Five Burning Questions with Mothers and Sons Star Bobby Steggert
February 26th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
It’s been quite a Broadway season for Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert—one he describes as “challenging and synchronistic.” In the fall, he sparred with Norbert Leo Butz as the disbelieving son in the musical Big Fish, and now, he goes head-to-head with Tony winner Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally’s moving new drama Mothers and Sons. Steggert’s character Will Ogden is a New York author who is married to and raising a child with Cal Porter, the widowed “boyfriend/partner/lover” of Katharine Gerard’s (Tyne Daly) deceased son. When Katharine arrives unexpectedly at the couple’s Central Park West apartment, all three characters must confront realities of the past and present. BroadwayBox recently caught up with Steggert to get the skinny on the power of this piece, what the show has taught him about being a dad and how he combats his HGTV addiction.
1. This is some play. The first time you read the script, what was your gut reaction?
I knew I had to do the play as soon as Terrence sent it to me, because of its revolutionary presentation of a modern, married gay couple with a child. I immediately recognized the great opportunity and privilege it would be to play a husband and a father whose experience of the world is so completely unaffected by the fact that he happens to be gay.
I truly feel that this play completes Terrence McNally's career-spanning meditation on the gay experience that will be seen as one of the most important contributions to the American theater.
2. What was the first LGBT themed film or play that really affected you growing up?
I never saw it, but I listened to the original cast recording of Falsettos on repeat in middle school, and found it so foreign and exotic to hear two men singing about love. "What More Can I Say" was a huge revelation to me.
3. You've been fortunate to work with such big Broadway heavy hitters. Which former co-star do you think influenced or inspired you the most and how?
It's a tie—Audra McDonald taught me the importance of uncompromising commitment, and Boyd Gaines inspired me to trust that great success is possible with kindness, humility, and compassion.
4. What's the most embarrassing /guilty-pleasure show on your DVR?
I don't have cable, but if I did, I would never leave home because I'd watch episode after episode of "Love It Or List It" on HGTV.
5. Have you given any thought to being a dad? How might your parenting style compare to Will's?
I think more and more about being a father as I get older. Two of my best friends have started families that I feel very fortunate to be regularly involved with.
But this play in particular has planted the seed that perhaps it's far more plausible in my life than I used to imagine.
I love getting to be a parent onstage—I love to watch an experience through a kid's eyes, to guide him and hold him and discipline him and love him…the behavior all feels surprisingly natural and instinctual.
Will is a parent who does not candy coat—he is brutally honest and open and does not hide the truth from his child, while maintaining a fierce, unwavering affection and love. Both qualities are ones that I would hope to offer my own children. To me, Will is pretty much the ideal parent, and one I would emulate.