Pictured: Queer as Folk co-star Michelle Clunie with Randy Harrison, after the recent performance she saw of Silence! / Photo by Ritchard Druther
Think you can't make fun a serial killer? You're wrong. The Silence of the Lambs musical spoof SILENCE! The Musical has been drawing audiences to its weird, macabre, hilarious take on the celebrated movie starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins for years at its Off-Off-Broadway theater. It recently transferred to the Elektra Theatre located in Times Square (and within Times Scare, a year-round haunted house complex) and still includes Married with Children star David Garrison as Hannibal Lecter and Jenn Harris as Clarice Starling.
Last month Randy Harrison, known to millions as Justin Taylor from the American version of Queer as Folk, took over the role of Dr. Chilton. We caught up with Harrison to ask what it was like performing in such a bizarre parody and what he has plans for next, and he told us about walking on a man at a fetish party near his current theater hangout.
Out: Is this the first off Broadway show you've done?
Randy Harrison: No. I've done A Letter from Ethel Kennedy (MCC), Edward the Second (Red Bull), An Oak Tree (Barrow Street), Antony and Cleopatra (TFANA) and The Singing Forest (Public Theatre). So this would be my sixth Off-Broadway show.
What attracted you to a strange musical like SILENCE?
Well, my good friend Jenn Harris is in the cast and has been a part of the show since its original Fringe production many years ago. So I've known about it forever. And I saw it when it opened at Theatre 80 a year ago, and thought it was hilarious. I thought it would be really fun to do, it's unlike anything I've done in the past, and I get to hang out with Jenn for the summer.
Now that you're performing in a haunted house every week anything funny or creepy happen? Are you a fan of haunted houses?
We are not actually performing in a haunted house, but our theater is part of a complex that includes a few theaters, bars and a haunted house. It's pretty hilarious. I scare myself silly in haunted houses. Someone really only needs to put me in a dimly lit room and tell me it's a haunted house and I will have a nervous breakdown. There was a fetish party after the show at one of the bars, and we were all having a good time walking on a man rolled into a rug and we got kicked out for not having wrist bands. We were like "we work here" but the bouncers wouldn't have any of it. I wasn't finished walking on that man.
Do you still get spotted as 'that guy' from Queer as Folk? Any funny experiences with fans who have come to the show?
I do get spotted as that guy from Queer as Folk, but not too much. It's usually a pretty touching experience, because now that people who were in their early teens when the show aired are grown up, I get some beautiful stories about how much the show affected them.
So much has changed on TV since your involvement in that groundbreaking show any thoughts about state of gay tv characters today?
I'm very happy with the progress that's been made. I hope it continues.
Do you plan a long run with SILENCE? What's next for you?
Nope, it's just a summer gig. I'll be in it until September 9. Then I'm gonna go to Europe for a bit, but mostly I'll be hanging out in Brooklyn.