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Personality test: Theater director Ted Pappas

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007

Ted Pappas, producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theater, recently began his eighth season at its helm by directing Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," which runs through Nov. 7 at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown.

Before coming to head the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 2000, he worked both on and off-Broadway, at regional theaters across this country and in Canada, at the Cannes Film Festival, in Las Vegas and on television, where he served as choreographer for NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

His first directing assignment at the Pittsburgh Public Theater was the musical "Fifty Million Frenchmen" in 1994. Since then, he has staged 25 productions there, including "Cabaret," "The Chief," "The Mikado," "Medea," "Romeo and Juliet" and "You Can't Take It With You."

During the 2007-08 season he will direct the Peter Shaffer drama "Amadeus" (Jan. 24-Feb. 24) and Neil Simon's comedy "The Odd Couple" (May 29-June 29).

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:

I think Jerry Lewis (pre-telethon) would be ideal casting. Deep down, I am a very goofy guy.

If the TV is on at 2 a.m., I'm watching:

My TV is always on at 2 a.m. I can't fall asleep without it. Chances are, an old movie is playing.

Choose a playwright:

• A. William Shakespeare

• B. Sam Shepard

• C. Tom Stoppard

• D. Neil Simon

How could I pick just one• I choose both Shakespeare and Simon. Coincidentally, The Public is producing "The Comedy of Errors" and "The Odd Couple" this season.

Choose one:

• A. Half full

• B. Half empty

Half full. I'm a very optimistic person. Each new day is a chance to learn and do better.

After a long day, I like to relax with a:

• A. Martini

• B. Cold beer

• C. Cabernet

• D. Herbal tea

Cold beer. After a strenuous rehearsal, nothing cools me down faster than a cold, frosty beer.

My quirkiest inherited trait:

Ironing my clothes and polishing my shoes. My parents were fastidious dressers, and I can still hear them telling me to comb my hair and straighten my tie.

My favorite sandwiches, plus fixings:

Salami, cheese, tomato and mayo, on whole wheat.

News anchor/weatherman crush:

Robin Meade on CNN. I love starting my day with her.

The first play I saw:

"Oliver!" at Gary Music Theater in Indiana. I was in junior high, and I still remember every second of it.

The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:

The cold pack I use on my knees after I choreograph.

If I was auditioning for "American Idol," my song would be:

Something by Irving Berlin. I'm pretty square.

If I had to give up theater, I would:

Wither away and die.

The first band I saw in concert:

I don't remember my first band concert, but I'll never forget hearing Sarah Vaughn sing at The Blue Note in New York, and Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall. It doesn't get any better than that.

Choose one:

• A. "Star Trek"

• B. "Star Wars"

"Star Trek." The original "Star Trek" might be the greatest TV show of all time.

The person I'm most often mistaken for:

My uncle Socrates.

Choose one:

• A. Dogs

• B. Cats

Cats. Cats are mysterious and possess magical powers. Plus, they poop in a box.

Opening nights are:

A magnificent tradition and a unique form of torture.

The worst advice I ever received:

"Don't go away to college. Live at home." Fortunately, I rarely listened to my dad.

I own 12 pairs of shoes. My favorites are:

My Prada loafers. I'm on my feet all day and all night, so I have to pamper myself.

In high school, I was:

An overachiever: perfect attendance, student council, drama club, track, the works.

The most famous person I ever became friends with:

Al Pacino. I was his personal assistant after "The Godfather Part II." And the fabulous Beverly Sills, who produced several shows I directed.

Chose one:

• A. Paul

• B. John

• C. George

• D. Ringo

Paul. The voice!

My most recent eBay purchase:

A memoir by the actor John Gielgud.

Pick one:

• A. "Ugly Betty"

• B. "America's Next Model"

• C. "What Not to Wear"

• D. "Extreme Makeover"

"What Not to Wear." I'm fascinated by appalling taste. I'm referring, of course, to the hosts of the program.

The movie that always makes me cry:

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."

My most treasured fashion accessory is:

A winter scarf my aunt knitted for me. I wear it, as good luck, on opening nights.

Pick one you love or hate:

• A. Stripes

• B. Polka dots

• C. Plaid

• D. Paisley

Polka dots. Polka dots should only be worn on the beach, and even then, exclusively by small children.

What you'll always find in my glove compartment:

I don't have a glove compartment. I don't know how to drive, and fortunately for the world, I do not own a car.

My most embarrassing junk food:

Popsicles. Any flavor.

If I wasn't a director/choreographer, I'd be:

An architect. I like to create things that weren't there before.

The last book I read:

"Pittsburgh in Stages" by Lynne Conner.

It's not pizza without:

Friends with whom to share it.

My favorite Web site: It's brand new and very spiffy.

My most memorable fashion mistake:

Fun fur. Never again!

Pick a Bond:

• A. Sean Connery

• B. Timothy Dalton

• C. Pierce Brosnan

• D. Daniel Craig

Sean Connery. Connery's got it all, but I was very impressed by Daniel Craig's recent foray into the role in "Casino Royale."

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Cary Grant, on camera -- not off.

My favorite "bad" movie is:

I love bad movies. A partial list of some of my favorites includes: "Mothra, House of Wax" (the original), "Valley of the Dolls" and "Jason and the Argonauts."

My best karaoke song:

I can lip-synch the entire original cast album of "Man of La Mancha." Every role.

My first job:

Shoe salesman.

My worst job:

I was a waiter in a snooty French restaurant in Manhattan. I lasted two hours.

My favorite cable channel:

Turner Classic Movies.

The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:

"Got to Be Real." A great beat, tight harmonies, lots of high notes. Disco rules!

Life would be better without:

Cigarette smoke. It's unhealthy and tacky.

If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:

I have absolutely no interest in touring with any band. I would, however, be interested in traveling with the press corps of a presidential campaign.

I never travel without my:

Sudafed and nose spray.

People would be surprised to know that I:

Played a season of football in high school, on a dare.

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