Meet Miriam Shor :: ’GCB’s’ most fabulous b****
One of the bright spots on television this Spring, as we're about to say goodbye to "Desperate Housewives," has been the arrival of the sassy Southerners of ABC's new series, GCB. And while the world on Wisteria Lane did have gay presence, it always seemed to be held at bay (case in point, the lackluster characters of gay neighbors Bob & Lee played by Tuc Watkins and Kevin Rahm), perhaps to make sure the show didn't become "too gay" or to not steal the spotlight from the core female characters.
The same can't be said with "GCB," which seems tailor made for the gay audience with sassy Southern dialogue, sexy men (David James Elliott, Mark Deklin, Brad Beyer and Tyler Jacob Moore as the hottest pastor on TV); fantastic wardrobe for the ladies on the show (Kristin Chenoweth, Leslie Bibb, Jennifer Aspen & Marisol Nichols) and a gay icon in "Designing Women" alum Annie Potts. The show also happens to be created by Robert Harling, best known for having created "Steel Magnolias."
And then there’s Miriam Shor. Ever since she created the role of Yitzak in the off-Broadway production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and then played the same role in the 2001 film adaptation, we’ve kept an eye on the fabulously talented actress. While she’s played roles in everything from "The West Wing," "Swingtown," ’Damages" and HBO’s "Mildred Pierce" remake last year, "GCB" is giving Shor a hell of a role in Cricket Cruth-Reilly.
Cricket seems to have it all. Wealth and power from her many businesses (which she has no problem touting at the drop of a hat), a strong place in the community, a pack of allies in Carlene (Chenoweth), Sharon (Aspen) and Heather (Nichols) and a gorgeous husband, Blake (Deklin), who is as loyal and good-looking as any husband should be.
He also happens to be gay. While Cricket and Blake may sleep on opposite sides of their huge bed, they also have a love, respect and understanding for each other and while Blake’s sexuality is a secret to most, it’s a part of their marriage that is not a threat whatsoever.
EDGE’s Jim Halterman talked to Shor recently about helping to create the role of Cricket, her legacy from "Hedwig" and what else (besides "GCB") is on her DVR.
’GCB’s’ healthiest relationship
EDGE: I love the fact that we don’t feel sorry for Cricket or Blake. You understand what their marriage is and they have this really great friendship.
Miriam Shor: It’s probably one of the healthiest relationships on "GCB." We’ve got something real there but that’s also to say that there are so many walls between these people and when you can see behind the walls, see behind the curtains, and get a peek inside these people’s lives, it makes you like them more. It makes you more interested in what happens to them and that I think it’s just good writing.
EDGE: And the biggest threat to the Cricket/Blake marriage is another intimate friend coming in, not sex, right? Amanda (Bibb) represents a big threat.
Miriam Shor: Yes, they have a level of intimacy that’s not sexual but it is intimacy. Then, the threat to that is the threat to the cornerstone of their relationship. And then because it’s Amanda, of all people! She’s just a threat on every level. I feel like Cricket is fiercely protective of the things that are important to her which is why she’s somewhat terrifying sometimes. You don’t really want to cross her and that comes from ... the scenes with her husband are the scenes where you see that she has something she values.
About that bed...
EDGE: Now let’s talk about that bed of Cricket and Blake’s! It’s huge!
Miriam Shor: Honestly, we’re like "Can we just do all our scenes in the bed?" How fun is it to go to work and not have to get out of bed? Other than New York City you might be able to have a bed like that but there’s no apartment that could hold that bed in New York City. It’s a symbol of everything. Of their relationship, what it means to be a Texan and it’s so funny because their room is so beautifully and tastefully done and then there’s cowhide on the headboard!
EDGE: Whether we’re talking about the stage or film version of "Hedwig," when you do a TV show is it a big adjustment because you have to play things differently. How big of an adjustment is that for you?
Miriam Shor: I think you just think of the tone of the show and hopefully you have enough people around you to figure that out. There are plays that are very, very intimate and there are movies that are the same and certainly there are TV shows. I would say my performance in "Damages" is slightly different from "Hedwig." [laughs] With "GCB" we’re picking the scenery out of our teeth and we’re asked to, which is really fun. The ham in me is really excited. You get to really run the gamut in this particular show. But it’s just project-to-project. You have to go with what the project is regardless of whether it’s theater, film or television. Theater has a certain largeness to it so it’s a bit of a different style.
EDGE: How much did "Hedwig And The Angry Inch" impact you and your career?
Miriam Shor: It changed everything! Unfortunately, the bar is still so unbelievably high! I’ve never seen a musical like that and I got to be in it! And I’ve never seen a movie like that and I got to be in it! I’m just so lucky! And, yes, it was definitely one of those things that just got the ball rolling for me in a great way.
EDGE: I loved you in "Damages" because you didn’t really know what your character was about and then you find she’s scamming her sister for money to buy drugs. Nice!
Miriam Shor: That was so fun! That was the easiest experience in the make-up chair. I kid you not, it’s not me embellishing, I walked into hair and makeup and they looked at me and said, "Ya, know? I think you’re good!’ ’You’re saying that I just have been walking around looking like a crystal meth addict/seller?’ So then ["GCB"] it’s like 15 hours in the make-up chair. I know drag queens who take less time to get ready.
EDGE: Besides "GCB", what’s on your DVR, assuming you have time to watch TV.
Miriam Shor: I always watch "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." I started watching "Key & Peele" on Comedy Central. I love it. They’re brilliant and they’re so funny and it’s so about something, which I think is fascinating. I also love "International House Hunters," okay? If there’s an "International House Hunters" marathon, I will do that all day long. We don’t get a chance to watch too much TV but those are the ones that are our go-to [shows]. And then recently it’s been "The Hunger Games." The other show I think is great is "Girls" on HBO. I’ve seen the pilot and I think Lena Dunham is just so talented. It’s kind of the anti-"Sex And The City" but I love it!
"GCB" airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.