It’s hard not to fall in love with Clyde Alves in On the Town. After eight Broadway musicals (including Wicked, Hairspray, The Music Man and Oklahoma!), Alves finally leads a big splashy musical, and he’s driving audiences wild as Ozzie, the ultimate wingman/ladies man looking to make the most of his 24-hour leave in New York City. BroadwayBox caught up with the Canadian-born Alves to talk about juggling the acclaimed revival and being a new dad, his OTT co-stars and his embarrassing bathtime with George Michael.
1. What’s the secret to juggling your first big starring role on Broadway and being a new dad?
I’m a one-at-a-time type guy; [My wife] Robyn makes fun of me that I can’t do two things at once, so this was a major challenge for me. At first, because I have a perfectionist side to me, I felt I wasn't 100% in either area; then I realized if I compartmentalize my day, and didn’t think about the thing I wasn't doing at that time, I had a lot more success. When I’m at home, I give everything I have to that boy and vice versa. When I leave him for work, there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that I have a loving wife who really picks up the slack. And she’s said more than once that I’m a pretty great dad and that means a lot to me, so I guess it’s working. And the other thing is the midday nap at work; that saves me.
2. You, Jay and Tony spend a ton of time together. If you had to describe each of them in a drink, what would they be?
Well, Jay has more youth than Tony and I, but he’s extremely focused; he’s a controlled wild, so he’s a margarita: spicy, passionate, playful and youthful. Tony is a lot more reserved. His passion comes across a lot more as serious. (I make it my goal every show to make him laugh.) So he’s something a lot more straight forward, like a vodka martini.
3. As a singer-songwriter, what’s your desert island album and the album you’re most embarrassed to own?
My desert island album would definitely be Ray LaMontagne’s Gossip in the Grain. He’s my go-to—so chill but the lyrics are so real. And embarrassing? There’s a lot. People really laugh at me when I tell them I am going to take a bath, light some candles and listen to George Michael. Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces with “Careless Whisper”—that is the one. Every now and then I’ll turn that baby on and go to town.
4. I only have 24 hours to spend in Toronto, where should I go? What should I do?
There’s a jazz bar that for some reason not many people know about, even in Toronto, called The Reservoir Lounge. It’s a favorite of my wife and mine; every time we go, we have to hit it up. As far as sights go, you have to go to the CN Tower; there’s an observation deck with a glass floor and you’re looking all the way down to the street. There’s a Toronto Zoo—you'd have to speed through fast but at least go see the monkeys. And I would say you have to walk through the Harbourfront area that is just off Lake Ontario. And that’s about 24 hours worth right there.
5. Stealing this final one from A Chorus Line: If today was the last day you could dance, what would you do?
I’ve had this conversation so many times, especially since I injured myself pretty good in Bullets Over Broadway. It was one of our last run-throughs before we got to the theatre (and I’ve been lucky in my career, I’ve had no major injuries), and I’m just standing there and I turn to leave the stage and tore my calf. I was out for about two months, and I certainly asked myself that. And so if I couldn't dance anymore, the passion I’d pursue is the singer-songwriter.
Check out Clyde Alves singing and dancing up a storm in ‘On the Town’ at the Lyric Theatre.