teens, every year at Christmas we would receive as our big gift, season tickets to the hot Los Angeles theatre that year. I was seeing great performances on the stage from the age of 11, forward. When I saw the great Marcel Marceau (one of the finest masters of comedy timing I have ever seen) performing his World Tour at the Shubert Theater, L.A. in 1974, I was hooked for life. I said - I want to do that!
I had never seen or heard Can-Can until this production (it's so rarely done) but coincidentally, I took my father to Paris last September and we stayed in Mont Martre! In some ways, it really hasn't changed since the 1800s so all the things we're speaking and singing of in the show - I actually know what I'm referring to!
WAY too many favorite shows to list but my dream role is one that would combine all the physical and comedic elements I so love with a story which held some pathos. I have most loved playing people whom we start out laughing at and end up rooting for or moved by. Roles like Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors", Renfield in "Dracula" and Constantin in "The Seagul." Possibly one of the reasons I received the Helen Hayes Award for the role of Ellard Simms in "The Foriegner" was that Ellard begins as someone we laugh at but by the end, we are deeply inspired by him. These are my "wheelhouse" roles.
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" at WBT was a wonderful experience! It was a dream cast, including the now acclaimed directors Kathleen Marshall and Rob Ashford and the silk-voice(and Tony nominated) Rebecca Lukor... not to mention the wonderful Bill McCauley! Rupert Holmes was putting together his favorite pieces of all the previous productions of his amazing show - London, Central Park and the (then just closed) Broadway production - to create what would become the official published version. He was open to my extremely different interpretation on the role of Deputy. With the help of the extraordinary director, Richard Casper and a perfect cast and design team, we created what is now only version of the show. I also got to debut a Rupert Holmes song when he made my character into one of the murder "suspects". That's something I'll always be proud of.
Like my father, I'm a painter and an illustrator and I love creating in that way. I have an art studio in my house and that's where I'm most often found - sometimes into the wee hours - deep in my imagination.
On My Ipod? Dave Mathews, Ella Fitzgerald, Stephane Grappelli, World Music of 2011... and, of course, Cole Porter!
Tid-bits: My after-school playground was the Warner Brothers back lot. While other kids were at football practice, I was riding my bike down neighborhood streets of "Bewitched", "I Dream of Jeanie" and "Leave it to Beaver"... or exploring the endless facades of the of the Old West towns immortalized in countless westerns... or building forts out of the Camelot Castle (later to become the Kung Foo Temple.)
Our house was filled with furniture from movies (my parents would go to the private lot auctions whenever they could) and consequently, I was always sitting up and yelping when a couch or a table or a hall-tree from my home would appear in a movie I was seeing on TV!
Fun-facts: I've created roles in 23 films and some of them have been enormously successful and according to Touchstone Pictures, my work as an actor has been dubbed in 11 languages.
I've performed for 4 presidents, including a command performance at The White House.
I'm most often recognized around the world as Dennis, the Night Elevator Operator in the film, "Pretty Woman."
I'm least often recognized as The White Rabbit, a 75 year-old British bunny, (under 3 hours of prosthetic makeup), on Disney's acclaimed, Emmy Award winning series, "Adventures in Wonderland."