Tony Award winner and Revenge star Roger Bart guest stars on the October 10 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a high-profile talk show host who’s accused of rape by the author of a best-selling erotic novel. Fellow Broadway vet Raul Esparza also pops up as DA Rafael Barba. Bart called up Broadway.com to talk about his guest role, the return of his slimy journalist character on ABC's primetime soap Revenge and why he likes to play the creepy guy.
What can you tell us about the character you’re playing on Law & Order: SVU?
He’s a political talk show host, and the show has essences of ones like Real Time with Bill Maher or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. But the character is certainly not based on anyone in particular. He’s accused of rape by Anna Chlumsky’s character, who’s the author of an erotic novel, something like Fifty Shades of Grey. Things start to look suspicious and the media gets involved—it's all very timely and juicy.
What was it like to work with Raul Esparza?
I’ve known Raul for many years because we’ve both been so involved in musical theater in New York and all over. I’ve always admired him and been a big fan. It was lots of fun to do something with him where we didn’t have to sip hot tea backstage all day and then go out and try to hit high notes. Though, maybe we should have done that: a musical episode of Law & Order. We could have pulled that off.
When are you filming your next episode of Revenge?
Oh, I already have. Keep your eyes open.
What kind of trouble is your character, Mason “Leo” Treadwell, getting involved in this season?
I can’t tell you that! I get too scared. But it’s a lot of fun. You’ll see.
What other Broadway performers would you like to see join you on Revenge?
How about the poor cast of Rebecca? [Laughs.] Somebody like Matthew Broderick would be great. He’s, of course, a big movie star, but he would be fantastic. The show has a very particular style, and it would be great fun to see somebody like him playing one of those wild roles.
You also have the horror movie Smiley premiering this weekend. What attracts you to creepy projects or roles?
It’s always fun to do horror stories and enter into those outrageous worlds. In Smiley, I play neither a victim nor a horrible person, which is a change for me. I play Professor Clayton, and the role was appealing because he’s smart and, of course, a little bit mysterious. I was so impressed with the director, Michael Gallagher. He’s such a prolific artist, and he’s going to be very successful. It’s fun to work with directors who are my daughter’s age, and to be a part of projects that are alluring to younger audiences.
When can we look forward to seeing you back on Broadway?
You know, it’s all a matter of the timing and project being really right. There are just a handful of jobs, and so many wonderful people who are all looking to play these great roles. But I absolutely love being there, and I can’t wait to come back.
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesday nights on NBC. Click below to watch Bart in a preview for tonight's epsiode, "Twenty-Five Acts."