Hey y'all, my name's Cary Shields and I starred on Broadway in the hit musical Rent and the campy debacle that was Taboo. During that time, some crazy shit went down. Craz-y. For instance, I dated Petra Nemcova the supermodel, tsunami survivor and all around extraordinary person. I adored her, but apparently so did Die Hard himself. It didn't actually drive me insane but clearly something did because I ended up in the mental hospital for a little over week... I'm feeling much better now. I not sure what would constitute proof here, but here's what I got for now... http://imgur.com/fAHqfrK http://imgur.com/SohXpeD http://imgur.com/kAPZTta

EDIT Thank you all for questions and comments. This was heaps of fun. I'm off to get a burger from Wendy's. If I have one regret it's that my karma hasn't gone up at all. Why hasn't that happened?? Who do I talk to about this?? sigh...

EDIT 2 I included this lower in the comments, but if anyone is interested in the sort of stuff I do now, here's a link to the song I did for the Eurovision song competition to represent Romania. I didn't win though. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ipQnbXB7GM I'd love to hear what you guys honestly think as long as it's overwhelmingly positive!!

Comments: 284 • Responses: 79  • Date: 

Rokki_Sunshine104 karma

This is a great AMA. It's almost as if you wanted to chat with people rather than go on a spiel about something you're here to promote.

I like you!

9garden72 karma

And that is exactly how I feel! I'm really enjoying myself and barely noticed that I'm starting to stink up my nephew's racecar bed and my hangover is all but gone!

Rokki_Sunshine16 karma

I want a '58 Corvette bed.

Actually I want a '58 Corvette.

Or maybe just a bed.

9garden21 karma

I like you too!

world2is2my2oyster913 karma

Just curious, are you gay? Bi?

*Curious, not interested

9garden115 karma

you didn't even list straight as an option? Anyway, I'm straight. Wait, how much money we talking about?

East_Threadly61 karma

Who was better in the sack: Bruce or the supermodel? Feel free to discuss length/girth re Mr. Willis

9garden121 karma

I think I may have mislead you, it was more of a love angle with her in the middle and he and I never meeting. I was pretty impressed with his charm though and although Petra and I fought over his advances, I was secretly impressed that I was in that situation. Having said that, you can see Willis's Willy in Color of Night with Jane March in the pool scene. I remember this because it was the first time I saw Bruce Willis's wiener.

NinjaDiscoJesus42 karma


9garden201 karma

I've considered the possible implications of your question and decided that yes, I want drugs.

Bason-Jateman27 karma

Looks like you're already smoking the drugs: http://i.imgur.com/Fz3fHFV.jpg

9garden139 karma

That is a pocket trumpet, my friend, and me playing some sick jazz for ants.

comped40 karma

Got any stories about your time in RENT? (My favorite show, by the way, next to Les mis, and Bye Bye Birdie)

9garden69 karma

I loved the show. It's still my favorite thing I've ever done in my life. I did it for a number of years on the road before Broadway. In fact it was my first foray into theater. Up until then I was strictly a musician that nobody cared about (except maybe my mom).

The first week I had to perform Roger, I was in Tampa and hadn't quite figured out where to breathe when I was singing. So in the big note in the end of the show, the final "Mimiiiiiiiiiiiii" over her carcass I had twisted up my body and was out of air before I should have been. But I kept singing!! Until I completely blacked out and collapsed on her. There's quite a bit of time after that where the music swells and I'm supposed to be weeping over her dead body, so it worked out that I came to with just enough time to catch up with what was going on. Oddly nearly no one in the cast noticed onstage as it was pretty close to the blocking. But they said it sounded like "you were living your life out there". I don't think it was a compliment.

SnookSnook12 karma

I know you covered for Adam Pascal on tour. Describe that phone call, if you have a minute. :)

9garden42 karma

I was actually with him when he went to the doctor. He came out and was like, dude, I think you're going to have to go on for me for a couple of weeks because my back is screwed. First let me tell you, the guy is like a hero to me, I mean, I saw him do the role in 96 before I ever wanted to be in theater. I was in awe. After so many years and having made my own reputation, to finally get to meet him and to cover for him was an honor. And a pleasure. He is one cool MF. And that voice. And he still looks like he's in his twenties. huh, kinda missing him now. I should ring him!

brie098 karma

I just wanted to say I saw one of the shows that you covered for him for and I thought you were amazing. I was disappointed at first (sorry!), but by the end of the show, I was pretty happy.

9garden16 karma

Yeah, they are big boots to fill! Glad you didn't have to ask for a refund. It comes directly out of my paycheck.

SnookSnook6 karma

Any experience with Idina Menzel?

9garden13 karma

None at all. Met her briefly while she was getting an award for something, I'm not sure if even she knew what for, hehe.

comped5 karma

That's awesome. What years did you do it?

