20 Questions: Vito Abate, Charlotte

by David Stout  Associate Editor  editor2@goqnotes.com
Published: September 15, 2012 in 20 Questions

First in his NYC home, then in Denver for four years and now in the Queen City for nearly a decade, Vito Abate has distinguished himself in the realm of theater. He has received Metrolina Theatre Association nominations for producing, directing, choreography and acting (a win for “South Pacific”) and claimed both the Emerging Artist and Theatre Person of the Year awards. Currently, he’s directing “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” at Theatre Charlotte.

In addition, Vito is co-producer and host of “Just Do It,” a reading and performance series at Theatre Charlotte that returns Oct. 12 with its third annual dog-themed, dog-friendly show (scheduled to be a Takeover Friday event). Perhaps best of all, Vito has produced five fundraisers for Time Out Youth and co-authored an awarding-winning short play about TOY members’ experiences called “Just Like You.” Last, but definitely not least, 20 Questions is obsessed with his YouTube “dollmation” series, “Little People, Big Lives.” Follow the twisted dramatics of Jane, Lisi and the entire gang on his vitotheatre channel. Ok, enough! On with the column! [Imperious clap!]

Who’s birthday should be a national gay holiday?

Since Christmas is already one, I’d say it’s a toss up between Judy Garland, Wanda Sykes and Anderson Cooper.

Do you own a pair of button fly jeans?

I do, however they’ve mysteriously shrunk while hanging in my closet. My first was a previously loved pair of 501s given to me when I was 20. They changed my life.

If loose lips sink ships, what do pouty lips do?

Pouty lips ruin a party like a party pooper…unless they’re matched with dreamy bedroom eyes, in which case they can start a party.

What made Olive Oyl worth fighting over?

While some men are into long necks, I think it was more about overcompensation for deeply repressed feelings between Popeye and Brutus.

Is it harder for you to get up too early or stay up too late?

I’ve always been a night owl. Getting up when it’s still dark, unless you’re a baker, seems unnatural.

Which currently running Broadway show would you most like to be a part of?

While I’d have to take the Ed Asner role, I’d love to work with Paul Rudd in “Grace.” Of course, I wouldn’t mind playing Perón in “Evita” with my ex, Ricky Martin.

What’s your favorite variety of Girl Scout cookie?

Peanut Butter Sandwich. But, I don’t approve of forced labor and making those little girls sell them, especially while wearing those horrible drab costumes.

How do these films rank based on the number of times you’ve seen them: “Dick Tracy” (1990), “Flash Gordon” (1980), “Tarzan, The Ape Man” (1981), “The Shadow” (1994)?

Sure, that order works. Um, is it possible to rank multiple zeros?

Can you name all seven deadly sins from memory?

Yes, we did a show on them last year! The seven are Anger, Sloth, Pride, Envy, Lust, Sleepy and Dopey. Just don’t ask me to pick a favorite.

How many decorative pillows do you have on your bed when it’s fully made?

Only two. More get in the way and often aren’t comfortable at all. I confess I have a serious issue with too many pillows on beds and sofas.

Who was your favorite member of “The Cosby Show” clan?

Rudy…but only when she was little and cute. I resent those adorable young characters when they get big.

Do you have a shoe rack/tree in your home?

Yes, both. But shoes are only in one of them. I am not able to divulge what is in the other.

Which popular musical group/band from your youth had the hottest lead singer?

The Partridge Family’s Keith. It looked like he could really play the guitar. And, it’s not like they were a fake group like The Archies, right?

Are you more likely to add salt or pepper to your food?

Salt for sure. Pepper is overrated and makes you sneeze in cartoons. Most people only say yes to it in restaurants due to peer pressure.

Have you ever been on a zipline?

No, but I do have a recurring dream of me squealing like a happy pig while on one and then it snaps and I fall to my death.

What’s your favorite movie adaptation of a musical?

“Oklahoma.” The movie opens up the music with gorgeous scenery, a beautiful Shirley Jones and the guy who played Palmer Cortlandt on “All My Children.” (Wait, did you expect “Sound of Music”?)

Spam, vienna sausages or potted meat?

Ok, so there’s a nuclear holocaust and I’m trapped and desperate in some sort of mobile home bunker, yes? Sounds like a good time for a crash diet.

Who’s the sexiest “William” of all time?

William Shatner: The “Star Trek” years. The combination of his acting style, his real hair and the way he sucked in his gut in those uniforms was hot!

What was your worst trick-or-treating costume?

I have blocked them all from my mind. We were very anti costumes-out-of-the-box-with-masks. It seems like all my costumes involved a flannel shirt and a bad hat.

Which is greater, the number of siblings you have or the number of times you’ve played a woman onstage?

It’s a tie, sort of. I played a Siamese twin in a circus, who turned out to be a man; and have played a few characters of questionable gender. : :