Saturday, April 20

‘Frasier’ co-star returns to L.A. stage


‘Frasier’ co-star returns to L.A. stage

Butler’s performance shares experience of coming-out to
parents

By Jennifer Richmond

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Dan Butler may be best known for his straight, loud-mouthed
macho character Bulldog on the NBC series "Frasier." But he’s
nothing like that in real life.

He’s actually a modest, soft-spoken individual who’s bringing
his one-man show, "The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me
…," back to Los Angeles.

The show focuses on Butler’s personal experience with revealing
his homosexuality to his parents.

But just because the actor came out after "Frasier," doesn’t
mean his television character will disappear. He thinks it’s sort
of funny that he happened to be playing this role when he made his
sexual orientation public.

"I think it’s ironic," Butler says in a phone conversation. "I
think it’s funny because people told me they heard there was a gay
character (on "Frasier") and my character was the last one they
would have chosen."

It was because of his role on "Frasier" that Butler had to end
his run in New York early. But he’s glad the drama has returned to
Los Angeles because it’ll give those that missed it the first time
another chance to see it. But the real reason Butler says he’s
doing it again is because it’s fun.

"It’s fun to pick up something you haven’t done and bring
something new to it," the actor says.

Butler last performed the show in August and since its debut
here two years ago, Butler says he’s changed some things.

"There are two new pieces I never did in Los Angeles and the
lighting and sets in New York were extraordinary. The sets we had
here (two years ago) were sort of a hodgepodge of things," Butler
says. "It worked, but the New York sets are a bit more
classic."

Although the show is about two years old and has been through
some alterations, Butler says he first wrote it because "it needed
to be written."

"It was decided for me," the actor explains. "I was just on for
the ride. I’ve never done a one-man show and it told about
something that I felt was very important. It’s not supposed to
resolve anything, just pose questions."

And those questions usually get pretty active responses. "I
usually get two reaction from it," Butler continues. "It either
pisses people off or it moves someone in a certain way. It starts
conversations and that excites me because that’s the purpose of
theater."

One response that flattered and surprised Butler were the number
of men that asked him out after the show hit the stage.

"I think I told an interviewer the reason I did the show was to
get dates," he says with a laugh. "But I’m actually seeing someone.
It’ll be two years in April. I’m flattered by the offers, but I’m
taken."

Even though Butler is seeing someone, he says some great
friendships have come from the play. "Some people that I would have
gotten involved with have become great friends. Our conversations
were spurned on by the play which is exciting because the
relationship is based on ideas rather than sex."

While these responses were gratifying, there was one set of
responses he was a little apprehensive about – his family’s. He was
a little weary because his family has such an active role in the
show – the title comes from a conversation he had with his father
and one segment of the show consists of a taped conversation he had
with his mother.

Although his father has yet to see the play, his sister and
mother have and Butler says they were quite accepting.

"My sister’s really uneasy about talking about sex and she says
it’s not because I’m gay, but because it’s a private thing," Butler
explains. "But she saw the show and said she was blown away. She
was surprised she liked it so much.

"My mom had trouble with the profanity and didn’t really mention
her feelings about the (taped) conversation. And my Dad says he’s
afraid he’ll be seen as the villain because the title comes from a
conversation we had. Well," the actor adds, "maybe he’ll see the
film when it comes out."

Although they haven’t started filming, Gramnet’s option is one
of the reasons Butler brought the show back to L.A. Putting "The
Only Thing" back on stage will give Kelsey Grammer’s production
company a chance to see the show and decide how they want to go
about shooting it.

Although Butler plans on performing the show in two festivals
later on this year, he says he just wants to focus on getting the
play filmed.

STAGE: "The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me …".
Written and Performed by Dan Butler. Through March 24 at Theater
Geo. For ticket and time info call (213) 466-1767.Comments to
[email protected]

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