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Broadway Q&A: Gideon Glick of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |

Broadway's Dill on Bernadette Peters, ‘Rent’ & his aptly named pup

Gideon Glick plays Dill Harris in To Kill A Mockingbird. Aaron Sorkin’s new play is adapted from Harper Lee’s novel of the same name, and is directed by Bartlett Sher. Currently playing at the Shubert Theatre, the cast includes Jeff Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Will Pullen, Gbenga Akinnagbe, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Frederick Weller, Stark Sands, Dakin Matthews and Erin Wilhelmi. The play has broken records as the highest-grossing American play in Broadway history, and also features Adam Guettel’s guitar and organ music. Glick, who made has Broadway debut in Spring Awakening, has also appeared in Significant Other, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Speech & Debate, Into the Woods, Ocean’s 8, Elementary and The Good Wife

Gideon Glick currently plays Dill Harris in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway (Photos: Matthew Murphy; Julieta Cervantes)

Gideon Glick currently plays Dill Harris in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway (Photos: Matthew Murphy; Julieta Cervantes)

Was there a moment you knew you had to perform? 
Gideon Glick
: I have a couple of moments. I remember when I was really young and playing the piano. I realized, “Oh, I don't want to play piano, because I'd rather sing this song.” Then there was the time when I saw Bernadette Peters in Gypsy. I was so floored by that Sam Mendes production. I knew I wanted to be an actor already, but it reinforced that something could be that good and powerful. I also loved watching Bernadette Peters in Into The Woods and Sunday in the Park with George. I loved seeing this actress just killing it. She is one of my favorites, because her voice is so beautiful and she is a really, really good actress too.

When did you first discover To Kill A Mockingbird
: In seventh grade. To Kill A Mockingbird taught me how to be a critical reader. I learned about theme, metaphor and simile. It was the same year that I read Animal Farm, so it was a pretty transformative year. I'm a big reader now, and it all goes back to that. 

What do you love about Dill? 
: He is an optimist. Dill comes from a pretty fractured background. And yet he sees the best in everybody, and wants people to be the best they can be. He has rose-tinted glasses. That is his coping mechanism. But it's so heartbreaking. You see how he has built himself up, and then you start to see the holes in it. By the second act, he is starting to see life as it actually is, and has lost innocence. That is so beautifully done in the book and in Aaron’s adaptation.

How are you able to so convincingly play a child? 
: It’s a fine line. I think of it as when you’re on the gas. If you push too hard, it will not go well. I’m more concerned with having the spirit of the child come through rather than being a child. As a result, the voice and the physicality comes out of that. It's not anything I tried to be conscious of doing. If you try to make these big choices, you're you are going to push the audience away. 

Can you talk about how you made your Broadway debut in Spring Awakening
: I started doing professional theater in Philadelphia when I was 11. I was auditioning a bit and I got my first big film, (One Last Thing) with Cynthia Nixon, when I was 16. That same year I got a part in a play at Ensemble Studio Theater. The next year, I auditioned and got cast in Spring Awakening.

I moved to New York from Philadelphia my senior year of high school to do Spring Awakening. I did the show Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company. And then we had about three months in between and moved to Broadway.  So my first experience of New York is a completely intertwined with Spring Awakening. I was so young, I didn’t have a real perspective of what was going on, and that the show would become the musical of the year. But it was really exciting. I was working with these people of high caliber, and getting paid to do what I love. All I knew is that I really liked the music, and wanted to sing it all.

What was one of the first shows you saw on Broadway? 
: I was exposed to theater quite early. My mom really loved musicals and Broadway, and so we would go at least once or twice a year. I remember seeing the original cast of Rent, and being floored by it and absolutely too young to see this show. I don't think I really understood the show, but I really liked the music. And I knew I loved what I was seeing.

When you have a day off, what do you love to do? 
: I read, write and spend a lot of time with my dog, Truman Capuppy, and my partner. Right now we're in the process of buying an apartment, so that takes up a lot of our time. I’m also working on a project that I’m going to direct, which is pretty new for me. It's an industry reading of a new musical. I participated in it a couple of times as an actor. And now I'm going to assume direction. I've never done it before, so I'm going with the flow. It has been really fun so far. 

Wait, Truman Capuppy! That is so fitting with you playing a character based on a young Truman Capote. 
: I got my dog before I was ever associated with To Kill a Mockingbird. He has a resting sad face. So we thought, “What is a wonderful literary figure we can name him after?” And so we came up with Truman Capote. Lo and behold, here I am playing young Truman Capote. 

Some people may not know that the character of Dill is based on Harper Lee's childhood friend Truman Capote. 
: Harper Lee and Truman Capote grew up next door to each other in Monroeville. The odds of that are lightning in a bottle. I don't understand how it's possible, but yet it’s true. I believe they promised each other that they would feature the other in each of their first books, and they did.
For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in May 2019.

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