PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Tony Nominee Billy Magnussen

By Matthew Blank
May 21, 2013

Billy Magnussen, a 2013 Tony Award nominee for his performance in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



Other theatre work includes The Ritz on Broadway and Off-Broadway stagings of VSMS (LTC) and Paper Doll.

He has appeared on screen in "Twelve," "Happy Tears," "Damsels in Distress," "2nd Serve," "Surviving Family," "The Brass Teapot," "The East," "The Lost Valentine," "Boardwalk Empire," "Blue Bloods," "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell," "In Plain Sight," "Law & Order," "The Unusuals," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "CSI" and "As the World Turns."





Full given name: William Gregory Magnussen
Where you were born/where you were raised: Wood Haven, NY, then Cumming, GA.
Zodiac Sign:Aries/Taurus. I'm on the cusp (is that how u spell that?)
What your parents did/do for a living:Besides being the best parents in the world... my father is a carpenter, cook, coach and friend. Mother is a personal trainer and amazing adventurer.
Special skills: I play guitar in a band called Reserved for Rondee. Dancing, pig calling, pogo sticks. And AMAZING at Cards Against Humanity.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Unicycling
First Broadway show you ever saw: Was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever on Broadway?
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? Richard Burton's Hamlet
Current or recent shows you recommended to friends: The Drawer Boy, Orphans and Matilda
Some favorite modern plays: Honestly, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Bad Jews, God of Carnage
Some favorite modern playwrights: Christopher Durang, Sam Shepard, Kenneth Lonergan
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Richard Burton, Gene Wilder
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: August: Osage County
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Genre doesn't matter, it really is about the story. Off the top of my head I would say "Cats in the Cradle."
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: "Brooklyn" by Reserved for Rondee
Most-visited websites: reddit.com
Last book you read: "My Life as a Thief"
Must-see TV show(s): "House of Cards"
"Walking Dead"
"Breaking Bad"
"Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
Last good movie you saw: "Lady and the Tramp" at home and "Iron Man 3" in the theatre
Some films you consider classics: "Bringing Up Baby," "Dumb and Dumber" and "Citizen Kane"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Jack White
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Pink Berry, is that still pop culture?
Three favorite cities: NYC, Paris, Iquitos, Istanbul and Chang Mai. That's 5, deal.
Favorite sport/team/player: Jets, Revis
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Seal's self-titled album
What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you? Captain Dogman the Rebel Ninja! My favorite fictional playground superhero character.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I took an acting class in high school and realized a lot of attractive girls did also.
How you got your Equity card: The Ritz at Studio 54
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) Off-Broadway Deli. Usually a grilled chicken wrap and fruit.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Water? Or are we talking alcohol?
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Usually just bother everyone else in the cast until places.
Most challenging role you have ever played: I try to find a challenge in all my characters. Boy-scout answer, yes.
What has been the biggest challenge about this project? Holding onto the time I share with everyone here. We're nine months in on the whole project and the days just slip away faster and faster.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this project? Getting to walk into the theatre everyday.
Was there much improv during the rehearsal process? Christopher Durang wrote such beautiful dialogue, why would I change his words? Moments, on the other hand were improv'd.
Do you have a favorite moment in the show for your character? During the reverse strip-tease the only reaction I can see is Kristine Nielsen's. Utter repulsion.
Who were the first people you called or texted after hearing of your nomination? My mom and dad. Then I talked to my agent Charles Bodner.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I forgot my own character's name once.
Worst costume ever: The worse it is, the more I love it.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be? Kristine Nielsen
Who have you played on "Law & Order?" Which edition? A gay male prostitute in the regular "Law & Order" and a theatre star in SVU
Some favorite screen or commercial gigs: "Boardwalk Empire" was fun. And a Hallmark film, "The Lost Valentine." Never booked a commercial.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Always, Stanley from Streetcar. And the Emcee from Cabaret, and Hamlet.
Leading lady role you'd like a shot at: Mother Courage, Juliet
Something about you that surprises people: Free spirit and a willingness to try anything once
Something you are incredibly proud of: See answer above
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I'm 28 and I still can't grow facial hair.
Career you would want if not a performer: Culinary Artist
Three things you can't live without: My family, my friends, Q-Tips
"I'll never understand why…" … there can't be more love and caring in the world.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Patience... and don't ever stop dreaming