9garden12 karma

In NY I did it from 2002-2005 with some breaks (psychotic and otherwise). On the road I started in 97 and did it as recently as 2010 I think.

reallyjay34 karma

Is this you? If so, just want you to know I like it.

9garden33 karma

I want you to know I like you. Thanks for the compliment. I wish I had something better up for you to check out. Alas, I'm the worst promoter ever. But this is the comment that made me the happiest so far! Funny enough it wasn't the one looking for naked pictures of my ex.

reallyjay15 karma

I would be very interested in hearing more about your trip through europe. And the gypsies. Definitely want stories about what it was like to hang out with a bunch of Romanian gypsies.

9garden28 karma

They are wild guys. I mean, you're surrounded by music at all times, and cigarettes and coffee and beer. If you get into a car, someone, likely Florin, is playing guitar in the backseat.

Most of them only spoke Romanian, apart from Dan who translated everything. Though I never trusted his translations because he's a gypsy and gypsy, as a rule should not be trusted. That said, he is one of my dearest friends and I love him to death.

After a few years away from them he called me a few months ago to submit a song for the Eurovision song competition. We ended up as semi finalists to represent Romania but we lost to... well it's best you just look it up. It has to be seen to be believed. You won't regret it.

Anyway, after being away from them for so long, it was so great to see they hadn't changed at all. Florin however had decided to take up the pan flute, so wherever we'd go, it was like being followed by Zamfir or Pan, or wind chimes. I'm not a fan of pan flutes.

andrakitty10 karma

As a Romanian, this made my day sir :)

9garden10 karma

multsumesc pentru vot heheh

andrakitty2 karma

Cu placere!!! I loved the AMA, how come you visited Romania? It's not on peoples To Go list haha :)

9garden2 karma

I met a Romanian musician who ran a bar in Switzerland. We started playing together and then he put together a band of gypsy musicians from Baia Mare. Eventually we started going to play there and Satu Mare and a few other small towns. I really enjoyed it and loved the people! More recently, I was in Craiova for the Eurovision thing and then when we go into the semi finals spent a month in Bucharest. I started to pick up a very little bit of Romanian, but had the most amazing time there. I will probably go back again soon as I still have the band there and even some fans!! Which is very neat. Where are you from?

Fish-x-510 karma

It doesn't sound like Musetta's Waltz.

9garden6 karma

pick toss

shwoopityshwoop5 karma

Dude, that song sounds awesome! I've felt like staying in bed some days, too. What's your best advice at doing the opposite? You're the man for doing this AMA.

9garden31 karma

Before I give you any advice for how to get out of bed, I should note that I'm in bed. I feel like I'm being productive though, hahah. But thank you very much for the compliment! I'm also enjoying this AMA, as should be evidenced by the fact that I'm answering every freaking question. Can you smell that? The smell of a desperate plea for attention? Upvote me or I could end up looney again!

shwoopityshwoop3 karma

hahah that's funny. I can't say that I wouldn't be doing the same thing, if I was kinda famous. and yeah, the only reason I'm not in bed is because my laptop is broken. I'm glad you're feeling productive! And about the looney thing: I heard a good Dave Chappelle quote about words like "crazy". He basically said that it's dismissive, calling someone crazy. Usually it just meant that their environment was a little sick. How did your perspective on that type of stuff change, after seeing people who were "crazier" than you were? Did you feel like your problems were more easily solvable?

9garden13 karma

There was something that happened while I was there for sure. I think at first I was sure I belonged there and then I started to feel out of place. There were definitely some people who will never be able to integrate into regular society. Their minds are just gone. And others who may be helped with the right medication. I think I just needed a safe place for a while. It wasn't my first trip to the hospital, but my longest and I think the last one I will have.

It took me several years to put myself back together, but with the help of my family in particular my brother, who took me back packing through Europe and running with the bulls and sky diving in Switzerland and Cliff diving in Greece. That shit was epic. It didn't give me a lot of time to think about how miserable I was because I was busy being terrified. Anyway, I don't really know what I'm saying here, haha, I think my hangover is catching up with me.

I guess what I'm saying is I'm not sure where I fit in the spectrum, and even that varies depending on when you ask me. But at this stage in my journey, I'm grateful for all of those experiences that brought me to this point right now.

crluen27 karma

Is it possible that the first three weren't true and your belief in them led to the last part of the title?

9garden27 karma

You just blew my freaking mind.

toggib24 karma


9garden66 karma

I have a wonderful girlfriend now but it's a funny thing, everyone I have date since Petra always say the same thing. I'll say I think you're beautiful, and they invariably demure and say, but you dated a supermodel. And then I say, "yeah that's true, but she smelled funny". Which isn't true, she smelled of peaches and champagne, but I find it makes them feel better.

