I very nearly miss actor Grant Show as I arrive at Drip on Main to talk about his upcoming role in the Columbia City Ballet's Dracula: Ballet With a Bite. Dressed casually in workout clothes, looking down at his smartphone, he could be any young urban Main Street or Vista professional, stopping off for coffee after a jog or a visit to the gym, and not a visiting star from Hollywood on a break from rehearsal. His publicity photo as Dracula doesn't do him justice. He's the leanest, wiriest, tannest, fittest guy you can imagine, looking not much older than his character Jake Hanson did from 1992-1997 in the popular Fox series Melrose Place. Since then, he's starred in a number of series (Point Pleasant, Swingtown, Accidentally on Purpose) cable television movies (Sex and the Single Mom, Natalee Holloway) and feature films (last year's The Possession) and has had recurring roles in series like Big Love, Burn Notice, and Private Practice. Currently one of the stars of Lifetime's hit Devious Maids, which will return for a second season next spring, Show will portray the the blood-sucking Transylvanian Count in three performances this coming Thursday October 24 through Saturday October 26, at 7:30 PM at the Koger Center. He shared some thoughts about this production, and his career this past Friday afternoon, the day before the production opened out of town in Savannah.
Jasper: How did you first become involved with Dracula?
Grant Show: Because William Starrett is pretty persuasive, as I'm sure everyone in Columbia already knows. My wife, Katherine LaNasa (currently seen as Lizzie Ambrose on A & E's Longmire) was a dancer. She danced with William in Europe. She stopped dancing professionally when she was in her 20's - she danced from when she was about 16 to about 26. So I've known William for a couple of years now; William came out for our wedding.
Jasper: You're a newlywed, correct? Congratulations!
Show: A year. We're just past newlyweds now. Thanks! Katherine and William are doing a reality show, not in the sense of a "Housewives" reality show - it's more of docu-reality show, what a documentary used to really be, about the Company. So we've been a lot more in touch with him in the last couple of months. They shot it a long time ago, and they're in the middle of making a deal on that. I'm not a dancer, I've never been. In my movement class at LAMDA (the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) they called me "the Lorry Driver." This is a Herculean effort, to try to get me to a place where there is any grace - but that's kind of why I wanted to do it. I think (William) likes bringing in actors too - he's really terrific.
Jasper: He's played Dracula himself, he's had dancers in the lead, and he's had actors play the role, so he's done it both ways.
Show: He's a really creative guy, and creativity is really spurred on by disparate input. His creativity is sparked when something new comes along, and having to deal with my limitations makes him more creative. Myself as well, me coming in here and trying to figure out what I can do and can't do. And then pushing the limits of what I can do.
Jasper: Have you surprised yourself?
Show: I don't know if I'm doing it well yet, but I'm doing way more than I thought I would. I'm doing lifts! I didn't think I was going to be dancing at all. I thought I was just going to come in, (shifting into a Bela Lugosi-style voice) "and be Dracula!" and then kind of sweep out. But he's got me in full-on numbers, quite a bit - a lot more than I thought. I'm doing a lot of lifts. When they suggested it to me, I was like "You guys are nuts! I'm going to take this part and just...walk across the stage? People study for years before they do that!" But the girls are so good; everyone there is so good, that they're making me look better than I am. And I'm having a lot of fun. I am, I'm having a great time, just a lot of fun. The weirdest thing is: I've seen one ballet in my life. It's not my thing, or it wasn't. The emotion that comes over me most often now during rehearsal - not when I'm working, but when I'm waiting to work - is (that) I'm jealous of these people. I'm very jealous. I will never have anywhere near the grace that these that guys have. Even if I decided now that I wanted to, it's too late. I've missed that boat. And I'm a little bit jealous of these guys, if not a lot jealous of these guys. They're incredibly athletic and graceful and artistic, all at the same time, something I will never have.
Jasper: How challenging is it to do an acting role with lots of movement, but no dialogue?
Show: It's different. They're not putting any pressure on me, so there's no fear, I don't have any fear here. Not yet. Maybe I will before the curtain goes up tomorrow. The first three days I was just learning where I was supposed to be standing on the stage. I got here Monday night. So Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday... maybe a little bit Thursday afternoon, I started to act, but there's really been no acting, it's just been "What do I do next, what do I do next? " and listening to the music. The cues are very different. There are some visual, but mostly, it's auditory cues, so re-training myself for that, that's difficult, and today was really the first time that I was able to go "What kind of choices am I going to be making?" And of the choices I've already made for this character, for this creature, this man, this person, this thing, can I incorporate them, will they work? It is challenging. And I don't have a lot of time to do it.
Jasper: That's not bad for three days.
Show: I feel OK , considering. Unfortunately people in the audience aren't going to know that there's a "considering" They come to see a show. They don't come to see a show with a caveat of "Oh, well he's only had this much time." They just want to see a good show. One thing that is very challenging is, that if you're in a scene in a play, or a tv show, or a movie, or whatever, you can do that scene, with whoever you're working with; it generally doesn't have more than two or three people at the most. You can do it again, do it again, do it again. You can try different things, and keep trying. But (here) you've got the entire company. If I want to work on one little moment, you've got to get the entire company together, you've got to cue the music up, you've got to move into it, so you really only get two or three shots at it in a day, in a whole day. So that's really difficult and challenging - it's new.
Jasper: You said "this character, this creature, this man, this person, this thing." So which is it? How are you approaching the role?
Show: Well you have to play it as a person, as a man. The closest thing that I'm kind of, playing with, is that he's really kind of a sexual predator. But there's also some things that are child-like about him, that maybe a sexual predator has as well, so that's kind of what I'm playing with. Are you (the audience) going to see any of this? I have no idea. These are just thoughts in my head.
In Part 2, Grant Show discusses his current series Devious Maids, how he broke into acting then took a break to develop his craft, as well as favorite roles, roles he was very nearly cast in, and roles he would love to play. Columbia City Ballet presents Dracula: Ballet with A Bite at the Koger Center, running from Thursday, Oct. 24 - Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased at Capitol Tickets, online at www.capitoltickets.com, or by calling (803) 251-2222. University students are encouraged to take advantage of special discount student pricing on Thursday, Oct. 24: all tickets are $10 with a valid student ID.
~ August Krickel