If you haven't seen Max Hartman onstage in Dallas, then you've probably at least heard him. He's the voice of Domino's Pizza and the audio guide at the Dallas Museum of Art, and also performs around town with his band, Mur (perhaps you caught them as part of AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project back in March?).
But if you're still itching to see him onstage in a dramatic role, Hartman is one of the stars of Kitchen Dog Theater's production of Ironbound, by Martyna Majok. Before the show opens on October 26 (it runs through November 12 at KDT's temporary home, the Trinity River Arts Center), Hartman took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.
Name: Max Hartman
Role in Ironbound: Tommy
Previous work in the DFW area: 25 productions with Kitchen Dog Theater, most recently last season's Trevor and A Stain Upon the Silence: Beckett's Bequest. Other KDT favorites: The Arsonists, Wilde/Earnest, RX, Barbecue Apocalypse, Race, In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play, Becky Shaw, and Betrayal. Elsewhere: Penelope at Undermain Theatre, Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Dallas, Othello at Second Thought Theatre, and several readings for the Arts & Letters Live Texas Bound series at the DMA. Also served as music composer for Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Winter's Tale, and Twelfth Night for Shakespeare Dallas, and 26 Miles at Kitchen Dog Theater.
Where you currently reside: Little Forrest Hills
First theater role: Reporter #2 in my fifth-grade Christmas play.
First stage show you ever saw: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Lake Highlands United Methodist Church.
Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: Maybe during like the sixth time in a row I went to watch my older sisters in Guys and Dolls at Lake Highlands United Methodist Church when I was 10.
Most challenging role you’ve played: Playing Trevor, the out-of-shape, roller skating chimpanzee in Trevor, was simultaneously the most challenging and the most I've ever been typecast.
Special skills: I'm pretty good on several musical instruments, like guitar, drums, and bass, and am fake-good on piano and saxophone. I can also do a mean Sinatra impression.
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Overthinking. Or would that be something I'm actually REALLY good at? Or maybe I could say "not overthinking"?
Current pop culture obsession: Our Reality-Game-Show-Host-Train-Wreck-in-Chief
Last book you read: Been a minute ... Blink by Malcolm Gladwell?
Favorite movie(s): Impossible to boil down, so I'll go with ... Shawshank Star Wars at Ridgemont High.
Favorite musician(s): Even harder to boil down so ... Miles Davis, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd.
Favorite song: "All of Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis
Dream role: Sweeney Todd
Favorite play(s): Who's Afraid of Virginia Waiting for Godot?
Favorite musical(s): West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Guys and Dolls, Les Miserables
Favorite actors/actresses: Not a fan of actors, weirdly, but I'd put Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Dallas' own (and Kitchen Dog founder) Sally Nystuen Vahle in the best-all-time category.
Favorite food: Bacon
Must-see TV show(s): Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Colbert Report
Something most people don’t know about you: I voice part of the audio tour at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Place in the world you’d most like to visit: New York City, to work on anything.
Pre-show warm-up: Some stretching, vocal exercises, mild calisthenics, coffee.
Favorite part about your current role: His Jersey dialect and gold chain.
Most challenging part about your current project: Not letting the accent and gold chain take over the role.
Most embarrassing onstage mishap: Went completely blank on song lyrics while the pianist tried to whisper them to me as she endlessly vamped the intro during a dinner theater matinee of The Apple Tree. I can still hear the spoons clinking in their deserts as I pretended to ponder life like an idiot for what seemed like four hours.
Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: Teacher or a TV show-style private detective.
Favorite post-show spot: The Lakewood Landing
Favorite thing about Dallas-Forth Worth: Kind of a favorite and least favorite rolled into one here. The well-meaning Dallas folks who tout their pride for our Dallas Arts District while attending mostly national touring shows. Many are missing out on my favorite part of Dallas-Fort Worth: the local theater artists and actors. Our small theater scene in Dallas rivals any in the country. Many simply have no idea what they're missing.
Most memorable theater moment: Accidentally blurting out "What the f***?" from the audience during the final moment of The Danube at Kitchen Dog Theater in 2003.