As far as that ego boost goes, heheh, it was crazy. I mean nuts. I really thought I was the shit for a while. I mean, I probably was as close to being the shit as I'll ever be. It went to my head for sure, or at least messed with it. I don't think I was ever insufferable, especially constantly being surrounded by some of the most beautiful and talented people in the world. But it was still nice to know I was sleeping with one of the hottest women in the world.

My mental history is long, but I was on a downward spiral long before Petra. Mostly having to do with performance anxiety and another girl (sigh). To get a little personal, I was self harming a lot. I'd burn myself or give myself black eyes and have to make up excuses at work and have makeup try and cover it. Blech. It was awful. The whole thing reached an unbelievable, truly epic climax right around this time. If you really wanted to know that story I'll tell you, but it's long, hahah.

toggib11 karma


9garden64 karma

Well, I think this is wrapping up, so I'll tell you a quick version of this story and then get some burgers or something... Ok...

So a year before all this happened I was visiting Toronto on a couple of days off from the show. I went to visit a friend of mine, Adam, at his work in a restaurant downtown. Right as I walk in these guys take off from the patio and ditch the bill. Adam takes off after them, and I follow Adam. One guy goes one way, Adam follows the other and I follow Adam again. They round a corner and when I catch up, they guy is pointing a knife at Adam and then stabs him in the gut!! Then he takes off again. I run to Adam and say, "Adam, are you stabbed?" and he's all, "I think so" with blood pouring out of his gut. So I continue on after the stabber and then chase him down a busy street eventually knocking him into a window. He drops the knife, and I put him in a headlock and pick up the knife and walk back to Adam where he sat bleeding all over the street.

I hold the guy there waiting for the cops who ask me to keep him down until they can cuff him etc. Anyway, we go to the hospital and Adam comes out of trauma and I guess he's ok. The knife went in about 4cm into a soft bit of belly fat.

The police catch up with us while he's getting stitched up and I have to make a statement. I tell the cop what I tell you now and he says, "Wow, you're a real hero! I'm going to recommend you for this citizen citation." So I'm supposed to get a thing from the chief of police and whatnot.

Fast forward one year. I'm with Petra, just out of the hospital, not my best self and my mom calls and tells me "the police want to give you this award and I know you feel like shit, but do you want to come and get it, or they can mail it to you."

I tell Petra and she says, "Why don't we go tomorrow and I'll buy you a suit and put you on the plane you can get the award and come back in two days. It'll make you feel much better." I'm not convinced, but we go shopping at Bergdorf and Goodman's and she buys me this $4000 dollar suit from Spencer Hart, Nick Hart the designer happens to be there from London. So she's fussing with on cuff and he's telling me how great I look in this suit. I have a vodka peach juice and an ativan while I stand there to celebrate.

I get on the plane that evening have a couple more drinks. I'm wearing my suit because I can't wait to show everyone. I meet Adam back at his bar again. Have a drink, more lithium and ativan. Feeling fine... Go to visit an ex girlfriend at her bar, she gives me a couple more drinks, tells me she cares for me but she's not ready to be at the ceremony tomorrow for the award. The rest is kind of dreamy for a while, but we argue, she cries while she tends the bar and I leave. Then I come back.


So they don't let me in and say, leave or were calling the police. I say, "fine call the police". Then the police come and say, leave or we're arresting you. I say, "so fine, arrest me". So they cuff me, throw me in the back of the wagon and take me to jail. I strip out of my suit and spread my ass for them. Take off my new Prada shoes so I can't hang myself in the cell. So I sit there alone in this sell, back in my suit, sans belt and shoes.

Then I start singing show tunes. Everyone else is making a lot of noise so I thought I would too. One guy is shouting, "Flinstone's meet the Flintstone's" Over and over. One guy keeps shouting for his lawyer. I can't see anyone's cell though, they are just disembodied voices. I start to smash my face against the bars and end up closing my eye completely and getting a nasty bump on my head.

In the morning, they release me and my mom and Adam are waiting to pick me up at the station. It's about 11am. At twelve I have to go to the ceremony. I go smoke a bowl at Adam's place and lose my mind a bit. Then I head to the ceremony, my suit worse for wear and my eye swollen shut and purple. I go up when my name is called and get the award from the chief and he comments on my eye. Then I go around to shake all of the officers hands who are all now wearing white gloves.

One guy from the year before says, I remember you, you were a real hero that night thank you for the help. And the guy right next to him is from the night before, older and gruff, he says,"yeah and I've known this guy a long time and if he says you're ok, I guess you're ok."

And that was it. The moment I realized I would be telling this story until I died.

Blarmb6 karma

Is it the truth? "I think you're beautiful", I mean. Are you actually still physically attracted to normal women, or is (wonderful person thing aside), a matter of "Taking what you can get"?

