Given the amount of time Broadway actors spend at work, it’s no surprise that they enjoy a good joke—often at a co-worker’s expense! In celebration of April Fool’s Day, Broadway.com asked some of our favorite stars to share their funniest work-related pranks. In some cases, the stars initiated the practical joke; in others, the joke was on them. Read on for true tales of behind-the-scenes tomfoolery.
BILL DAWES (Paul Hornung in Lombardi)
"I was doing a play several years ago with an actor who was unflappable. We had been doing the show for a long time, and nothing seemed to derail this guy. On his last night in the show, I decided to create a three-tiered approach to breaking him.
"First, he always ate Oreo cookies right before he went on stage. I opened up the wafers, scooped out the middle, and put in huge chunks of spicy wasabi. Second, I got in cahoots with the prop guy and we created like a mini-whoopie cushion to put under the insole of his shoe so it would squeak when he walked around stage. Finally, the piece de resistance: He played a lawyer in the show and was sort of a method actor, so he would walk around the stage and make an impassioned speech to the audience defending his client (me) and refer to his yellow memo pad and flip to specific notes in it.
"Well, on this night, he flipped to a page of notes and it was covered with a huge sticker of Cartman from South Park giving him the middle finger. He blanched, flipped to a new page, and there was Kenny mooning him, then Kyle, then Stan. Exasperated, he flipped the memo pad shut and decided to pace back and forth on stage instead. SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK. He stood still, finished his speech without missing a beat and sat down next to me.
"He had beads of sweat on his forehead. Under his breath, he said, 'Joke's on you: I like wasabi.' Unflappable. Ironically, I was beet red and crying from trying not to laugh. I think I even peed a little."