Today’s exclusive interview is with Gregory Haney (former Chistrey – San Francisco, 2NT; former ensemble, u/s Chistrey – Chicago. We would like to thank Mr. Haney for this interview, which is below.
What was your first professional acting job, and how did you land it?
My first acting job was CATS the musical. It was my first audition when I moved to New York City in 2003.
How did you come to audition for WICKED and what was the audition process
I first auditioned for WICKED in 2007 and got cut. Then the second time they called me in and we danced, sang, and partnered with the girls. A few days later they called me and I was on the next flight to Chicago to become the new ribbon boy.
How was the initial rehearsal process for the Chistery?
Initially I was the understudy for Chistery so I rehearsed when there was time available. Later in my contract the positioned opened and I jumped at the opportunity.
What was your first performance in Wicked like?
It felt like being shot out of a rocket. It’s amazing once you hear the music start and then this world of magic happens. There is nothing like it.
What is your favorite part about performing in the ensemble? as Chistery?
My favorite part has to be making Chistery real. Making people believe that I am honestly this character.
What is the makeup process for Chistery like?
No makeup everything is done with a mask.
What are the challenges of performing as the character Chistery, and convincingly playing an Animal?
It’s challenging because you walk a very fine line of playing the obvious characteristics, and of feeling silly. Once you dive into it, it becomes the best thing ever.
Do you have a specific body regimen you do to meet the physical demands necessary for the role of Chistery?
I don’t really do anything special. I try to keep in dance class to keep my interment tuned. Aside from that just listening to my body and knowing when I need to rest and how far I can push myself.
Do you have any onstage bloopers you would like to share?
There was a show in Chicago where I was climbing on one of the towers and my tail got caught in something and came off. So for the whole scene I didn’t have a tail.
You have also performed in the Chicago and 2nd National Tour companies. What are the differences between performing in a touring company versus a sit-down production?
It comes down to living out of a suitcase verses just taking a train home after the show. The show is the same so it all depends on where you are.
Do you have any dream roles you would like to play?
I don’t have a dream role. I think the biggest thing is doing something creative and being happy. I do get the opportunity to create a role in the upcoming production of Bring It On: The Musical. I’ll be playing the part of La Cienega.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
My advice would be to follow your dreams. It may get hard but nothing comes easy. Stay focused and never stop training, because once you have the job doesn’t mean you can stop tuning your instrument.