How does the sex compare? Is your mind in the moment or are you thinking the past

9garden26 karma

I really don't think it was the be all end all. I mean, Petra wasn't really my "type" as stunning as she was. So it may sound disingenuous, but I know I've dated girls I find more attractive. Either way, I still don't compare one to the next. And I don't think I've ever tried to think of the past if I'm with someone else.

maclo417 karma

What is it like being in a broadway musical?

9garden65 karma

It's so cool. It's like this little club. You go out for dinner and run into Matthew Broderick and share a plate of Oysters with him... Funny story, when I met him for the first time we talked about his wife and I said "I love the show Weed's" thinking Mary Louise Parker was his wife (he's actually married to Sarah Jessica Parker). I don't know if he made the connection or just thought I was prone to random interjections.

I miss it. A lot. I'm happy of course, but there is something about that level of fame that suits me just fine. You perform for 2000 people and then go outside and sign autographs for 20 minutes and then hop on the A train and no one knows you or gives a shit about you. Maybe once or twice a month you get asked on the street if you are so and so. Ideal if you ask me.

vvh36 karma

You shared your oysters? Good man. Above and beyond.

9garden12 karma

They were his oysters. It was actually the first time I'd tried oysters. I've acquired a taste for them if only to be able to tell the story to any waiter that will listen.

Cal_Short17 karma

How did you and Petra meet?

9garden116 karma

She came to see Rent and sat in the second row. I noticed her because she's hard not to notice and flirted with her through the entire second act. This is of course terrible etiquette for a stage actor. Nevertheless, I'd smile at her and she'd smile back. I had no idea who she was, but she was stunning. Anyway, she waited after the show with her sister and a friend and asked me if I knew anywhere to go in the city because she didn't really know of anything. I suggested the hotel bar at the Edison where I drank after most of the shows. I had no idea she was being very coy. Later we ended up a club and the doors flew open for her and that's when I started to get that she wasn't just some cute eastern European girl who liked musicals. We made a date for the next day and that's when she explained who she was and that she had seen the show before and came back to meet me. It was at that moment I realized I was the coolest guy I knew.

AdaAstra12 karma

Dude, you were in Rent? Badass.

9garden18 karma


BrutallyHonestDude10 karma


9garden14 karma

I'm still a fan!

BrutallyHonestDude7 karma


9garden45 karma

I really couldn't say based on the small interaction we had while he was trying to fuck my... oh wait... yeah, he's an asshole.

DenverStud8 karma

You seem like a cool, normal guy... which is not the persona usually attached to New Yorkers, and especially theater types. My sister is in theater and I don't think she has a normal friend out of all the guys I've met.

Anyway, I'm thinking about dabbling in going off the deep end a little bit here (I work in finance and it's super stressful, GF and I broke up after 3 years, just moved to Denver and don't know anyone etc.) Any tips for the aspiring madman? My downward spiral appears to be picking up speed and I really want to do this right!

*Although this comment was made with a facetious tone, I'm actually serious.

9garden15 karma

heheh, I hear you mate. While I am more than a little mad, I don't know that I have much of a method. I'm sorry to hear about the relationship. I'm three years deep myself and wouldn't deal well if that didn't work out at this point. Are you a drinker? Or capable of it? The drink has been a wondrous tool for madness throughout the ages. It may aid your descent and soften the blow. And thus, the worst advice ever was given.

Or I dunno, if you just wanna chat, shoot me another message. I can never have too many friends in finance, hahah. Take heart, this too shall pass.

DenverStud5 karma

You know I've actually tried to become an alcoholic on a number of occasions, and it just doesn't seem to catch on. I was pretty drunk over the weekend in Vegas (but then again, who wasn't...) but other than times like that, I just can't seem to pull it off. Life can be frustrating like that.

I'm tempted to say more things that I perceive about you, but then I remembered what someone famous said once... People feel like they know you because they've seen your show or listened to you speak dozens of times, but they forget that they really don't know you. So when they rush out after you to get your autograph, they feel like there's a real relationship there even though neither people really know know a thing about each other. That being said and thrown out post-haste, you're the kind of guy that makes friends quickly. Hell, from this thread, you've convinced a few hundred people of that in just an afternoon.

And as far as finance goes... I'm not like the power-suit sporting, hair slicked Patrick Bateman type from American Psycho. No, I'm in personal finance... compared to those guys I wonder why I have anything to worry about. Haha and if only more people felt like they needed more friends in finance, things would be better for both me and them.

Thanks for doing the AMA man, it's nice to hear you're doing a ton better... and congratulations on ~3 years. This world is about people, I know that much. Thanks for being good people.

LS_D4 karma

you need to try cocaine! That'll fuck you up without trying too hard!

9garden2 karma

And perfect for finance to boot!

coolhandluck8 karma

What has been going on with your career lately?

9garden25 karma

Not a whole lot, mate. I'm doing the slow play... gonna make a comeback sometime in the 2020's.

whackojacqo6 karma

Do you still play music? You should put some stuff online if not. Could have a potentially big reddit following going on.

