Six years ago, Reeve Carney had just started out on Broadway in title role of the much-talked about Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical with the sensational score by Bono with The Edge which was originally directed by Julie Taymor (The Lion King). The show was plagued with a high-budget and the dangerous aerial stunts that even injured a stunt man. In August 2011, I was lucky enough to attend and review Spider-Man and the music and the leading man was what made the show. I met Reeve Carney after the show and he was very gracious. I later learned that his band, Carney, had performed as part of the pit orchestra for the show. I also learned that he is the grand-nephew of TV legend, Art Carney (‘The Honeymooners’). In recent years, Carney left Broadway for the starring role of omnisexual, Dorian Gray on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful (2014-16) and last year as Riff-Raff in the FOX TV remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So, it was a delight to catch up with Reeve at Steamposium 2017 (also known as Steampunk-Con) at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Conference center on October 28.
MK Scott: Okay. Reeve, you are known as the character of Dorian Gray for three seasons of ‘Penny Dreadful.’ But I had a chance to meet you about six years ago. You were starring on Broadway as Peter Parker is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. So you ended up doing that for a couple more years after that?
Reeve Carney: Yeah, yeah. I was there until I got this job. So this is what – the only thing that could take me away from a job that fun – is [he knocks wood] something that ended up being for three years.
MK: Well, I know the character was quite complex…..
Reeve: Yeah, I think … I guess most characters are probably pretty complex. But it was definitely fun to delve in to all the different aspects of what make up Dorian Gray.
MK: And you got to kiss Josh Hartlett?
Reeve: I did. I got to kiss a lot of people. [Laugh] He was the resident addict, I guess – no, not quite that. He was just very curious.
MK: And, also a little bit about, tell me a little bit more about the, I know that he was, for three seasons, unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to see it.
Reeve: Oh, you’ve got to watch it on Netflix now!
MK: But Showtime started this. My fiancé just started watching this on Netflix, and he said, you know, I really like this character of Dorian Gray, and I said: Well, guess what? We’re going to go meet him!
Reeve: Awesome! I’m glad he was excited.
MK: So, unfortunately, it only lasted for three seasons.
Reeve: Yeah, it would’ve been, I mean, you could, we had so much fun at that show.
MK: Is this something that you would’ve wanted to continue?
Reeve: I would’ve been happy for it to. Yeah. I mean, I think it ended in a way that made a lot of sense and felt complete, so I understand why that happened. It certainly would be cool to, I mean, there’s sort of like a never-ending storyline when doing a character like Dorian Gray, you know, you could take it so many places.
MK: Now, what was the difference between being onstage versus being in front of the camera?
Reeve: Oh, I think being in front of the camera you have the option to focus more on naturalism. And everything happ – you know, tends to be a lot smaller, especially dramatic film as opposed to certain types of comedy. But the stage has to be more broad, you know, to tell the story. I find that I’m more, I don’t know if I would say I’m more naturally inclined to be in film and TV – in a way I think that might be true, but I also spend more time playing music onstage. I am quite comfortable on the stage. So I do well being onstage. I’m working on something now, actually, in Edmonton, Alberta. Hadestown, That’s a new musical.
MK: Broadway bound?
Reeve: I hope so. It looks like it. That’s what they’re saying. Certainly that would be the goal.
MK: So you also had a band, Carney. Is that something you’re still working on?
Reeve: Well, I put out an album last year, a solo album, just under my name, Reeve Carney. And I’d love to collaborate more with the members of Carney, and my brother, and in any other formats. Because actually my brother and I are talking about working with our sister in some other formation of some other group, but it’s just hard to find the time because we’re all traveling so much in different places that that’s the main reason we hadn’t been a functioning band for a while. But I’m hoping that that comes back around in some forum.
MK: You’ve had your chance to do a little bit of TV and film. What else is on your horizon?
Reeve: Sure, yeah. Yeah. If the right project came along I think there is so much incredible writing for especially television at the moment, it seems to be, because I think people are really drawn to these story lines that are, that linger for a more extended period of time. You know, as opposed to a two-hour film you have potentially 30 hours of something. I mean, you know, I guess we have about 30 hours, I think. And sometimes you have more than that. ‘Orange is the New Black,’ what is that, in their sixth, seventh season, or something crazy?
MK: That’s true. Actually, speaking of that, I had just read and didn’t realize that you played Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror on Fox last year.
Reeve: That was so much fun.
MK: With our good friend Laverne Cox who I’ve interviewed many times.
Reeve: She’s from New York, too. East Village, I think, originally … She’s very much a New Yorker.
MK: What was that experience like?
Reeve: Probably the most fun I’ve ever had because it was set up that way. It was set up to be this larger than life, insane thing, and Kenny Ortega just really made it that way with the cast. It was very communal. It just felt like a community of people having fun together.
MK: Aren’t you glad that it wasn’t live?
Reeve: Oh, yes. Well, not only for the fact for that crazy stuff that I had to do, that would’ve been tough. But I think that particular film, I mean, obviously it works onstage, but I don’t know, it would be hard to film that. I think that might be hard to translate a live stage version of that film without doing it the way that the original film was made, even though the film wasn’t the first. I know that there was a Rocky Horror Show first, but I don’t know how you capture that. So I think it was a wise decision that they decided to film it the way they did.
MK: Like I said, I can’t wait to see you with what’s going on with Hadestown.
Reeve: Oh, thanks. Yeah. And Patrick Page, actually who played the Green Goblin in Spider-Man as Hades.
MK: Oh, my god!
Reeve: In the show, T.V. Carpio – I don’t know, do you remember? – she ended up playing Arachne ultimately in Spider-Man and she is playing Ruisi in this. And it’s totally unrelated. This was sort of us making suggestions when we knew they were looking for someone. And the three of us are doing another show together. It’s just pretty cool.
MK: It was so good to see you.
Reeve: You, too.
To find out more about Hadestown, visit hadestown.com.
To find out more about Reeve Carney, visit reevecarney.com
For info on Steamposium 2018, visit seattle-steamposium.com