In Part 1 of our interview with Grant Show, he discussed the challenges of taking on a dance role as the titular Count in Dracula: Ballet With a Bite, presented by the Columbia City Ballet this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 24-26 at the Koger Center. Discussion now turns to his career, and how a role in community theatre long ago led to a career as an actor.
Jasper: I take it you're on a break now, since you have a new series (Devious Maids, on Lifetime.) Congratulations - how's that going?
Grant Show: Thank you. It's going great. We finished our season real strong. We started out OK, and had this really nice build, as far as the audience, which I think is a really good sign. I think the show is really great - I never really had any doubts about it.
Jasper: So it's officially coming back for another season?
Show: Oh yeah, definitely. We go back to work in January. It'll be back on the air I think the beginning of April. We're starting earlier this year than last year. Last year was a summer show, and this year it's going to be more of a spring show, in 2014. The cast has been pared down quite a bit, but it was massive, that cast. It had like 18 members, and I think we’re down to 12, which is a big cast anyway. They've told us a little about what's going to happen next year. I'm excited about it. My character Spence, and Rosie, who are sort of star-crossed lovers throughout, are broken up in the end, and it takes Spence down a really bad path. He ends up becoming a hot mess. (laughs) I'm looking forward to it. That was the way it was described to me: he's a hot mess. (laughs more)
Jasper: You're often described as "television star Grant Show," or "Grant Show from Melrose Place," or from your new series...but you actually began as a stage actor.
Show: Well yeah, I had done a lot of stage.
Jasper: You studied theatre in college, at UCLA.
Show: Well yeah. My first real job (as Rick Hyde, on Ryan's Hope) was a television job, and then I did a lot of back and forth, gosh, for ten years maybe. And then once I got Melrose Place, once you're on a show, it's really hard to do theatre. After I left Melrose Place, for the next three or four years I did a bunch more theatre (including Wit on Broadway, and The Glass Menagerie, as the Gentleman Caller, with Elizabeth Ashley at The Alley Theatre in Houston) and then I moved out to California, and it's very difficult to do both. Your agents don't want you to do theatre. There’s no money in it. They don't believe the long term, about how it develops you as an actor, as an artist. They just don't get it. They don't see any advantage in doing theatre. They're not doing it, but for us, it's fun.
Jasper: You actually took a break from television after your first series, and went off to London to study at LAMDA (the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) - what was going through your mind at that point?
Show: I knew that what I was doing, on a daytime soap, wasn't what I wanted to do. And I also knew that I wasn’t really that good of an actor yet. There was something they were doing over there, and I wanted to go see what they were doing. I don't even know how much I learned, but it was fun. I had a good time. It was like a year of summer camp for actors.
Jasper: Similar to your undergrad experience?
Show: No, more intense. A lot more intense. We worked every day, seven or eight hours a day, for nine months. I couldn't have not learned something - I had to learn something. What, I couldn’t tell you. But it was great. If you have the opportunity...I knew I wanted to do it for at least a year before my contract was up. So I saved up my money, I was young, I was 27, so let's go have fun. And I did.
Jasper: Did you always plan on being an actor?
Show: No. I was going to be a pilot. I had planned on flying for the Air Force. But we were poor, and I was in a public school, and you're not going to get into the Air Force Academy out of a public school, so the only real private education I could get was at a parochial, or religious, school. Very early into being there, I realized I didn't like people telling me what to do. So I left there, and quit that whole plan. I was well on the way - Eagle Scout, Senator's letter of recommendation... there's a whole bunch of steps you have to have. I had gotten it all stacked up already, but I just needed to get the right education. I realized "Yeah, not for me - the military's not gonna do it for me." So I kind of goofed off for a long time. I did some plays in high school, just as something to do. I was a couple of years out of high school, not knowing what I wanted to do, and I did a community theatre play, and I was like "You know? If they'll pay me to do this, I like this."
Jasper: What was the show?
Show: Oh, it was some musical revue. And I don't sing. It was just something that somebody put together, it wasn't a big thing.
Jasper: But you enjoyed it enough, to pursue that as a career?
Show: Oh yeah. And I've been very, very, very, very blessed.
Jasper: Do you know what ran on cable not too long ago? Ice (a made-for-tv natural disaster movie that ran on ABC in the summer of 2000, about Californians struggling to escape and survive a sudden Ice Age.)
Show: Oh my godddddd.
Jasper: You know, one of your co-stars in that movie was also a famous screen Dracula - Udo Keir, who was Andy Warhol's Dracula.
