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Broadway Q&A: Christopher Sieber of 'The Prom'

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |

This hilarious musical, starring priceless actors like Christopher Sieber, is one date not to miss

Christopher Sieber has a boatload of Broadway credits to his name. The two-time Tony nominee has stared in Matilda The Musical, Pippin, La Cage Aux Folles, Shrek the Musical, Spamalot, Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Into the Woods and more. Currently he stars opposite Brooks Ashmanskas, Beth Leavel, Caitlin Kinnunen, Isabelle McCalla, Michael Potts, Angie Schworer, Courtenay Collins and Josh Lamon in new hit musical The Prom

Sieber plays a struggling actor/waiter who is overly obsessed with his Juilliard pedigree. In the show, he and his fellow Broadway divas head to Indiana to try to put themselves smack in the middle of a controversy involving a small town and their prom. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (Mean Girls, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon) the musical has as much heart as it does hilarity.

Christopher Sieber and the cast of ‘The Prom’ (Photo: Deen van Meer)

Christopher Sieber and the cast of ‘The Prom’ (Photo: Deen van Meer)

When did you first learn about ‘The Prom’? 
Christopher Sieber
: Seven years ago I was walking down 39th Street, right, and I randomly ran into Casey (Nicholaw, The Prom’s director and choreographer). He said, “Oh my god – Hi! I was just going to call you. I have something for you.” I said “Great. What?” He replied, “We don’t know yet.” Two weeks later I got a phone call and found out that they called Angie, Brooks and Beth. They had us sitting at a table with this script, which wasn’t really completely done yet. We read it and they told us later that they wrote it with us in mind.

Trent Oliver is such a wonderful character, and you play him with so much love and humor. How did you discover the key to playing him?  
Christopher Sieber
: For Trent Oliver, I was drawing on a lot of people who I have known throughout my career. I thought of people who are very full of themselves, and won’t shut up about certain things. A portion of my character lives in the past and can’t let go of it. There are people who I know who are like that. So I drew from people I know and just kind of worked with that. 

What was the first Broadway show you ever saw? 
Christopher Sieber
: Remember Speed-the-Plow with Madonna, Joe Mantegna and Ron Silver in 1988? That was my first Broadway show. I saw it at the Royale Theatre, which is now the Jacobs. At the time, I was studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. And then, several years later, I made my Broadway debut in that same theater. The show was Triumph of Love with Betty Buckley, F. Murray Abraham, Susan Egan, Roger Bart, Kevin Chamberlain and Nancy Opel. So several years later, I was performing in that theater. Crazy.

What is your dream role? 
Christopher Sieber
: Harold Hill in Music Man. The part has been offered to me, and every single time I had a conflict. Growing up The Music Man was one of my favorite shows. I listened to that cast recording all the time to the point where I could lip sync it perfectly. It was uncanny and freaky. 

What was some of the best advice you received early in your career? 
Christopher Sieber
: Say “yes” to everything, which I still do. My brain will not let me say “no,” especially because I want to work with some really cool people. Yes, you’ll be exhausted. But so what? Also, don’t be afraid to fail. My teacher Deborah Bendix told me that, and she was right. I always wanted to be good and perfect. But you can’t. No one can. So give yourself a break and let yourself fail. Because you can’t be brilliant unless you fail. She also helped me move to New York from rural Minnesota. I said, “I’m really scared.” And she said, “Well, that’s okay. Be afraid. Always be afraid. Never let fear stop you. Just take the step forward and do it.” Most of the time getting out onstage, I’m terrified. But I just remember that. I always put my foot forward and get onto the stage. And once I’m onstage, all of it disappears.
For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York City in December 2018.

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