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You’ll be starring in a stage version of Glengarry Glen Ross at the Stanley Theatre this summer. How did that happen? Three old beer pals and I were drinking at Chambar; we are all actors but we’d never done a play together. We also realized we were all in our 40s and 50s, like the men in David Mamet’s play, which was weird to admit . So we went to Bill Millerd at the Arts Club and presented ourselves as a potential cast. He said, “When do you want to do it?” We said, “Give us three years.”
Will this be your first time on-stage in Vancouver? Nope. I did Passion of Dracula with Molly Parker for the Arts Club back in 1996.
Two years after that you were a household name, thanks to Will & Grace. Does that squeaky-clean-gay-guy persona haunt you now, when you take on edgier roles like this one? “Will” is going be the epitaph on my tombstone. But I don’t begrudge it. I love the show. Still, I have to go on challenging myself, and challenging the audience. If people go to this play thinking, “Oh yeah, that nice guy from TV,” they’re in for a surprise.
There’s dirty language in Glengarry. Your character, Ricky Roma, is a particularly big jerk. Is this like Bob Saget shedding his Full House wholesomeness by doing raunchy standup? Totally. But, you know, when I started at Will & Grace, it was a 180 from the guy I played on Lonesome Dove before that. Everyone knew me as a rough guy, then I did Will and now I have to do a 180 just to get back.
Are you going to rebuild your persona on stage or on television? It takes a lot to maintain a life in L.A. and Vancouver, so I’m definitely looking for that next series. I only let myself do stuff like Glengarry every few years.
And you’ve finally got a nice house to stay in while you’re here. Yeah, we spent the last four years building a house. Just moved in last summer.
Four years to build a house? It’s Point Grey. Takes a year just to get a permit in Point Grey.
What do you get up to around town?Biking around, doing the art galleries. Lunch at Joey, dinner at Cru or that Italian place in Yaletown—Cioppino’s.
Why are you still bouncing back and forth between here and L.A.? A bunch of our friends are here. And our son, though he’s American-born, should know his Canadian roots. I’m from Toronto. And I’ve been in Vancouver since 1992, way before Will & Grace.
What’s changed in the city since you moved here? I miss those pool halls—there was a great old one on Homer. And I miss the old karaoke places, too, like Tama Sushi on Broadway. We all used to hang out there back in the ’90s. I miss that kind of thing. But I’m old. VM