15 Questions in 15 Minutes with Greg Mullavey

An ever-active long-time veteran of the stage and screen, actor Greg Mullavey is adding yet another “15 minutes of fame” to his illustrious career with his starring role in Frog & Peach Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway production of Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy King Lear – a character he first portrayed 25 years ago at Oklahoma City’s Center Theatre – opening at The Theatre at St. Clements this month and running through mid-February.

The cast of King Lear: (seated) Eric Doss, Greg Mullavey, (back row) DazMann Still, Jonathan Reed Wexler, Calley Luman, Amy Frances Quint, and Camelia Iturregui Fuertes. Photo by Maria Baranova.

Most recently seen with Frog & Peach as the titular lead of Titus Andronicus, the extensive theater credits of Mullavey – born and raised in Buffalo, NY, and a bi-coastal resident of NYC and LA for decades – include more than 100 plays on Broadway and throughout the country. They range from such Shakespearean classics as Much Ado About Nothing and The Merchant Of Venice to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard with Alfred Molina in LA, to Broadway’s Romantic Comedy opposite Mia Farrow and Tony Perkins and Rumors with Veronica Hamel, to Off-Broadway’s Final Follies at The Cherry Lane, Clever Little Lies opposite Marlo Thomas, and The National Jewish Theatre’s The Soap Myth as a Holocaust survivor, along with many more regional productions from Minneapolis to Anchorage to Miami, which he always dedicates to his wife and fellow theater artist Ariana Johns and his daughter Allison.

In addition to his work on the stage, Mullavey is known to fans everywhere for the hundreds of TV shows and films in which he’s appeared, from the 1970s cult-classic prime-time soap-opera satire Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman opposite Louise Lasser and the 1969 film Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, to such legendary westerns as Gunsmoke, Big Valley, and Centennial, to his part as the grandfather in Nickelodeon’s ‘tweener sitcom iCarly.

Greg Mullavey in rehearsal for King Lear. Photo courtesy of Frog & Peach Theatre Company.

During rehearsals for King Lear, Greg made time to answer my questions about his professional background and personal favorites, to give our readers some insights into the upcoming show, his taste, and his thoughts.

  1. What is it about Shakespeare?

Greg: It’s just great fun to put that language into your mouth, to make it sound as believable as if you were speaking modern English.

  1. Is there one quality you find most relatable in King Lear?

Yeah. The biggest quality is the humanity of expectation. Giving trust unwisely, human frailty.

Greg Mullavey as King Lear. Photo by Maria Baranova.
  1. What three emotions did you feel when you stepped back onto the New York stage?

Fear, anxiety, and excitement.

  1. What do you love most about performing live?

The fact that it’s live, and it’s you and nobody else – the magic of being in the moment onstage, with the audience, the field of energy with you, them, and the story. There’s nothing better.

  1. What do you find most challenging?

Learning the lines, of course, but most importantly the discovery of the character and finding the truth in each moment.

  1. What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve ever gotten from an audience member or fan?

Oh! Arthur Miller telling me, “Terrific performance,” after seeing me in his play The Price at the Guthrie Theatre. And more recently, at The Cherry Lane, Meryl Streep gave me a hug and said I was wonderful after seeing me in Final Follies.

Greg Mullavey. Photo by Alwyn Mathers.
  1. Aside from Lear, is there another character or show you’d most like to play?

Willy Loman.

  1. Is there one role that stands out as your favorite to date?

I loved playing Tom Hartman on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman because it was so innovative and fun and it was a great joy to go to work every day. Plus, I played a contemporary working man, a regular guy who worked in a factory.

  1. Who, or what, provided the biggest inspiration in your career?

One of my acting teachers, Peter Miller, was a huge inspiration.

  1. What’s your first creative memory?

Doing a radio show when I was ten.

  1. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Fun, likes to laugh, glad to be alive – that’s for sure!

Greg Mullavey. Photo by Alwyn Mathers.
  1. What do you miss most about NYC when you’re in California?

Street life!

  1. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not performing?

Watching sports, movies, the antics of our crazy cats.

  1. Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2024?

Exercise more.

  1. What’s the best thing about being famous?

Being famous? More like being well-known in certain theater circles. It’s great to be recognized now and then for the work I love to do.

Thanks, Greg, for sharing a fabulous 15 minutes with us! All best wishes for 2024; I look forward to seeing you later this month in King Lear.

King Lear plays January 26-February 18, 2024, at Frog & Peach Theatre Company, performing at The Theatre at St Clements, 423 West 46th Street, NYC. For tickets (priced at $34.99-39.99, $19.99 for students and seniors, plus fees), go online.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here