Show: Yes, yeah I know that. God, they missed the boat on that (Ice.) That could have been a good, good, fun movie. I just think that....it was okay....
Jasper: It was actually pretty good.
Show: It was okay.
Jasper: The story was actually...
Show: It was okaaaaay.
Jasper: Just done on a miniscule budget, but a pretty cool idea.
Show: It just missed. You never get any time on those things. You get it, and you've got a couple of weeks, maybe, at most, and they fly you up, and then you start working on it, and it's just work work work work. And after we're all done, I'm like "Aaaah, god, we could have done this, we could have done that..." I had all these thoughts in my head about what we could have done. It's nature of the beast.
Jasper: We're also fans of Burn Notice, and big Bruce Campbell fans. Any stories about working on that series?
Show: Aw, he's great. (thinks) Nothing all that crazy happened. I loved it. You know, Jeffrey (Donovan, the star) and I tested opposite each other for that role that Jeffrey ended up doing, so it was probably going to be between me and him. And when they asked me to come in and do a few episodes, I was like "No, I'm not going to come in and play a co-star to someone I read opposite! I'm not going to be his supporting actor. They were like "Why don't you read the script, and see?" And it wasn't just a supporting actor to him, it was a pretty big character, and I had a lot of fun doing it. I just love those guys. Matt Nix, the creator - he's great. He's terrific. I talked to him about his whole writing process, and he was really super-supportive, and ready to talk - he's just a good dude.
Jasper: Apart from your new series, which isn't even new any more, do you have anything else in the works?
Show: No, that's it. Katherine and I bought a house on the Marina peninsula that is 90-some years old, that hasn't been touched in 40 years. We're remodeling that, so that's kind of nice. But I go back to work in two months. So there's not really enough time for anything.
Jasper: So nothing on the side?
Show: This. This is it right now.
Jasper: Have you visited Columbia before?
Show: No. I've played golf in Greenville. Columbia is great though. I haven't really seen much of it. I've seen from the hotel to the studio, and from the studio...to the hotel. That's all I've seen. I keep waiting for someone to give me some barbecue. I love me some pork. But I'm just so busy - this is really kind of a lot, this is (laughing) kind of ridiculous trying to get me ready to do this in four days. So that's all I'm doing. So then I get home, and I'm in my room, doing the steps, and it's not the newest building in the world. So the floors are all wood, and all creaking around, and I'm sure the person below is like "Yaaaaaa - damn you! Stop it! What are you doing up there?"
Jasper: Thinking about arts now in the broadest sense - what do you see as the role of the arts, and acting, and drama, from a societal viewpoint?
Show: In the biggest, broadest sense, it's just a sort of visceral understanding that no man is an island, that we're all in this together. In a real broad sense, that's it - we're all here together.
Jasper: What do you see happening in the future with the performing arts, especially at the local level, with local playhouses, local ballets, local opera companies that are struggling in the current economy?
Show: It feels like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not in it that much, though, I'm not in the trenches. I mean I know you guys just lost a ballet company (in Charleston.) But maybe that's an opportunity. I believe it's an opportunity for William. He's definitely going to pick up the slack there. I think it's unfortunate that it's the first place (arts) that money is taken away from, but it's a fact of life. Live theatre, or ballet, if they can't survive because no one's going to see them, then maybe they're not relevant anymore. I believe they are. And I believe they will.
Jasper: Finally, what are some favorite roles you have played?
Show: Both of them are in television shows. I did a series, gosh, almost ten years ago now, called Point Pleasant. Marti Noxon (an executive producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, and consulting producer on Glee and Mad Men) was the producer. I played this guy who had sold his soul to the Devil. He was basically the Devil's Pope. It was all supernatural crap, and he was just really fun. The guy could do anything. He didn't give a crap about anybody. He was a true villain, and that was really fun to play. And then the opposite side of the spectrum, the character I played in Swingtown, Tom Decker - he just wanted to make sure that everybody knew they were invited to the party. He was the guy that says "you're good enough, you're pretty enough, and damn it, people like you. Come on in - let's have sex!" He was really fun, to just be free to just be welcoming to everyone, and your whole goal is to try to make everybody else feel good about themselves. That was really fun.
Jasper: And is there any role that you've always wanted to play?
Show: (without hesitation) Yeah - James Bond! I think I was born in the wrong area (i.e. America), and I missed my boat on that one. But what guy doesn't want to play James Bond?
~ August Krickel
Columbia City Ballet presents Dracula: Ballet with A Bite at the Koger Center, running from Thursday, Oct. 24 - Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. 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.