Like many talented teenagers with a great voice back in the 1970s, George Dvorsky had high hopes of becoming a pop star. That’s not how things turned out.
“I was in Los Angeles, I had just done a demo and had Warner Brothers interested, but I got an offer back in New York so I decided to do that and thought that I’d head right back to LA when I was done,” said Dvorsky, who is starring in the Mac-Haydn Theatre production of “The Full Monty,” opening today and running through Aug. 31.
“I thought I was pursuing a pop career, but now, 35 years later, I haven’t made it back yet.”
He has made it, however, quite impressively in New York and all over the East coast. On the New York stage he has played the lead in numerous productions, “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “The Fantasticks” among them, and his recording career includes gigs with the Boston Pops and the New York City Opera.
He has performed in concert with symphonies around the world, and his singing voice has also been used in a number of movies, including Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pocahontas,” and “Mulan.”
“I went to New York right after getting out of Carnegie Mellon, I found work pretty fast, and I’ve been in this crazy business for 35 years now,” he said.
‘The Full Monty’
WHERE: Mac-Haydn Theatre, 1925 Route 203, Chatham
WHEN: Opens 2 p.m. today and runs through Aug. 31; performance times vary
HOW MUCH: $30-$28; children under 12, $12
MORE INFO: 392-9292, www.machaydntheatre.org
“As a kid I had always been thinking of a pop career; Barry Manilow and John Denver were my favorites, but I ended up going for Broadway, and I feel very fortunate. I’ve been lucky.”
Dvorsky’s Broadway successes include “Anything Goes” (with Chita Rivera), “Passion,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Marilyn” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
He had concentrated on sports as a young boy but when he broke his arm playing football in ninth grade, he stumbled upon a bit safer alternative.
“I needed something to do to fill my time, so I went to choir practice and found out I could sing,” said Dvorsky, who grew up in Irwin, Pa., just southwest of Pittsburgh.
“That kind of led to everything else. Then I had to learn how to act and dance, so I went to Carnegie Mellon for musical theater.”
Included among his personal highlights are starring in “Cinderella” with Crista Moore for the New York City Opera and his work in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” both on Broadway and with the national tour.
His most memorable stage moment, however, came in a 1980 Sacramento production of “Paint Your Wagon” with Gordon MacRae.
“My father used to bring home soundtracks from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, and I would listen to ‘Oklahoma!’ and ‘Carousel’ with Gordon MacRae,” Dvorsky remembered.
“I told you how I liked Denver and Manilow, but MacRae was my idol, and there I am, 20 or 21, sitting on the stage with him, just a few feet away, and he’s singing ‘Maria.’ It was like I was in a dream. It was heaven.”
In “The Full Monty,” Dvorsky plays Harold Nichols and Monica Wemitt, a Mac-Haydn regular and Broadway veteran, plays his wife, Vicki. The story is set in Buffalo and centers on six unemployed steelworkers who decide to present a strip act at a local club.
“It’s one of the most fun shows I’ve ever done,” said Dvorsky, who is single. “The audience goes along for the ride, and by the end of the night they’re really pulling so hard for these guys. I’ve done the show before and it’s like a rock concert every night. It’s a gritty, realistic show about real people.”
The story, based on the 1997 British film by the same name, calls for the six male characters to actually strip, completely, near the end of the show. Mac-Haydn is a theater-in-the-round venue, but Dvorsky said that won’t stop him and his five companions.
“That’s the plan,” he said, laughing. “The lights kind of blind the audience but we may have to change a few things. In the theater-in-the-round you have to be very careful.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.