Five Burning Questions with New Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Star Jeff Kready
March 11th, 2015
by Josh Ferri
Jeff Kready is the social-climbing, well-mannered killer at the center of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Kready stars as Monty Navarro, a lowborn half-Castilian who picks off members of the illustrious D’Ysquith family until he is named Earl of Highhurst. It’s a real hoot. Below, BroadwayBox chats with the charming Kansas native about Midwestern "salad", the new cast of GGLAM and a devastating childhood deception.
1. What is it like over there at GGLAM right now? You guys are the reigning Tony winner and the love triangle has all new stars.
We’ve been lucky now to be running long enough to have some turn over, and while it’s hard to see your friends go, the new cast members bring a new life and new energy to the show. We’ve been able to find new things that I didn't see before, and getting to play opposite Scarlett [Strallen] now is a real treat. She’s extraordinary—absolutely breathtaking—and we get to create something new in that relationship. And Carole Shelly as Miss Shingle?! Come on! It’s been good for the company.
2. Monty basically becomes a serial killer to get where he is. What’s the craziest thing you did to land a job or get ahead?
Actually my first “professional job” was The Music Man at Kansas City Starlight, and I was in fourth grade. I went to the audition and I totally blew it—and I knew I blew it, in fourth grade; I was the worst one there out of 500 kids auditioning. And magically a week later, I found out I got it. I would be in the children’s chorus, and I was baffled. Then my senior year of high school, I find out the reason I got it was because they had asked my dad’s barber shop quartet to be the quartet in The Music Man and he said, ‘Yes, we will do it if you’ll cast my son.’ I was slightly devastated but it a great lesson that my very first job— the thing that spurred me on to do this for a living—was all by nepotism.
3. Speaking of Kansas, what’s the most Midwestern thing about you?
Anytime Nikki [Renée Daniels, his wife] goes back to Kansas, and I take her to my favorite Mexican restaurant Taco Villa, she reminds me that this is by no means of the word, or have anything to do with, Mexican food. (They actually have something on the menu called a taco dog, if that gives you an idea.) Also in my family we have this thing called Jell-O salad, which apparently I’m told is a Midwestern thing. My favorite is red-hot Jell-O salad—you melt red hots, mix it with apple sauce and put it in Jell-O. The first time Nikki came home to Kansas and we served her Jell-O salad, she said ‘What about this is salad?’ We eat Jell-O salad; we eat taco dogs—we’re from the Midwest.
4. So with two Broadway parents, have you given thought about what you want your daughter Lena’s first Broadway show to be?
We just took her to Sesame Street Live. It was her first stage experience, and she sat through the whole 90-minute show. We couldn't believe it. We’re definitely going to take her to something like Aladdin. Adam Jacobs is a good friend of ours, so I have to imagine we could get backstage after and she could meet Aladdin. Give it a couple years.
5. If you could interview any one person, who would you choose?
This is so random, but the person I would interview would be whoever the guy is who played Billy Lawlor in the tour of 42nd Street that came through Topeka, Kansas when I was in 6th grade. I don't know who he is and there isn’t any way for me to find out, but you have those moments in your life when something really strikes you, and if I can pinpoint a moment that made me think ‘that’s what I want to do with my life,’ it was sitting in the front row at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. It would be pretty cool if I could talk to that guy. To say, ‘Hey man, I know you’re in the middle of a one-nighter, and you don't necessarily want to be in Topeka, Kansas, but keep doing it because you really affected me.’
See Jeff Kready lead the Tony-winning ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre.