Relax and Take Ten with Wood Van Meter, appearing in Last Train to Nibroc at the Washington Stage Guild through February 19. Whether drawing inspiration from a youthful encounter with Donny Osmond or dreaming of a rendezvous with the Dixie Chicks, Wood is thrilled to find his home in the Washington theatre community.
1) What was the first show you ever saw, and what impact did it have?
The first show I remember seeing was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with my dad, starring Donny Osmond. I must have been three or so. I was mesmerized by how much joy was being exuded on that stage. I was smiling the whole time. That remains one of my favorite shows.
2) What was your first involvement in a theatrical production?
My first play was a musical version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, where I played one of the evil tailors. I was probably terrible.
3) What’s your favorite play or musical, and why do you like it so much?
I have so many favorites, but I have to say Parade has been a favorite for the longest. Just a very beautiful, yet dramatic love story set to some of the greatest music written for the theatre. Side note: Ford’s production of Parade in 2012 was the first show I saw in Washington. It left me in tears. Stunning.
4) What’s the worst day job you ever took?
I worked at a Smoothie Café in high school. I was very awkward with customers, and I definitely had a few blender explosions. At least I got to sneak into the storage freezer and eat cookie dough on my breaks.
5) What is your most embarrassing moment in the theatre?
Oh boy…I was doing a play which included a swordfight. During a student matinee I made my entrance and quickly realized I forgot my sword! I magically disarmed my opponent with my bare hands. The audience was either very impressed or very confused.
6) What are you enjoying most about working on Last Train to Nibroc at Washington Stage Guild?
Everything! Getting to work on this play has been such a gift. Lexi [Langs] is an incredible actress and has become a great friend. We’ve had a lot of fun and Bill [Largess] has been an amazing leader. This rehearsal process has been a blast!
7) Other than your significant other, who’s your dream date (living or dead) and why?
I’m probably one of the biggest Dixie Chicks fans on the planet, so maybe I could go out with all three of them? They’re smart, SICK talented, and very funny. I feel like that’d be a fun date.
8) What is your dream role/job?
I’m living my dream job! Getting to work as an actor in this city is unbeatable. I hope I get to do it for a long time!
9) If you could travel back in time, what famous production or performance would you choose to see?
Ooh tough one…This is probably cheating a little, but it would be a dream to be able to see all of the shows in the Kennedy Center’s Sondheim celebration in 2002. Such beautiful, interesting musicals packed with amazing talent from DC AND NYC! (If anyone reading this has bootlegs, let me know!)
10) What advice would you give to an 8-year-old smitten by theatre / for a graduating MFA student?
It’s so important to stay curious. Read everything. See everything. Take classes. Be a sponge. I’m still trying to do that myself!
WOOD VAN METER's DC area credits include Shakespeare Theatre Company: Kiss Me, Kate (u/s); Signature Theatre: Elmer Gantry (u/s) , Cloak & Dagger (u/s); Studio Theatre: Silence! The Musical; Rep Stage: The Whale; Imagination Stage: Wiley and the Hairy Man (u/s), Sinbad: The Untold Tale. Regionally he has appeared at Hangar Theatre: Gypsy, James & The Giant Peach; Weathervane Playhouse: Les Miserables; Pittsburgh Musical Theater: The Sound of Music; Greensburg Palace Theatre: The Rocky Horror Show; Actor’s Guild of Lexington: The Fantasticks, Rabbit Hole. Up next, Wood will be joining the cast of the long-running hit Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center.