Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Recap: Cast of Modern Family opens up at Winspear Opera House in Dallas
Who wouldn't want these guys as part of their family?
The Brinker International Forum series at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas has been a hit-and-miss affair, not due to the lack of interesting speakers that they bring in, but because the insight gained is often dependent on the quality of the moderator chosen. Fortunately, neither the star power nor the ability of the moderator was in question Tuesday night, as Robert Wilonsky interviewed Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and creator Steven Levitan from Modern Family.
While the format is ostensibly a straight-up interview, the outgoing personalities of everybody from Modern Family ensured that the night would have at least a little performance flavor. While each person had ample opportunity to speak over the 100-minute session, the star of the night was undoubtedly Stonestreet. He came out wearing a cowboy hat, which he quickly abandoned, but which would be referred to multiple times throughout the night. He constantly scanned the audience, doling out waves, winks, and general flirts. And he also left his seat on several occasions to demonstrate one thing or another, including how he turns from Eric, the straight, slightly uncouth Kansas-bred country boy, into Cam, the gay, well-mannered and well-put together L.A. resident.
Levitan and the three stars showed such an easy rapport with one another that it's easy to see why the show has become the success it has. The three actors, whose careers have epitomized the instability of the acting profession, repeatedly expressed how lucky they felt to have landed what are likely the roles of their lifetimes. Wilonsky, while a tad long-winded, was a great choice for moderator as he is obviously a big fan of the show and was able to use his knowledge to draw out more interesting answers than someone else might have been able to do.
A few random tidbits gleaned from the night:
- The supposed documentary being shot of the families was originally going to be worked into the show, explaining that Gert Flertie, a Dutch filmmaker who was formerly an exchange student with the Pritchetts, was directing the film. Thankfully, that idea was abandoned early in the process.
- An "Aha!" moment for even the cast was when Levitan pointed out that the Pritchetts (Jay, Claire, and Mitchell) are emotionally closed-off people who each chose expressive, almost polar opposite partners (Gloria, Phil, and Cam).
- Ferguson first auditioned for Cam, even though he knew he was a better fit for Mitchell.
- Stonestreet had to fight and claw just to get an audition for the show, eventually winning the part by basing his performance on his mother.
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- Dallas Beer Kitchen promises "rare, hard to find" brews on Lowest Greenville
- Transit Bicycle Co. relocates to Lower Greenville
- Creepy rendering of Big Tex shows he's almost ready for the State Fair