Five Burning Questions with Perfect Arrangement Star Christopher J. Hanke
October 7th, 2015
by Josh Ferri
Christopher J. Hanke brings plenty of laughs and lots of heart as Jimmy Baxter, a closeted biology teacher, in Primary Stages’ can’t-miss new comedy Perfect Arrangement. See it’s 1950 and Jimmy is really married to Bob (a US security department all-star) but for appearances is married to Norma, (Bob’s associate); while Norma’s real wife, Millie, pretends to be Bob’s stay at home wife and both couples live next door with a secret Batcave door connecting the apartments—see it’s a perfect arrangement…until it all comes apart. BroadwayBox caught up with the Buyer & Cellar, H2$, Hair and Cry-Baby alum to talk about the new show, celebrity beards and sharing the greatest love of all.
1. When we meet Jimmy Baxter, he’s making these lethal Baxter specials. What would go into a Hanke special?
I’m really into mixology—I love cocktails and I’ve recently been into homemade watermelon margaritas. I just start with a simple silver tequila, then I muddle fresh watermelon juice and strain that. I don't like my margaritas very sweet so the watermelon is just sweet enough, and I like it tart so I squeeze a whole lime. Then lots of ice, a dash of cointreau or orange liqueur, shake it up and bam. It’s so delicious and so easy.
2. Do you remember the first movie or play you saw that opened your eyes to gay culture as youth?
This is so cheesy but I think it was watching Rent perform on The Tony Awards. I remember seeing it and saying, ‘Oh, those are gay characters and they aren’t being portrayed in some horrible way; they have friends and jobs and love and hope, and they seem normal.
3. If you could have a perfect arrangement with any female celebrity, who would be your dream beard?
Giada De Laurentiis. She has a couple shows on The Food Network, she’s gorgeous, she is a fantastic chef, and she’s got a great rack. I just think she’s adorable.
4. What is something you’re passionate about outside of performing?
Teaching. I mentor young kids that want to be in theatre and want to pursue it as a career. I love, LOVE, love spending time with them, making them better artists, and mentoring them in a big brother type way. I was once there in their same position, and it’s very humbling and a great reminder watching them find joy in the material and be so open and pure.
5. What was the show that made you want to pursue acting as your profession? You were considering medical school for while, what changed your mind?
Les Miz in London. There was this guy who was not Marius or Enjolras, just one of the pals, and I thought he sucked. I was sitting there as a 17-year-old and thought, ‘Well if he can do it… I think I can have a shot.’ I was already thinking it was something I’d like to do but that guy was the turning point I look back on.
Get yourself over to The Duke on 42nd Street to see Christopher J. Hanke (and the rest of this fantastic cast) in 'Perfect Arrangement', now through November 6.