John Beard makes his MPT debut as Harvard's smooth-talking Professor Callahan. Read on find out what drew John to the role, his favorite songs to belt out in the shower, and his bloodiest theatrical experience!
Are you a Madison native? If not, what brought you to the area?
No, I’m from Gautier, Mississippi, which is on the Gulf Coast. I spent most of my life in the southeast before moving to the Midwest for a job about 12 years ago, and my family and I have been in Madison more than 8 years. We love it.
What do you enjoy about your character, Professor Callahan?
His confidence. And his complete lack of any moral compass. He and I are not very similar and that’s why I took the role. It feels good to be the bad guy... but just for a couple hours a night.
What are people going to think about as they drive home from Legally Blonde?
I think they will do less thinking and more humming of the catchy songs. They definitely get stuck in your head. Ya know, it’s a very light-hearted, silly show and I believe people will think, “Well, that was a fun night.” And what else can you ask for?
What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?
I love singing and I love collaborating. And in every show, there’s a point when you’re rehearsing the group numbers where it all starts coming together. You hear it but you can also feel it. I love that part.
Who is your greatest musical theatre inspiration and why?
David Delk, who directed my first community theater show. I was 19 and the youngest person in the cast by far. He convinced me I could do it.
What was your strangest experience in theatre?
One of my cast mates cut her lower leg on a piece of set furniture. She was taking blood thinning medication due to some medical issues so it was coming out quickly. We spent the whole second act navigating puddles of blood on the stage. She made it through and we did our scheduled show the next night.
What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt in the shower or in your car?
"I Want to Be a Producer," "If I Loved You," "Suddenly Seymour." The shower is where I do my best singing so this list could go on for a while.
What is your favorite Broadway musical?
This cast - as a whole - has an irrational hatred of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, so I’ll say Cats just to pick a fight.
What do you do when you’re not performing/working in the theatre? Do you have a daytime job?
Doesn’t everyone? Wait, is everyone else getting paid for this show?!? Seriously, I was in
television news for two decades but recently started working for Focus on Energy as their
Public Relations and Media Manager.
Where can people go to learn more about you and your projects?