Welcome to InterVIEWS-day TUESday (Say it out loud. It rhymes.)! Each week, we’ll feature a different Araca Project participant answering questions on all the hard-hitting issues, like which Friends character they most resemble. This is Mike. He lives in Chicago, but we like him anyway. And, yes, I totes stole this picture from his Facebook profile like a stalker. Enjoy!
Full name: Michael Girts
What is your involvement in Araca Project 2012?
I am the creator and producer of One Night Only – opening September 11, 2012 in New York City.
Describe your show in one sentence. No semi-colons.
One Night Only is a one-of-a-kind interactive musical improv experience that will blow your mind, touch your heart and change your flippin’ life.
What is your favorite thing about your show (no spoilers!)?
My favorite thing about One Night Only is the opportunity to work with my heroes. I’ve been fortunate enough to round up an amazing team of Chicago’s most talented improvisers and comedians. I am genuinely in awe of these people.
What was the first show you worked on in any capacity?
As a kindergartner, I played the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake in our production of The Elephant’s Child. Well, 9 or 10 of us played the snake. We all said his lines in unison. My grandmother assured me I was the best one.
What is your biggest show catastrophe, on stage or off?
Most of mine are at auditions. I don’t want to talk about it.
What are your top 3 theatre experiences (as an audience member or participant)?
3. The first Broadway show I ever saw was Ragtime. I was 14-years old. I didn’t have much to compare it to, but at the time, it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.
2. My first professional performance for The Second City was Rush Limbaugh! The Musical. That was a special achievement after many years of hard work. It was also my first chance to work for TJ Shanoff, who quickly became one of my favorite people in the business.
1. During one of my first few performances of Infinite Sundaes (created and directed by One Night Only music director Mike Descoteaux), I had one of those magical improv moments. Just hit it out of the park. I couldn’t tell you the punchline or anything about the scene. But I remember the audience’s reaction, and I remember what it felt like. That was the first time it dawned on me that maybe, if I worked hard enough, I could become really good at this.
What was your favorite college restaurant?
This is the easiest question you’ve asked me. The answer is Doc’s Little Gem Diner in Syracuse, NY. It was a stainless steel dining car on the west side of Syracuse that was open 24 hours a day. The food was greasy and cheap and wonderful. The waitresses were old and rude and wonderful. Sadly, it closed in 2010.
What is your earliest memory?
I remember crouching between my dad’s easy chair and the ottoman and popping up, pretending I was Oscar the Grouch. All of the scenes were completely improvised.
What is your internet and/or social media obsession?
You mean besides the Araca Project’s tumblr page? Well, I am way late to this party, but I recently watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for the first time. It’s fantastic. What took me so long?
If you were a Friends character, who would you be?
Whichever one Tom Selleck played.
What was your favorite movie in each decade of your life?
I’ll go backwards. 2010s: The Social Network. 2000s: Memento. 1990s: A Few Good Men. 1980s: Batman. Also, I didn’t realize until this moment that I’m in my fourth decade. Brutal.
What is your favorite Olympic event?
The 4x100 Medley Relay.
Coffee or tea? Diet Mountain Dew.
Mad Men or Breaking Bad? Mad Men.
Mac or PC? Mac.
Manhattan or Brooklyn? Chicago!
Hiking or biking? Hiking