Randy Harrison: Randy Does Andy

Queer as Folk’s Randy Harrison discusses his new role as late art legend Andy Warhol in Yale Rep’s POP! and his own status as a reluctant “post-gay” pop icon — plus his secret nude photos and the possibility of a QAF reunion.




Getting back to your theater work, the last time you appeared on the New York stage was this past spring at the Public Theater in Craig Lucas’s The Singing Forest, a complicated epic in which you played a gay Starbucks barista and a straight Nazi officer. In one scene, your Nazi character raped Olympia Dukakis’s character from behind for what felt like an eternity. Does that top of the list of surreal things you’ve had to do onstage?
Yes, it does. I was really excited to be a part of that project because I’m such a fan of Craig and the two roles I played were so extraordinarily polar opposite. I’d done a lot of classical work like Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Beckett, but I hadn’t done a new play since A Letter From Ethel Kennedy in 2002, so I really wanted to work on something new. It was a great experience. Olympia’s such a great actress, a great acting teacher, and a great person to just be in a room with so you can watch her work.

The reviews of The Singing Forest weren’t exactly raves. Did critics just not get it?
Oh, I don’t read criticism at all. I can’t. But I’d say 60% of actors don’t read criticism. It confuses you, so it’s just not worth it. I learned during Queer as Folk not to read any of the things people say about you.

You also played Alan Strang in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s celebrated 2005 production of Equus. How did you, unlike Daniel Radcliffe, manage to avoid having a picture of your penis posted all over the Internet?
Well, ushers were running down the aisles taking cameras out of peoples’ hands. Actually, I have heard that there is a way to get one — which isn’t a surprise, knowing some of my fans. I don’t know if it’s online, so you may have to go into one of those fan forums or live chats and talk to some middle-aged, overweight woman who probably has it in a file somewhere on her desktop.

Speaking of fans, novelist Christopher Rice once told me that he sometimes gets mistaken for you on the street. Do you ever get mistaken for Christopher Rice?
Nope. That’s weird, because isn’t he really tall? I often don’t get mistaken for myself anymore, which is comforting.

Tags: Theater