Trading algid fronts for apparel and seven-day outlooks for two hour performances, NBC’s Today Appearance basic Al Roker is dispatch abroad from the blooming awning and assimilate the Broadway date for his admission in the hit appearance Waitress, actualization in every appearance through Nov. 11 (with the barring of weekend matinees) as Old Joe, a common chump of the booth area beforehand appearance Jenna serves up her acclaimed pies.
Singing and dancing onstage for the aboriginal time is aloof the latest access in the admired morning TV personality’s all-embracing resume: a 13-time Emmy winner, he’s accounting books, appeared on shows alignment from Seinfeld to 30 Rock, and launched a acknowledged assembly company.
In beforehand of his Oct. 5 debut in the show, Billboard batten to Roker about his preparation.
Al Roker: Broadway star. Has this been a abstruse ambition of yours?
No, no, no. I suppose, maybe in your centermost fantasies if somebody were to beachcomber a wand…in the past, there were alone two altered plays area I thought, “Oh, if I could do that.” I bethink my mother demography me to see Zero Mostel in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Producers. Those two roles — but I would accept never, ever, anytime attempted article like that. So back this came up it was like, “Well, what the heck?” It’s a baby role and it doesn’t accomplish or breach the show. Thank God.
So how did this befalling appear about?
[The Waitress team] accomplished out to my abettor and said they anticipation I’d accomplish a abundant Old Joe. After I got off the antecedent annoyance of somebody cerebration I’d be absolute for a appearance called Old Joe, I was affectionate of flattered. My daughter, who went to LaGuardia High Academy of Performing Arts, is the one who absolutely capital me to booty the role –“Dad, you can do this! It’d be great! You can allocution in pitch, it’d be fine!” Of course, she’s abroad at academy now so she won’t be able to see her ancestor get ashamed every night. But that’s okay.
Old Joe is always blind out in the diner. How did your role basic work?
Well, I assumption I’ve consistently capital to own a restaurant and Joe owns the diner. To be honest, because I don’t sing I’m alive with a abundant articulation coach, Deric Rosenblatt. He’s aloof been terrific. My acquaint accept been absorbing and it’s been fun, affectionate of. I’m accomplishing those articulate contest you consistently see in the movies. In the appearance I do “Take It From an Old Man.” Deric says I’m accepting better, but maybe it’s because he wants to accumulate accepting paid. But I adore the time with him, so if annihilation abroad I’ve met somebody nice.
You’ll be in every show, which usually gets out about 10:00 or 11:00 pm. Then you deathwatch up afore aurora for Today. Are you aloof almost activity to beddy-bye for the aing two months?
I don’t usually go to bed until 10:00, 10:30 p.m. anyway. I may assignment in some naps. I’m aloof activity to comedy it by ear.
Do you usually see a lot of Broadway shows?
I see some. I admired Monty Python’s [Spamalot], Article Rotten!, Book of Mormon. Denzel Washington in Fences was about as acceptable as it gets. Seeing Bryan Cranston as LBJ [ in All the Way] was absolutely amazing. And The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson and Condola Rashad. Abundant Broadway shows can be transformative back you’re sitting there watching them. We were there for the aperture night of Hamilton.
What was that like?
You knew it was article you’d bethink for the blow of your life.
Is there addition appearance you’d like to footfall into on Broadway to chase up your admission in Waitress? Maybe Hamilton?
Oh, yeah. I’d adulation to comedy King George [laughs]. I anticipate that’d be an aggressive bit of casting: a atramentous guy from Brooklyn arena King George. Lin-Manuel, if you’re listening, I’m done with this in November.
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