Veteran actor Bruce Dow has trod the boards from Stratford to Broadway. Despite a CV jammed with credits from theatres seating several thousand, the Toronto-based artist will be turning things down a notch when he launches an intimate monthly cabaret series. Starting with his solo show Something to Say, the monthly event will provide a potential launching pad for the Broadway fixtures of tomorrow; recent theatre school grads will audition to get shots at performing there.
We caught up with Dow to chat about big stages, small stages and whether we can expect an appearance from his Dora Award–winning junk.
The event is called Something to Say. What’s on your mind these days that you want to talk about?
I’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years. Life’s been exciting, rewarding and very difficult. I’ve found some quotes that reflect what I’ve been through and some songs that reflect it even better. There’s something about the cabaret experience that allows one to address one’s own experiences head on while maintaining a level of discretion. I’m going to say some very blunt things. But, at the same time, it’s not my desire to directly address anyone, just my own experience.
Why, at this point in your career, is working in this kind of small, intimate setting interesting to you?
Broadway has changed. There are still many great artists working very hard there, but the experiences I’ve had have felt more like theme-park rides than theatre pieces. I was very lucky to make a name for myself in broad comic roles. I love them and feel no regret. In fact, I feel very blessed for the opportunities I’ve had. However, it wasn’t until I moved back to Toronto and got the chance to work at Buddies that I found myself being seen for an entirely different sort of role. Oddly enough, that’s when the awards started rolling in! We all need to grow and change, to try and fail and flail and dust ourselves off and try again. I grew up on big stages in big shows. Now, I feel I’m growing more than ever in smaller spaces and in a very different kind of life. It’s exhilarating and terrifying.
Buddies audiences will know you best from your work in Of a Monstrous Child and Pig. I suppose people will see a different side of you in Something to Say. Any plans to be naked during the show or engage in sadomasochistic sexual practices?
I never thought I would strut what little junk I have in front of any audience. I wish to assure anyone who saw either of those shows that I’m a grower not a shower. Never had a complaint, but when he’s not angry it looks like I’ve just been for a swim in very cold water. But when push comes to shove, I guess I’m a bit of an exhibitionist at heart, and I do find many ways now in which to indulge my adventurous side. Perhaps my next foray should be into the realm of burlesque or some sort of sexual education experience.
But I’ll be keeping my clothes on for this one. Any nudity will be more of the soul than of the flesh.