Theatre and film actor, certainly the best chef among performing artists, discusses with Reminder the success of Broadway musicals “Phantom of the Opera” and “Producers”, where he plays the lead roles, film, but also the origin of the TV project Mr. Kitchen
We are coming up to the end of the theatre season that, in your life, has probably been marked by the role of the Phantom of the Opera in the musical of the same name in the Pozorište na Terazijama. By producing one of the most demanding titles in this theatre genre in general, the Terazije Theatre has shown, yet again, that it has the capacity to bring the spirit of Broadway to down-town Belgrade. What are your impressions of the Phantom now?
At the beginning I was concerned about how it would all turn out and whether we would be able to reach the level we needed to reach, bearing in mind how demanding the singing parts are. Now I am just enjoying it and suffering, a little bit, with my Eric the Phantom, over his tragic destiny, encased in the most beautiful of Weber’s scores. These are roles that don’t just mark your season, they mark your career as an actor. Somehow, it all fell into place, the show has taken a life of its own and it fills the seats of the Terazije Theatre.
The legendary “Producenti” (Producers), another Broadway piece, have commemorated their 100th performance before the audience in Belgrade. This musical, which premiered in Serbia seven years ago, with the late Nikola Simić in the original cast, has long been an audience favourite and is watched, as a rule, “at least once per season”. How do you feel about this piece?
This is a piece that maintains the quality of the opening night, that continues to grow and that is truly loved by all in the theatre. I believe in energy and in how it affects people, and the cast of the Producers truly has had this good energy, good people, good intentions and the audience recognizes it and rewards it with a massive applause at the end. I believe we will be playing this piece for a long, long time.
Do you have any “quiet suffering”, perhaps one of the major Broadway pieces, that you are waiting to see produced and played in Serbian?
There are many pieces that perhaps are not best suited for our region, or we do not have the technical capabilities, or are just too expensive. These are classics like Wicked, Lion King, Billy Elliott, then Miss Saigon, Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon… Fortunately, there are also the hits that we have already put up on the stage of the Terazije Theatre – A Chorus Line, Kiss me, Kate, Chicago, Some Like it Hot… Honestly, I would love to see more domestic musicals, like Zona Zamfirova, which got us all the awards and recognitions and the audiences just love it.
You’ve always had the reputation as one of the best chefs among actors; as of recently, this hobby stopped being just a hobby and we no longer have to keep up with your recipes on social media – we can watch them in the new show, Mr. Kitchen, on the TOP channel. How do you feel about this project?
I have merged two of my great loves – television and cooking. I am the author of this project, so I get to do whatever I come up with, I bring nice, sophisticated people, people who know about cooking into my show; I cook dishes that are familiar to me and I try to emphasize the importance of healthy eating. The show is fast-paced, with lots of recipes, tips and interesting trivia about food. Such a show requires serious preparation, but when I see the final result, the weariness just fades away. I am very happy that it looks so great.
Are you missing film, at least a little bit? When will we see you on the big screen?
The last film premiere for me was last year in Mumbai, with the action film Vivegam in Bollywood production, where I played a mob boss. At the moment, I am preoccupied with making Mr. Kitchen and I hope that I will have a chance to hit the big screen soon.
What’s your favourite place in Belgrade?
Any non-smoking place, which are sadly so rare. My favourites are Burrito Madre, The Glow – vegan restaurant and the inevitable McDonald’s. That’s despite the fact that I am into healthy food – you can have a salad at the Mickey D’s, no?
By: Miljana Nešković