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May 15, 2014 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-05-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

arts & entertainment

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Danny Gurwin
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40

May 15 • 2014

JN

Elizabeth Applebaum
Special to the Jewish News

D

etroit native Danny Gurwin

will be a guest of the Jewish
Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit's Stephen Gottlieb
Music Series, appearing at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 17, at the Berman Center
for the Performing Arts.
His concert, titled Sail Me Away,
will include selections from the Great
American Songbook, Broadway and folk
hits.
Gurwin, 41 and a graduate of the
University of Michigan's musical theater
program, has appeared in both Broadway
and Off-Broadway productions, includ-
ing A Little Night Music, Urinetown, Little
Women, Forbidden Broadway 2001, The
Scarlet Pimpernel and A New Brain.
Here, we catch up with Danny Gurwin.

JN: Did you love theater and music

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when you were growing up in Detroit?
What was your first big role while you
were here?
DG: It was always in the family. My
mother, Nancy Gurwin, had various
production companies around the city,
and I was always a part of them from
my earliest memories.
I sang in my room 24/7, was in choir
at Southfield-Lathrup High School and
all the vocal competitions. I was also an
original member of the Peanut Butter
Players, along with pals (and fellow
Broadway performers) Sutton Foster,
Erin Dilly, Celia Keenan-Bolger — we
had a lot of fun.
The first show I remember playing
in was as "Little Jake at the age of 6,
opposite my mother's "Annie" in Annie
Get Your Gun. But I did at least five or
six shows downstairs in the JCC's Studio
Theatre growing up.

JN: What do you think are the most

important qualities for a singer/actor
today? Can someone find success
solely based on talent, or does luck
play a part?
DG: The industry today is so differ-
ent even from when I was coming up in
my 20s. Gosh, a clear sense of self and a
tough skin will always be needed, but I
think young musical-theater actors today
have to be incredibly flexible within the
pop genre.
You still need real acting and singing
technique, but stylistically you have to be
able to sing any style, at any time, espe-
cially a true rock/alternative color for

most new works.
I've included some of my favorite
soft-pop and folk pieces in my new JCC
concert on May 17. Ten years ago, I never
would have had a chance to do them.
Luck is tricky. I do believe that every-
thing happens for a reason. And while
you may not book a particular job, the
one you get instead always seems to
lead to the right place.

JN: How do you prepare for your roles?

Do you like to really lose yourself in
the character, and are you able to do so
equally for all the parts you play?
DG: For me, rehearsal is a big time of
investing and transforming. I never really
lose myself totally in any specific Meisner/
Method technique. Some actors love it. I
do try to personalize all of the work I do.
You can create intense emotional connec-
tions to roles and still be able to shake it
all off when the curtain comes down. It
has to be a healthy balance for me.

JN: What's your favorite song to per-

form and why?
I have so many. Having had a chance
to work with Stephen Sondheim three
times, I suppose I'd have to say anything
of his. But I love the standards; several
of the pieces in Sail Me Away are some
of my favorites: "My Romance," "I'm
Old-Fashioned," "When in Rome" —
they're always so fun to do and perfectly
written, to me.

JN: What roles or concerts are coming

up for you?
DG: I just finished up my second year
as assistant professor of musical theater
at the University of Arizona, so that's
been keeping me wonderfully busy.
This summer, I'll be play "Sir
Galahad" in Spamalot at the Moonlight
Amphitheatre, a gorgeous outdoor
space in San Diego, and then a night of
new Broadway music under the stars
at the Ford's Theatre in Los Angeles in
August.



Elizabeth Applebaum is marketing director

at the Jewish Community Center of

Metropolitan Detroit.

Danny Gurwin performs Sail Me

Away, his concert at the Berman

Center for the Performing Arts, at
8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17. $32

JCC members/$42 nonmembers.
(248) 661-1900; theberman.org ; or
available at the box office.

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