Green eyeshade: check. Adding machine: check. Work hard, say nothing: check. That’s Leo Bloom’s life as an accountant in The Producers. At least at the start of the show. As it turns out, Leo’s boss would be very wrong to write him off as simply a quiet man who follows the rules.
Leo can tap! He can sing! He can make any wild face you can imagine. And even possibly … romance the leading lady? Yep, that’s why actor Tim Marquette is having a blast playing Leo Bloom in his many transformations as he moves from meek outsider to Broadway bigshot.
“He’s definitely not a Johnny One Note by any means. He’s so quirky,” Tim says. “He’s so humble, but has this big wide-eyed desire. He’s panic-stricken; he’s nervous; he gets to do a little bit of everything.”
The Western Stage has found the perfect multi-talent for Leo Bloom. Tim has the requisite dancing feet and vocal chops (oh, that sweet tenor) for the role. He also brings along a varied background that helps him master the intricacies of the music. And you can’t top that stage presence.
The theatre bug bit early. In middle school, Tim played Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and knew right away he’d found his calling. By college he was a pianist and music major, studying vocal performance, opera and theatre at the University of Evansville in Indiana.
Tim then pursued a hybrid career in which he traveled comfortably back and forth between musical theatre and opera. He worked in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Las Vegas. In Pittsburgh he sang with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Opera. Tim also turned his talents to education and administration, teaching in the musical-theatre conservatory at Point Park University and running a high school musical-theatre company in Pittsburgh.
Along the way, Tim developed a love for traveling and a curiosity about other countries and languages. For a time, he lived in Italy and worked not only in the opera but in learning the language. He now speaks Italian and Spanish, along with some Japanese, and teaches English. For him, the study of languages and music go hand in hand. “It’s all the same side of the brain.”
Last year, Tim came to Monterey County for graduate school – and found himself back on stage. He’s studying international education management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and aspires to coordinate a study-abroad and language-learning program.
In the background, though, is always his love of theatre. When he arrived on the Central Coast, he started asking around about companies so that he could continue theatre as a hobby. People recommended The Western Stage, and he auditioned for The Producers. He’s also been teaching voice through TWS’ YOU*Theatre program, and plans to assist with next year’s 13: The Musical.
One of the best parts of working on The Producers has been Tim’s new friendships with Leo Cortez, who plays fellow theatre producer Max Bialystock; and Mindy Whitfield, who plays the vivacious dancer Ulla.
“I don’t think we ever had a rehearsal that we got through without tears rolling down our faces from sheer laughter,” Tim says.
This is the first time Tim has played Leo Bloom, but he’s no stranger to the show. In fact, he saw the Nathan Lane-Matthew Broderick production on Broadway. By chance, he was sitting next to Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.
“It was very bizarre sitting next to Mel Brooks laughing at his own jokes,” Tim says.
The Producers, with book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and music & lyrics by Mel Brooks, runs Nov. 14-Dec. 12 in the Mainstage Theater at The Western Stage. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2. For details, go to westernstage.com/tickets.