9garden8 karma

I'm encouraged to do just that. Hopefully I don't miss the boat. I'm overwhelmed by the support. With any luck the music will live up. In the meantime, check my submission for the Eurovision competition (I was a semi finalist for Romania, hahah). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ipQnbXB7GM

Gravy_Devastation7 karma

Was it nice in the nut house?

9garden53 karma

It wasn't bad... Like, not as bad as I thought it would be. I had my own room, though some others shared. The staff was nice. The patients were fascinating and really represented a wide array of crazy. There were a few freak outs in the short time I was there (just under a couple of weeks) but nothing too serious. It was slightly less cozy than a dorm in a college but comparable. They had board games and other fun activities. I played probably the most hysterical game of Clue with four other lunatics. It didn't progress very far and ended up with some drooling, screaming, and one unconscious Asian kid.

Ogbu6 karma

Do you have a diagnosed mental illness, or was it more like a nervous breakdown?

Also, always envious and proud of a working actor!

9garden16 karma

I suck up your envy like a milkshake. Even though it's predicated on the mistaken belief that I'm working anymore.

As for my mental illness, I've been diagnosed bi-polar but I don't know about any of it. I really am not sure what was/is wrong with me.

Cal_Short6 karma

Views on Bruce Willis?

9garden36 karma

There was one night that we were all out at some club, I really don't remember the name, but one of those places fancy people go to. At the end of the night I saw Bruce slip away to go home. On his way out (and mind you he was hitting on Petra all night) he passed these two hot young girls by the door. He exited, returned about 3 seconds later leaned in and whispered something to them, and they immediately left together. In my mind, that will always be some kind of cool. I've always liked the guys work. Hence how intimidating the whole situation was.

keysandchange6 karma

Where do you play in the city? I'm gonna come buy you a drink, this AMA is great!

9garden3 karma

I'm in Toronto now, is that where you are? Cause if so, come buy me that drink!!! Find me at the Fox and Fiddle on Spadina and Fort York. If I'm not there, ask for me and someone will call. It's my local, hahah!

BlackMissionGoggles5 karma

How many Hudson Hawk jokes did you get to make to Bruce?

9garden13 karma

You didn't like Hudson Hawk?? I'm not saying it was a masterpiece, but my family watches it every year on the winter solstice. It gets better on the tenth viewing.

BlackMissionGoggles9 karma

Hudson Hawk is an unintentional masterpiece, though I don't think Willis wants to acknowledge its existence.

9garden17 karma

Agreed, but it never did come up in the six words I managed to say to him while he hit on my girlfriend. He's pretty intimidating. Also dreamy.

ha1der5 karma


9garden24 karma

Nah... we stayed in contact for a while, but we're ex's and I think we fulfilled the roles we were meant to in each others lives. She was meant to pull me back from the brink of oblivion and I was meant to... to... I'm sure I wasn't a terrible boyfriend.

Tortured_Sole4 karma

I think we fulfilled the roles we were meant to in each others lives.

I love that phrase, made me feel a bit sad about a couple of my Ex's but hits the nail on the head. The relationship served it's purpose.

9garden2 karma

Yeah, 'tis the very heart of bittersweet.

wathappen5 karma


9garden38 karma

wait by the stage door, not during a matinee, and try to make eye contact when she exits. If she smiles back, you're in. I suggest having a box with you and cutting a small hole in the bottom. then... put... put your dick in it.

TongueDartTheFartBox15 karma

And people say chivalry is dead

9garden15 karma

You can't argue with results.

OHMEGA5 karma

Drug of choice?

9garden32 karma

Pot and booze. Always the one before the other or I want to throw up. You know what they say, pot before beer, never fear. Beer before pot, spins you got. Well... I used to say it.

pteroso4 karma

How scary was it when you were rescued from that building fire in Interlaken?

9garden8 karma

HA! It was pretty nerve wracking. I woke up choking on smoke and then opened the door to my room to find the floor gone and flames and smoke billowing in. I was kind of panicked and left through the tiny window to see a street fair outside. I was trying to remember the German word for "Fire". They seemed to think it was funny, but I thought I was done for. More likely because I was likely going to fall to my death because the ledge I was balancing on was giving way. Anyway, suffice it to say the Swiss build better window ledges than I gave them credit for. I hung out on it for about 15 minutes until the fire guys showed up and helped me down. It was my last day in Switzerland and my house burned down. So odd. I was just back there a few months ago and the building is gorgeous. Nice renovation. I am curious where you found that information...

aramisbjj6 karma

Fire in DE: Feuer

9garden3 karma


totallyaaccountname4 karma

I remember this request and you posting about it. Tell US your story

9garden5 karma

I think because I lack an objective perspective, I'm interested in what people want to know, you know? Like, I'm not sure the details I think are interesting would interest anyone else. I just thought this might be fun and help me know how to tell the story again later. Also it keeps me focused, I could ramble for days about all of this without getting anywhere. It was a very exciting and confusing time for me.

fatima_gruntanus4 karma

Write. WRITE. You're good at it. (Seriously).

