Actor Spotlight

Why this fire-eating Broadway star loves being back in Dallas

Why this fire-eating Broadway star loves being back in Dallas

Brian Gonzales in One Man, Two Guvnors
Brian Gonzales as Francis in One Man, Two Guvnors. Photo by Karen Almond
Actor Brian Gonzales
Brian Gonzales. Photo courtesy of WaterTower Theatre
1776 at Lyric Stage
Gonzales, David Coffee, and the cast of 1776 at Lyric Stage. Photo by Steve Riley
Brian Gonzales in One Man, Two Guvnors
Actor Brian Gonzales
1776 at Lyric Stage

Back in 2012, the UK's National Theatre brought to Broadway a groovy update of the commedia dell'arte play The Servant of Two Masters. Called One Man, Two Guvnors, the laugh-out-loud comedy starred a then-little-known actor named James Corden. Understudying Corden was an actor from Dallas: Brian Gonzales.

In the years since, Corden has gone on to late-night hosting fame and Gonzales has continued his Broadway streak, currently appearing in Disney's Aladdin. But now Gonzales is taking a short break from the Great White Way to return to his hometown. He's starring in WaterTower Theatre's regional premiere of One Man, Two Guvnors, along with his wife, Ashley Puckett Gonzales.

Before the show opens on August 8 (running through August 28), Gonzales took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.

Name: Brian Gonzales

Role in One Man, Two Guvnors: Francis

Previous work in the DFW area: Actor at WaterTower Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Lyric Stage

Hometown: Dallas

Where you currently reside: New York

First theater role: A Christmas Carol

First stage show you ever saw: The Nutcracker

Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: When I saw Jerry Haynes onstage. [Haynes was a Dallas actor who starred for 30 years as the host of one of the longest-running local children's shows on television, Mr. Peppermint.]

Most challenging role you’ve played: Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee.

Special skills: Fire-eating, puppetry

Something you’re REALLY bad at: Soccer, being tall

Current pop culture obsession: Star Trek

Last book you read: Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography by Tom Jones

Favorite movie(s): Night of the Hunter, Patton, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shaft

Favorite musician(s): Lyle Lovett, Michael Kiwanuka, Dolly Parton, Paul Weller, Tina Turner

Favorite song: The theme from Mission: Impossible

Dream role: John Adams in 1776 [Gonzales played the role at Lyric Stage in 2012], Georges Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George [he played the role in 2001 at Plano Repertory Theatre].

Favorite play(s): Equus; One Man, Two Guvors

Favorite musical(s): 1776, Sunday in the Park with George, Ragtime

Favorite actors/actresses: My wife, Roscoe Lee Brown, Dame Judi Dench, Peter O'Toole, Angela Bassett

Favorite food: All of it.

Must-see TV show(s): River on Netflix

Something most people don’t know about you: I'm terrified of water and swimming.

Place in the world you’d most like to visit: New Zealand

Pre-show warm-up: Rolling and stretching, iTunes on the mp3 player.

Favorite part about your current role: The audience interaction.

Most challenging part about your current project: The audience interaction. And the physical comedy.

Most embarrassing onstage mishap: It involved vomit, and we'll leave it at that.

Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: A chef

Favorite post-show spot: Home

Favorite thing about Dallas-Forth Worth: My friends and family are here.

Most memorable theater moment: Going on for James Corden.