Interview: DREW DROEGE (currently performing in Off-Broadway’s TITANÍQUE)

Post image for Interview: DREW DROEGE (currently performing in Off-Broadway’s TITANÍQUE)

by Gregory Fletcher on September 27, 2023

in Interviews,Theater-New York


Drew Droege has stepped into the role of Ruth, Rose’s mother, after Titaníque’s first year of performances at Off-Broadway’s Daryl Roth Theatre. He’s performed two solo shows in New York at the Soho Playhouse: Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, and Happy Birthday Doug. In L.A., he’s done Die Mommie Die!, Bitches, The Golden Girlz Live, and The Groundlings. His numerous film credits include Queer, Poolman, Fool’s Paradise, MeTime, Ideal Home, Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and Eating Out: Drama Camp. TV credits include Housebroken, Your Honor, Bob’s Burgers, Search Party, The Goldbergs, The Great North, Key & Peele, Drunk History and Heathers.

Droege first came to Stage and Cinema‘s attention in a series of hilarious, absurdist videos he began doing in 2010, where he created a sublime, alternate universe version of actress and fashion icon Chloë Sevigny. He celebrates Sevigny even as he parodies her eccentric public pronouncements. His approach to her is suffused with idiosyncratic language and pronunciation and a lot of affection.

His LOL performance in Titaníque, along with the rest of the cast, is a must see. If you’re not already a fan, you will be soon.

Stage and Cinema’s Gregory Fletcher became a new fan and got to hear about Drew’s most recent success.

GREGORY FLETCHER: Congratulations on stepping into Titaníque so effortlessly—as if you originated the role. How much time did you have to prepare in rehearsals before your put in?

DREW DROEGE: Thank you! I am so thrilled to be here. Well, I’ve known and loved the show creators, Marla, Constantine, Tye, and Nicholas, for over eight years since we’ve worked together on several other stage shows in LA. When they conceived Titaníque, they created the character of Ruth for me, but I wasn’t able to do it at the time. I became a fan of the show, watched so many brilliant actors do this role, and I kinda thought I’d never get to do it. So, when they called this time, I immediately leapt aboard the ship of dreams! And then I had a week of rehearsal before I jumped in with this cast.

FLETCHER: It must be a tricky balance to be put into an existing comedy performance that’s been around for over a year. I’m guessing you had to adapt to much of the existing blocking, but how much freedom were you given to make it your own?

DROEGE: Yes, it is tricky. I’ve never been a replacement or joined a company mid-run. Yes, the role was written with me in mind, but so much has evolved in the creative process. There have been half a dozen genius Ruths before me who are responsible for her success. I just saw the show in June, and Russell Daniels absolutely blew me away. Even though it might seem like everything is loose and going off the rails, it’s actually a very well-constructed machine that knows what works and what doesn’t, so I’ve had to trust that. And the company has been really collaborative with me, so I could, as Tye Blue stated, “put the Droege stank on it.”

Drew as "Ruth" in Titaníque

FLETCHER: There are a fair share of moments that allow you to improvise because I noticed you cracked up a few of your scene partners onstage—and even the keyboard player from the platform above. Lots of funny Harvey Korman-moments of trying-to-keep-it-together, but you yourself did a great job at not breaking. Your experience with the famous long-time improv troupe The Groundlings must’ve trained you from cracking up. What’s the secret?

DROEGE: Well, I always think it’s easier to be the attacker. I can focus on the rage of the moment and the specificity of the words. When I’ve had to play the victim and bear witness to someone else’s ridiculous meltdown, I find it almost impossible to not laugh. Lindsay Pearce has to basically just watch me flail and growl and insult her, and she can’t fight back—that is harder. I had a brilliant Groundlings teacher, Patrick Bristow, who used to say, “When you’re breaking on stage, get good and Catholic with yourself. Tell yourself ‘how dare you.’ Shame yourself back to the moment.”

Drew as "Ruth" in Titaníque

FLETCHER: Which scene do you look forward to the most?

DROEGE: Of course, I love my grand dame meltdown experience each night. I get to do and say so much wild stuff, but also, I think it’s where we finally understand this character and what’s at stake for her. However, I LOVE “River Deep Mountain High.” I can’t really say more about it for those who haven’t seen it, but that’s honestly what I look forward to the most.