9garden7 karma

That would be an awesome 3rd act to my life. I'm just working up the nerve. Or being super lazy. Thank you. (Seriously).

Lumind1234 karma

Can I please buy you a couple of drinks?? Lol

9garden13 karma

yes, please have them sent to the Fox and the Fiddle in Toronto. I will be there to claim them shortly. Please feel free to join me and I'll return the favor!

downwithwebster2 karma

Which location? :)

9garden3 karma

heheh, Spadina and Fort York.

blinkdmb4 karma

My Rent obsessed wife said your leaving the show is like one of the biggest controversy's, she would love to know why you left the show on Broadway the final time.

9garden8 karma

The short answer is I had a breakdown just before the curtain after a fight with one of the cast members I had dated. After I left, there was immediate and nasty speculation about what had happened in the theater. Though it was pure fancy, it was clear something had gone from the walls of the theater and on to the street. I felt betrayed by my cast mates and more than a little brokenhearted. I ended up in the mental hospital that weekend and though I was invited to continue my contract I wasn't ready to deal with it. After about five weeks in limbo, they informed me they had to replace me.

Tiberius6663 karma

So overall, was it a good ride while it lasted?

9garden5 karma

The best. No regrets.

littlewitch343 karma

What's your favorite show (or top 5? It's hard to pick favorites!)? Do you listen to the songs from musicals for fun?

9garden11 karma

Okay, pretty easy question...

I love Rent, Les Miserables, Chess!!, Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy. I listen to some musicals for fun for sure! Some I sing at the top of my lungs and imagine one day getting to do it. Like, man, to get to be Judas?? Or the American in Chess??? Wow, that would be cool.

mylifeisabore3 karma

ok, I'll ask...Petra the best you ever bedded? I'm not talking about appearance. But, "performance." Feel free to ignore my perverted question.

9garden19 karma

A gentleman never tells. But I will tell you a quick story that wouldn't get me into trouble. I was sleeping and then she started sucking my big toe and it startled me and I kicked her in the face. That's as much detail as your going to get from me, buster... Unless it's over drinks and then I get chatty.

BeMoreChill2 karma

Did the character you played have aids?

9garden34 karma

Everyone has Aids!

comped2 karma

Not quite- Maureen/Joanne do not. They did (I believe) in the NYTW production (where many of the songs didn't even exist -shudder- -begins to sing- For someone cool, you're a fool...)

9garden9 karma

Indeed, I was just riffing on the parody they did in Team America World Police. But yeahhhh, now that you sing that song, I vaguely remember hearing it and thinking, wow... that was nearly in the show.

batboysings2 karma

Wait, nobody has asked you about Taboo! I love that show. What was it like? How did it feel to close early?

9garden3 karma

I totally loved the experience and there were some serious performers I got to work opposite. Raul Esperza and Jeffery Carlson in particular really showed me how to act on another level. Rosie was terrific to me and fun to watch manage George, who was a space cadet. The whole thing felt like it wasn't exactly holding together, and there was a certain manic energy especially as we approached the opening night. All in all, I don't think it was ever going to last too long. Sometimes things are too strange to live and too beautiful to die. This might have been something like that, haha.

ideatoaster2 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA. why did you end in the mental hospital? What do you have? Do you think it might be caused by drugs? I wish you the best. Get well soon :)

9garden2 karma

Why does everyone think I'm on drugs?? heheh, I should mention this all happened some time ago, 2004-2005 and I've since made a complete recovery, though it certainly had a price. But thank you sincerely for your concern.

matthewbattista2 karma

My wife recently graduated from Point Park with her BFA in MT. Any advice for someone looking to break into the business?

9garden4 karma

location, location, location. Everyday there are hundreds of auditions for shows worldwide held in NYC. If you're not there, you're just not going to get those opportunities. Broadways is one thing, but just about any touring production (which are awesome) or even reputable regional theaters will hold a call in NY. I just looked to see where Point Park is... I would think that's close enough is she's willing to make constant trips. It's important to be seen though. Become familiar so that someone thinks of you when they go home. Sometimes that doesn't happen in the 10 minute audition time you have, but it might happen when you bump into them at Joshua Tree or the Hourglass. But what do I know? I haven't worked in ages, haha.

puredemo2 karma

So what ended up happening with the love triangle? Did Bruce end up with Petra Nemcova for some time after you?

