Aaron Lazar in 'A Little Night Music'
The doctor said, 'It's a boy!' and we all just started crying. It's been total bliss ever since.
Aaron Lazar just wrapped an amazing year. In only 12 months, the leading man starred in Broadway’s A Tale of Two Cities and Impressionism and landed his current gig, as pompous, cheating Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury in the hit revival of A Little Night Music. And while his character’s a cad, the real Lazar’s a laid-back nice guy and devoted husband who just added the role of a lifetime to his resume on January 15: new father to baby boy Julian. We checked in with Lazar to see how he's juggling parenthood and Broadway stardom.
You're a daddy! How's it going?
It's been incredible, and a bit surreal!
How did the delivery go?
Our doctor asked me if I wanted to help with the birthing, because she knew that I wanted to be a doctor before an actor. I said, 'Heck yeah! I would love to!' But as my wife Leann got to the pushing part, I started getting equal parts terrified and completely exhilarated. So I put on these gloves and the next thing I know, the baby's being born. Once the head and shoulders were out, the doctor said, 'OK, grab the baby under the arms and pull it into the world!' I was so worried about pulling him out safely that I didn't even look to see if it was a boy or girl. I was just so excited to have a child! I held him up like he was Simba in The Lion King. I wanted to sing "The Circle of Life." The doctor said, "It's a boy!" and we all just started crying. It's been total bliss ever since.
Did you always picture yourself as a dad, coaching little league and all that?
Yes. My dad was a dream dad. He coached [my siblings and my] when we were growing up. I hope to be half the father he was. It'll be interesting to raise kids in New York City. I'm from suburbia, so I don't really have any experience with what it's going to be like here. I think I know where all the fields are in the city—and there's not many. We’ll have to see how this all works out.
When did you get the happy news that you were going to be a father?
We actually found out the day after Impressionism closed. One door closes and another really opens!
Any tips for fathers-to-be?
Do whatever your wife tells you to do during the pregnancy. She deserves it! And know that it's going to be surreal. Like, there was this empty bassinet in our apartment and now there’s a little human in there. That’s surreal!
Are people heaping parenting advice on you?
It hasn't been too bad. This is the first grandchild on both sides, however, so there's some very excited mothers-in-law. A phone call from home over the past nine months could quickly become, "Is the baby coming yet?" which made us laugh.
So you've helped your wife through her pregnancy offstage and have a cast full of women onstage. Are you more in touch with your feminine side now?
I'm holding up fine!
Your character sings the song “In Praise of Women.” What do you prize most about the better sex?
Women are just so much tougher and more patient than men are—their capacity for empathy blows me away. And their capacity to deal with stress for long periods of time is also kind of awe inspiring. The song calls them "creatures of grace," and they truly are. I see it in my wife, and I see it in my co-stars—Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and Angela [Lansbury] are literally superstars, and that's not easy. Their work is never done, yet somehow they remain classy through it all.
Do you consider Catherine and Angela role models for the incoming Lazar?
Oh man, yes. Can you imagine being able to sit your child on Angela's lap and say, "Do you have any words of wisdom to share?" That'd be so amazing. Especially if the kid comes out singing—which is entirely possible. And entirely terrifying.
A baby's a hell of a way to ring in a new year, by the way.
2009 was crazy enough! I can't believe I worked with Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen, Marsha Mason, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, Jack O'Brien and Trevor Nunn in the same 12 months. So to be entering 2010 with this child, surrounded by the talent that I am? It's already a great year as far as I'm concerned.