I’m asking veteran actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that seem outside the box.
“I’m a big believer that ‘the play’s the thing,’" says Kevin Hafso-Koppman. "Usually it is a whole play that excites me...or the director or the cast or all of the above. There are so many plays I want to do and roles I would love to attempt, my list changes every day. But if I were to really break down and just choose the five I burn to do, these are them…at least for today.”
1) Cyrano, in Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmund Rostand. “I saw Cyrano at the Old Globe years ago and was enamored with the play. I couldn’t get over its beauty, tragedy, hilarity, and its expansiveness. I remember crying, laughing, and never feeling the back of my seat. Since then it’s been one of those parts that loom in the back of my head, smoldering there like the ember that never lets the burning die.”
2) King Richard II, in Richard II, by William Shakespeare. "I have a huge list of Shakespeare’s characters I yearn to do. But one that has stayed on the top for some time now is Richard II. He is full of flaws, weakness, and strength. He is petulant and rash but smart and witty. His language lights up my brain and my soul. He fascinates me."
3) Hedwig, in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. “I love everything about this show. The music is fantastic, the story [a singer becomes a female impersonator after a disastrous sex-change] is so unavoidably real as you watch. This role would scare me because there are parts I feel I could do and other aspects I would have a deep fear of failing. Usually if you are afraid of a role, you should do it.”
4) Father Flynn, Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley. “I was lucky enough to play this role at San Diego State, years ago. But, of course, being so young, it was like wearing shoes that were too big or too expensive. One day when I can afford them, I’d love to put those shoes on again because this play is so rewarding to work on.”
5) Tartuffe, Tartuffe, by Moliere. “I would do just about any Moliere play and have always had an urge to do one all in French. Tartuffe is hilariously disgusting. I love his two-faced-ness, so smarmy and gross but hilarious all the same. I crave to play someone who is such a lying hypocrite who makes you cringe while you laugh — and to put it all in rhyming couplets would be a wonderful challenge.”