9garden14 karma

We parted ways shortly thereafter. She never ended up with Bruce. After me she dated James Blunt. Soooooo... I don't know what to say about that.

pavlovsdaughter2 karma

I'm about to attend college in the fall to major in musical theatre. I starred in only one musical during high school, but have acted in three total musicals. Obviously, high school theatre is completely different than real world theatre. If all goes well for me, I plan on moving to New York once I am done with my education. Are there any tips you can give me for surviving in "real world" theatre? What was it like on Broadway? How many shows a week did you have? How many hours of rehearsal? What was auditioning like? What do Broadway directors look for in their cast?

9garden6 karma

Hey, have a great time in college and best of luck, it's definitely nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try. To answer some of your easier questions, we do 8 shows a week and rehearse for about 6 weeks leading up to a show. After that it's maintenance and you typically don't rehearse much once the show is up and running. Maybe once every two weeks. It's a pretty exhausting schedule, especially 5 show weekends, so it's important, crucial in fact, to keep yourself healthy. Drink lots of water!

Ottawa_R2 karma

What are you up to now?

9garden19 karma

I'm pretty normal. I play music in bars for a living. Nothing too exciting, but I'm still very happy that I make a living doing something I love. I literally prefer to work over having a day off, so that's something. I write music, some of it isn't terrible. I still have aspirations to perform on Broadway again, but one never knows. I travel extensively and bring a guitar wherever I go, like Richie Valens in La Bamba. Or like a dirty hippie.

JoeGideon2 karma

You're like a Myron Floren for the new millennium. Thanks for your artistry.

9garden2 karma

I'm flattered by the comparison.

insaniac872 karma

I'll be honest and admit I have no clue who you are! From what I googled and such you seem like a very sincere guy though. You do seem to have a great deal of life under your belt already though, both intentionally and not.

What is the biggest part of your life that sticks out to you as a make or break point for the person you are today?

After dating a supermodel and competing with Bruce Willis over her romances, would you say this gave you a taste for simpler things and people, or a thirst for more experiences like it?

You've said elsewhere your mental health history is long and you have even been hospitalized due to it. Having experienced the medical fields at large inexperience with mental illness and societies general educational gap concerning mental health, where do you your opinions stand on a need for more research into mental health?

Mayo or Miracle Whip?

9garden9 karma

What a thoughtful comment/question. Where do I start... Mayo. Okay one down. Next working backwards, I really think there needs to be a lot more research going into mental health. I can't comment very intelligently on the matter, but I don't feel like I've seen too many people who've had their situations improved by the current forms of treatment. Everyone is being diagnosed with some disorder or other and put on some kind of meds that were meant for something else that has the side effect of alleviating depression, but may also cause suicidal tendencies. It's hard to understand the process there. But I'm not an academic so aside from shaking my fist and giving anecdotal evidence, I really don't have any idea what I'm talking about.

What I do know is that my experience with Petra and Bruce and the show life were incredible and I would love to experience that again. Having said that, I took off and lived in Thailand for the last couple of years, played in a restaurant by the water. I found that equally fulfilling. I also took a job as a maid in a Switzerland hostel making bed and cleaning up shit from students on their gap year. Then I joined a band of gypsies in Romania. I love that I have stories almost as much as I enjoyed the years of semi-stardom. Gone, but not forgotten.

So to answer your first question, mmmmmm, sort of.

talbottron2 karma

Saw you in RENT back in 04 or 05 and really enjoyed your performance. If I remember correctly I feel like you had a lot of fan girls in the audience. Was this just par for the course in a show such as RENT, which attracts such a young audience? Did any fan girls ever get overbearing or think they were actually friends with the cast? Did any fan girls actually BECOME friends the cast, or even date them?

Also, saw some posts above about how you noticed her in the second row and flirted through the second act, is this a common thing for actors to do? I was under the impression you can't see the audience from onstage.

Anyway, thanks for posting. Glad to hear things are going well! Again, really enjoyed your performance.

Edit: a word.

9garden6 karma

Rent certainly had it's fair share of groupies. Some became friends others were sort of creepy. It's unlikely they knew which category they fit into. I personally had problems with some of the girls (and guys) that felt they were owed something. But for the most part, it was nice to be appreciated and a lot of them were terrific people who were just a tad obsessive! It's funny to see that as time went on, some of the girls grew up from screaming teenagers to become lawyers and actors and doctors. It's pretty cool actually!

As far as dating a fan? I'm sure it's happened, but that would have been super infrequent.

As far as flirting with the audience, I can only speak for myself. I think it's unprofessional to break the 4th wall to wink at someone in the orchestra seats, but I did it lots. I'm not the best actor out there. Kind of a dilettante really. So I would think most people really frown on that sort to thing.

And I'm glad you enjoyed the show! Thanks so much.

pteroso2 karma

I was lucky to hear you in Rent on Broadway. I am a big fan!