FLETCHER: What was the most challenging part of the show for you?

DROEGE: I have always said that I’m not good enough to be in the chorus. I am not a singer or a dancer, so I just try not to screw up group numbers and step on people (when I’m not supposed to).

Drew as Chloë Sevigny

FLETCHER: I’m sorry you don’t get a song, but I loved your Bette Davis rendition on your turn with lyrics. What other impersonations fit you like a glove? And speaking of which, how did your Chloë Sevigny parody videos come about?

DROEGE: Hahaha, I am NOT sorry that I don’t have a song. I’ve been watching lots of Lauren Bacall and Joan Crawford clips for inspiration. Bacall, despite being one of the world’s greatest movie stars, wanted nothing more than to be on Broadway. Crawford was glamorous and intelligent but wasn’t formally educated and was insecure about her upbringing. I don’t think I’m great at impressions. I like to blow up aspects of someone’s point of view. I mean, I look like Chloë Sevigny but am truly fascinated by her hyper-specific existence—that’s more accessible to me than really capturing her mannerisms and voice.

Drew in Bright Colors Bold Patterns (Russ Roland)

FLETCHER: I know you’ve done two solo shows at the Soho Playhouse in 2018 and 2022, which I’m guessing is very different from a big show like Titaníque. What other training besides The Groundlings helped prepare you for this experience?

DROEGE: I have done tons of parodies: The Golden Girls, The Devil Wears Prada, Troop Beverly Hills, Little House on the Prairie, I Know What You Did Last Donna Summer, Are You There God It’s Me Karen Carpenter—need I continue? Plus, I think having worked on the plays of Charles Busch and Justin Sayre also really helped prepare me for this. You just have to commit to the lunacy as your truth and hope it works night after night!

FLETCHER: From whom do you credit for acquiring your comedy chops?

DROEGE: I always have to mention my comedy godparents, Carol Burnett and John Waters. I learned everything from watching them. When I was a student at The Groundlings, I was so lucky to witness Jennifer Coolidge and Will Forte, who both continue to inspire me. And I had incredible teachers like Patrick Bristow, Tim Bagley, and Jennifer Joyce who taught me so much about creating characters and finding my own voice.

Drew Droege in Die, Mommie, Die! (Craig Schwartz)

FLETCHER: You’ve had a lot of film and TV exposure; is it harder to do comedy in that medium without an audience than it is live? Which do you prefer?

DROEGE: I do think film and TV is harder, especially when I’m coming in as a guest star or a smaller role for a few days. I often struggle with the tone and don’t know if I fit into the world of the show. When you’re on stage together, you immediately marinate faster and become a family. I love that. But I also love getting to stretch in independent movies and more subtle roles on camera. I’m really grateful when I get that challenge, too. So, I guess I prefer to be working, whatever that looks like each day!

Margaret Cho and Lorraine Newman on Drew's Minor Revelations

FLETCHER: I started following your podcast, which looks like it’s been around a long time. Minor Revelations with Drew Droege. Your podcast wasn’t a COVID give-me-something-to-do project, so I’m guessing you must be one of the founding fathers of podcasts. Now that you’re settled into Titaníque, will you start them up again while in New York?

DROEGE: Thank you! Oh no, I started Minor Revelations in 2016 because I was going on other people’s shows and just repeating the same talking points. I felt like, as creative people, we all have so much more. And lots of funny people are deep thinkers and feelers and often don’t get to express those sides of themselves. Then I “took a break” in 2017, and it took 6 years to bring it back this year! I’m not able to do it while I’m in NYC, so I’m taking another break—hopefully this time it will be a shorter one.

Drew Droege in Happy Birthday Doug (streaming on BroadwayHD)

FLETCHER: How long is your contract with Titaníque? Might we have won you over to remain in NYC or do you call LA home?

DROEGE: I honestly don’t know how long I can stay in the show. I’m having a blast and hope I can be here for a while. I love working and being in New York—performing on stage in this city has been my dream all my life. But I do still call LA home. I hope to just bounce between both places for the rest of my life!

FLETCHER: And no doubt your fans will happily bounce with you—how nice for us all.

@titaniquemusical (IG)
@titanique (TW)

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