I'm having a ball on 'Glee.' It's a joy to be working there - the whole cast is so talented.
My mother was the first African-American policewoman in Seattle - recruited, actually - and she did it for only 2 years, as she did not want to carry a gun. She worked mostly on domestic disturbances. The NAACP wanted her to do it. She did not actually have the temperament to be a cop - she was very sweet. She had a Masters in social work.
I'm fortunate that I've been able to work on Broadway, but it doesn't give me an outside life. So I decided to go into the concert world. I do 40 to 50 shows. That takes one to three days a week, and I'm home the rest of the time.
I started out on the stage, then I had a great career in television for quite a few years. The good news about a TV series is that they give you a certain amount of fame and money. The bad news is that you're in people's living rooms every week and get associated with a particular character.
I love seeing the stars, and I love being around my friends and family.
I didn't really think I liked jazz all that much until I was about 18. That's when the freedom and possibilities of it began to seem appealing to me.
I studied film scoring and orchestration and conducting and arranging in my twenties, and I scored a lot of television shows and other things.
That's the magic of art and the magic of theatre: it has the power to transform an audience, an individual, or en masse, to transform them and give them an epiphanal experience that changes their life, opens their hearts and their minds and the way they think.
To take the ugly language out of 'Ragtime' is to sanitize it, and that does it a great disservice.
At our house, we'd always open presents with our Christmas records playing. 'Little Drummer Boy' was one of my favorites when I was a kid because it was about a kid.
Stay as connected as you can. Sometimes that means you're going to do a job that may not pay you much but may give you a great connection. If the work is not going the way you need it to go, create your own!
What I love about piano and vocal is it's incredibly pure, and it gets down to the essence of the song because you're not distracted by an orchestra. When it's just a piano and a voice, it's about the purity of singing the song.
I'm a fan of odd meters. For example, I've decided to sing 'No Business Like Show Business,' but I'll be doing it in constantly changing 5/4, 7/4 and 11/4 time signatures. I've found a way to make that work.
Oddly enough, I almost never listen to show tunes. But there are some shows I love, like Adam Guettel's 'Floyd Collins.'
The thing about doing concerts is that it's doing a live show. It's on my schedule. It's songs I want to sing. It's saying what I want to say. It's working with the people I want to work with. I don't have to worry about pleasing other people - I can do what I want, and people come along and go for the ride.
Left to my own devices, I would go to bed at 2:30 or 3, but I can't do that if I'm getting up at 6:50!
I'm one of the few lucky actors in the world. I've never waited tables. I never pumped gas. I've always earned a living. I never had to borrow from my parents. I was the first in our family to own a new car.
I don't recommend skipping college, but things have worked out for me.
I love the theater, and I just don't love television like that.
I think the Oscar is the big money award; that means you've made it in a money sense. The Tony has always represented - to me, and most actors that I've talked to - an artistic award. It means you're an artist and not just a popular performer.
Honestly, I hate watching myself on TV - I have always hated watching myself and listening to myself.
One of the interesting things an artist does is they keep rediscovering things, whether it's a jazz piece or a role you've done for 3,000 performances or a song you're singing for the 3,000th time. My job is to find that spark that keeps it fresh and alive.
There are some projects where you have to just start doing it, and, after a while, the show starts telling you what it wants to be. You put your spirit in and, after a while, something bigger takes over, and it turns out to be much more fun and creative than what it was at the beginning.
Through most of my life, music has been like a radio that plays and plays in my head.
Each time I have performed in Utah, I had a great time, and the audiences seem to enjoy what I do. The audiences are very warm and very appreciative.
I kind of feel the career chose me. My motto has always been, 'Go where I'm wanted.'
If you can make an audience laugh, you can make them love any character.
The first role that I played as a musical - I was 14 years old, and I played Birdie in 'Bye Bye Birdie.' That was an awakening of, 'Wow, I'm good at that. People are responding.' And I hardly knew what I was doing back then, but there was something that people were seeing.
When I was 6 years old, I asked my parents for an organ. I don't have any idea why I wanted an organ.
There is a built-in appreciation for music that is so much a part of the LDS culture. Utahns know that music can be divine and can touch a person's spirit in a unique way.
My favorite music is jazz, actually. It's what I listen to, it's what I was raised on, and it's what I prefer to sing.
Music, for me, is the most sacred of the arts. I say that because music communicates in a way that no other art form can. All great art has a spirit that we recognize and appreciate, but music goes directly to your heart.
I always call myself the luckiest actor in the world because I made a living solely as a performer from the time I left home at 17 years old.
The older I get, I realize, 'Man, I'm a very rare bird,' and that's not because of necessarily my talent or ability; it so much depends on luck and just the grace of the universe.
That's what I love about New York. So many people crowded together, pushing against one another. And that's what I hate about New York. So many people crowded together, pushing against one another.
'Ragtime' was the most magical show that I've done. I had an incredible experience with that, with the show itself, with the cast, with the audience. The response to that show - my God, it really blew me away, the reactions to that show, the way it changed their lives and altered their thinking, their own self-discovery.
'Ragtime' is about how we get through ugliness, how we talk together, work together, get through it together.
My family's very, very mixed. I am, I guess, a kind of melting pot in a person.
People comment on the way that I phrase. And in my 20s, I realized, my phrasing is jazz phrasing. I don't comply strictly with musical theater phrasing. Musical theater tends to be very one and three, and jazz is definitely two and four.
Usually, I don't feel comfortable with a character until I've played him before an audience for several performances. It is not until after three months of performing that I learn to discover what I call 'all the nooks and crannies' of the person.
Everybody comes to the planet with certain gifts. It may be writing, it may be acting, it may be singing, it may be being a lawyer, it may be making a beautiful cabinet, it may be being a spectacular dry cleaner. It could be anything. We all have gifts in different areas.
I hate those vacuous musicals, the happy-happy, 'Let's have a good time' shows.