PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Bare's Gerard Canonico

By Matthew Blank
January 1, 2013

Gerard Canonico, who plays the role of Matt in the newly-revised Off-Broadway production of Bare, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



Canonico has appeared on Broadway in Spring Awakening (Moritz), American Idiot (Ensemble), Les Misérables (Gavroche) and A Christmas Carol at MSG (Jonathon).

Other stage work includes The Talls at Second Stage Uptown Theater (Russell), The Prince and the Pauper (The Pauper), Children's Letters to God (Brett), The King and I at Papermill (Louis).



Full given name: Gerard Alexander Canonico
Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born and raised in Central/South area of New Jersey.
Zodiac Sign: Leo (obviously)
What your parents did/do for a living: My parents are both teachers in Hazlet, New Jersey. Mom is a Special Ed Teacher and Dad is an Instrumental Music Teacher.
Siblings: None
Current audition song/monologue: I have many. My go-to is "Honesty" by Billy Joel. I've never really needed a monologue. Any suggestions?
Special skills: I am also a drummer/guitar player/songwriter/skateboarder. Basically everything I've done since high school!
Something you're REALLY bad at: Math
First Broadway show you ever saw: Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theatre
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out? My parents taught me everything I needed to know. My mother's wisdom continues to inspire me and my father taught me everything I needed to know about music. I feel very lucky to have learned from them.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? The original production of West Side Story.
Current or recent shows you recommended to friends: Peter and the Starcatcher all the way.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: Not sure I can choose even a handful. A plethora of songs from Les Miz. I think that score is beautiful. "Bring Him Home," "Who Am I?," "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own" etc.

I also really love Sweeney Todd. "Not While I'm Around" is one of my favorites for sure.

Some favorite modern musicals: I haven't been able to see a lot of new musicals except for the ones I've done. I absolutely love the soundtrack to Once and I've heard nothing but rave reviews. The same goes for Mormon. Two shows I desperately want to see.
Some favorite classic musicals: Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd (as previously mentioned), Company, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Oliver, Jesus Christ Superstar, just to name a few.
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Anyone from the Hitchcock era
Your personal vocal or acting idols, living or dead: Billy Joel, Scott and Seth Avett, James Taylor, Billie Joe Armstrong, the cast of Bare
The one performance — attended — that you will never forget: A performance of August: Osage County. I saw it with my good friend Jenna Ushkowitz. At the end of each act, we clenched each others arms and let out all the air and noise we had been bottling up because of how incredible the play was.

The ensemble performing it was breathtaking. I'll never forget it. Also I still remember snippets of seeing Beauty and the Beast with my parents and being AMAZED by it at age 5.

Music that makes you cry, any genre: Dan Fogelberg, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor. I like sad music so the list can go on and on...
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: "The Ghost of St. Valentine" by Bayside
Most-visited websites: Twitter, Ultimate-Guitar, YouTube, Hulu
Favorite Tweeters: Alex Wyse
Last book you read: "The Dirt." It's the biography of Mötley Crüe. It is mind blowing.
Must-see TV show(s): "Six Feet Under," "Dexter," "American Horror Story," "Breaking Bad" AND... "All The Right Moves"
Last good movie you saw: "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" (I always loved the book.)
Some films you consider classics: Anything Hitchcock, "West Side Story," "The Godfather," "Rain Man," "Silence of The Lambs," "Forrest Gump," "Schindler's List," "Amadeus," "Goodfellas"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Billy Joel
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Jersey Shore"
Three favorite cities: New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C. Couldn't name just three.
Favorite sport/team/player: Football/The New York Giants/Victor Cruz
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: "Dookie" CD by Green Day
First stage kiss: I was playing Hanschen opposite Gideon Glick as Ernst in Spring Awakening and we had to kiss in one of the scenes. As a straight man, I think it's pretty awesome that my first onstage kiss was with a guy.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Moritz in Spring Awakening
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I discovered a passion for performing at a very early age and with the support from my parents I was catapulted into this lifestyle and I haven't looked back once. I love it.
How you got your Equity card: I played Gavroche on Broadway in 1999. My first Broadway show.


Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Pre-show would definitely be the Broadway Box from Kodama sushi in midtown. Post-show would be Fish Tacos from Reunion Surf Bar also in midtown.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Non-alcoholic is water for sure. Alcoholic would be Johnny Walker Black.
Favorite bands of all time: Green Day, Billy Joel, Blink 182, The Early November, James Taylor, The Avett Brothers, Bayside, Senses Fail, The Spill Canvas, Silverstein, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. (Just to name a few)
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I usually try to stretch and roll out any tight muscles so I don't hurt myself during the show. I try to sing anything just to stay warm whether it be fooling around backstage singing something stupid or actually singing with my guitar. I just like to stay connected to the group of people around me and get that good energy flowing.

 

Most challenging role you have ever played: Moritz
Craziest audition story: All of them are crazy. Auditioning is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Nothing TOO drastic has happened to me yet but I'm sure it can still happen!

 

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I fell off the barricade in Les Miz once and dropped 14 feet to the floor. I was 8 though so I bounced right back!
Worst costume ever: I've loved all of the costumes that I've had to wear so far. Nothing to complain about really. I know, boring!
Worst job you ever had: I worked at McDonalds for 6 months in NJ... drive-through... pretty terrible...
Were you familiar with Bare previously? Yes I was! A bunch of my cast mates from Spring Awakening loved the original Bare and talked about it constantly. I always loved hearing the music, especially "Are You There?"

I never thought I'd get this opportunity. It is truly an honor to be doing this show every night with this amazing group of artists and to tell such an important story for our time.

What has been the biggest challenge so far? Finding and settling an arc for my character among all of the rewrites and changes that have happened. Along with it being challenging, that's what also makes it rewarding and fun. Theatre is ever-changing and the show will not stop growing. Every night will be different. That's what I love about it.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be? I guess I would trade with Taylor but I definitely would not be able to pull it off as well as he does. He's just so incredible as a performer and his portrayal as "Peter" is outstanding. Honestly I love my role. I feel very lucky to have it. :-)
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? As of now it's all Bare all the time. Everything else is hush hush.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Super cheesy but I've always wanted to play Jerry in The Full Monty. I think that role would be a blast.
Leading lady role you wish you could play: Anita in West Side Story
Something about you that surprises people: How short I am
Something you are incredibly proud of: Getting to have done really incredible, unique, and life changing theatre. Not just for me, but theatre that helps other people. It's truly a wonderful feeling and I feel very lucky to do it.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: The first song I learned on keyboard at a very young age was "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed.
Career you would want if not a performer: The other career I have to fall back on is to be a musician. So I better look forward to a life of the struggling artist!
Three things you can't live without: My family, my friends and music
"I'll never understand why…" … you can't just love who you want to love and be with who you want to be with. I truly will NEVER understand it.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Don't. Give. Up. Being in this industry is a lot of hard work and it is also a very good test of patience and will power. Don't get discouraged by rejection. Let it fuel you and follow your dream. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.You absolutely can. Be fearless. Be bold. Be you.