9garden1 karma

My humble thanks. I'm very happy to hear that. Today was a good day!

andicotsteel1 karma

Have you always had mental issues or did they just come on recently? Just curious. I always just assume that entertainers are generally unstable in general and that is what drives them to have to perform and crave attention and in many cases due nutty things and in some cases publicly burn out. I am not saying this in a negative way I am sincerely interested in hearing your take. Could you just be a normal person who has a job like everyone else or is that totally repulsive to you?

9garden3 karma

In my experience, your assumption is correct. I don't think I could have a normal life though, just because I'm through the looking glass or whatever. I much prefer doing things the way that I do even though the downside can be brutal. I'm poor most of the time, I find myself in sticky situations often times, and there is really nothing stable in my life except my family and friends. Still, I've made my bed and now I'll lie in it and I'll be cozy there!

Prince_Hal1 karma

Wow, man. I'd like to get a drink with you some time. Do you live in/around Maryland? Drinks on me at the best bar in Annapolis. You seem like the coolest friend I haven't met yet.

9garden1 karma

Thanks mate! I'm in Toronto at the moment, but drinks sound nice, heheh.

Prince_Hal1 karma

Damn! Paris here. Know any good bars in the city of love? Here with my girlfriend. I'll be in Toronto later on this year, so if you have any suggestions for there, let me know!

9garden1 karma

oh man, jealous. Definitely shoot me a message when you're in town. I know all the spots, heheh. Have a wicked time in Paris.

MusicChic1 karma

So, I'm planning to major in theater and (hopefully) make it to Broadway. Any advice on the auditioning process? Or acting tips in general?

9garden1 karma

Auditioning is tough. No two ways about it. Get good at that. Adam Pascal and I talked about it a few times. He was saying, man if people didn't just call and ask me to be in something, I'd never work again because I suck at auditions. But it's pretty hard to bypass that stage, so I recommend putting some time into figuring out how to show what you would or could do in a role in that short time. Also, how to bring something memorable to the room. Not gimmicky because that's transparent, but if you can be witty, and open, likable beyond just being talented, it goes a long way!

Thengine1 karma

How long did you date Petra?

It must be a little mind-blowing to have a supermodel stalk you at where you work.

Was the crazy shit all involving Bruce or did other drama crop up?

9garden4 karma

Petra and I were together for 6 or 7 months.

I was mind blown!

The crazy shit actually had very little to do with Bruce, or Petra for that matter, although she was a godsend. I wonder what would have happened if she hadn't found me at that time and taken such good care of me. My life was disintegrating and she was supportive, understanding, and probably the most beautiful person I've ever met.

oneday7521 karma

Favorite Bruce Willis film?

9garden3 karma

GI Joe Retaliation

drdorken1 karma

Was Bruce cool toward you or was he being a dick?

9garden6 karma

He barely acknowledged me, but in fairness I was nervous around him and tried to avoid eye contact.

skibbityboo1 karma

How was life in the mental hospital? Was the food decent?

9garden5 karma

The food was alright. I remember eggs like you might get at McDonald's and cheese sandwiches. Pretty tasteless stuff but it wasn't on my top list of things to worry about while I was there. I lost weight though, which wasn't bad.

SnowGN1 karma

You shouldn't be doing this AMA. I would put a high probability on one of Petra's friends/fans/whatever forwarding it to her very soon, if not already.

9garden7 karma

I would think I haven't said anything that should put her or her reputation at any risk. It's personal stuff, but it's my life too. Trust me I considered and worried about this as well. And honestly I haven't had any contact with her for a while, but I don't see what she would object to. As far as I know she is married or engaged now and I'm sure being the same amazing person she always was. I think telling my story doesn't betray that. As far as the Bruce angle, it's nothing the Post hasn't already reported on.

Out of concern, why do you think I ought not write about one of the single most interesting events/people in my life?

nonotmenever2 karma


So you can never talk about your ex with other people?

If he had a nervous breakdown or whatever it was that put him into the mental hospital, then this is one of the things he should NOT care about. Good for him if he can just get whatever topic off his chest and move on with life.

9garden2 karma

yeahhhhh, thanks mate.

[deleted]-1 karma


9garden4 karma

Essentially, I was dating Petra, and Bruce was making a serious play for her. It was reported in the Daily News and Post on a pretty regular basis. So I'd be going to work and reading about him asking someone for Petra's number or being overheard somewhere. Gossip kind of stuff. She explained to me that their relationship was not romantic and that she is accustomed to people falling for her a little at first and then getting over it. I'm 99% sure nothing ever happened between them because she is perhaps the most sweet and pure human being I've met. Still, there was the time he flew her out to the Borgata for his birthday to see Tony Bennett on a private jet. I wondered aloud why I wasn't invited.

IamVeryLost-3 karma

Nude pics of Petra would be a good start for proof!

9garden11 karma

meh, she wasn't very attractive naked. Too tall and curvy and tanned for my taste.