In the Wings: Dan Hodge, Star of The Three Christs of Manhattan
A world-premiere production at Interact Theatre Company has an atheist Jewish psychiatrist seeing Christ all around her, but not in the way you might think. She’s visited by three men, all claiming to be the son of God: one in sandals, one in dreadlocks, and one in a sport coat, all who battle it out to determine who is the real Jesus. We chatted with The Three Christs of Manhattan star Dan Hodge about his wig-wearing role, the 80s film star he’d still totally go for, and how he uses the city to stay in shape.
My name is … Dan Hodge
I am a … Gemini. I am also a theatre artist living in Philadelphia. I’ve been here since 2007.
On opening night … it’s nice to keep things light. I usually walk to the theatre, so I give myself extra time on an opening (when I can). Somewhere along the way I’ll stop for a light bite. Once I get to the theatre, I’ll probably do a crossword in my dressing room to get my head clear. Opening nights are special in that it’s usually the one night of the run when everyone makes a special effort to wish everyone well before the curtain goes up. It’s nice. Little moments of personal contact.
My favorite part of Three Christs is … the top of the fourth scene, when Leah has all three of the Jesuses on stage together. It cracks along, and there’s lots of fun give-and-take as we start to feel each other out.
To get into character for this show, I … put on my wig. It takes about 15 minutes (I’ve never worn a wig like this in a show before), and it can be pretty meditative. I have to put my tunic on first, so I sit in front of the mirror and slowly turn myself into a kind of storybook Jesus.
My first stage kiss … Is it terrible that I forget her name? I was in A Christmas Carol at the Midland Community Theatre. It’s a great organization where I cut my teeth on the stage. I was playing Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and at the end of the party scene, I kissed the girl playing my wife, Millie. The first stage kiss came before my first real kiss, actually. I was a late bloomer …
The first play I was in was … at Midland Community Theatre. The first ‘real play’ I was in was Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I was one of the mice that turns into a coachman. BIG beginning.
My dream role is … It would be nice to do Hamlet, but saying that feels a bit obvious. The one I really hope to do in my life is Cyrano De Bergerac. It’s got everything. You just have to be very careful picking a translation.
My surprising celebrity crush is … Leah Thompson. Like, Back to the Future-era Leah Thompson. But to be honest, if she came up to me today, the answer would probably be yes.
The most famous person I’ve ever met … I’ve met a lot of different folks, so it’s hard to say. Though I was completely bowled over by Barack Obama.
The last thing I binge-watched … Breaking Bad. It’s actually the only TV show I’ve ever binge-watched. [My wife] Krista and I have been watching it over the course of the last three years or so, and we needed to wrap it up before I left for Penn Shakes.
To stay in shape I … Walk. Everywhere.
The last time I dined out in Philadelphia, I ate… at Nom Nom Ramen over on 18th and Market. It’s close to InterAct, and the food is really good.
The best show I saw in Philly recently … Into the Woods over at Theatre Horizon was pretty magical, though the list is long.
The best thing about Philadelphia’s theater scene is … How quickly the community is growing. When I came here, it was full of rich and wonderful artists of all stripes, but now so many young people are staying after getting their degrees (instead of scampering off to New York). Companies are springing up, and there are so many gifted and determined people hungry to work. It’s a great testament to the city.
You can see “The Three Christs of Manhattan” at Interact Theatre Company through June 21st. For tickets and more information, click here.