Anthony Heald acted in plays throughout high school and college, and spent 15 years working in regional theater before settling in New York. He quickly established himself there by playing Tom in a 1980 Off-Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie, and two years later made his Broadway debut alongside Holly Hunter in Beth Henley’s The Wake of Jamey Foster. His performances in Anything Goes and Love! Valour! Compassion! earned him Tony Award nominations, and he was recognized with an Obie Award for his work in the productions of The Foreigner, Digby, Henry V and Quartemaine’s Terms. In film, he has appeared in Silkwood, Outrageous Fortune, and in Silence of the Lambs, with minor roles in The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, Kiss of Death, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Postcards from the Edge, 8MM, Proof of Life, Red Dragon, and Accepted. His over sixty audiobooks to date include Where the Red Fern Grows, The Pelican Brief, Jurassic Park, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, (which was a Clint Eastwood movie and is now a Metabook at iTunes), The Great Gatsby, and many others. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon with his family, where he is a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company.
JONATHAN LOWE: Has acting always come naturally to you, and if so, to what do you attribute that–a sensitive nature, curiosity, imagination. . ?
ANTHONY HEALD: I’ve always loved to act, and I guess it’s come instinctively to me. I attribute that to a number of factors: I have a vivid imagination, I’m insatiably curious, I’m an empathetic person. But mostly, I think, the support and encouragement I always got from my family was a major factor in my attraction to the theater and acting, and the decision to try to make a living as an actor.
Q: You’ve done a wide range of acting in your career. What’s most and least gratifying, artistically speaking?
A: For me, the most gratifying kind of work I can do as an actor is in live theater. I love to rehearse – to explore, over a period of weeks, the imaginative life of a character; to find organic behavior for that character that helps to illustrate who he is and what he wants. I love to connect with my scene partners, and to have the opportunity to go through a project over and over again from beginning to end.
Q: If you could have any role to perform, and any book to narrate, what would they be, and why?
A: At this stage in my life Lear is beginning to look more realistic! And I’d love a chance to do Falstaff. As far as audio recording goes, I’ve recorded about half of Chekhov’s short stories – I’d love to finish that.
Q: You have SF and particularly Star Wars productions in common with narrator Jon Davis, although I’ve only heard you in SF titles like Eifelheim by Michael Flynn and Ubik by Philip K. Dick. Were yours full cast and sound, or solo narration, and how did they come about?
A: The Star Wars audiobooks I did (about 35 or 40 of them) were all solo narration, with music and sound effects added later on. Alas, I’m not a big science fiction fan.
Q: We love Black Mask Audio Magazine. Have you done any other full cast productions or radio dramas, and was it particularly fun for you, working with Blackstone Audio?
A: Black Mask was the only full cast radio drama I’ve done. We’ve recorded full cast audio recordings of the Shakespeare productions done at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in October. Our first was “King Henry VIII”, since no one can predict how many decades will go by before we do that play again!
Q: Ashland, Oregon has turned into like this mecca, or Los Angeles North, for audiobook narrators, now that Grover is head of production at Blackstone there. Are you and Tom Weiner and the gang still doing productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, too? And does the place merit a tourist visit?
A: I’m in my 6th season at OSF, and will be returning next season as Shylock. Ashland and the Festival are definitely worth a week-long visit!
Q: What’s next up for you? More classics too, I hope. You did a wonderful job with The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, and Crime and Punishment.
A: I hope I get to do more classics – “Crime and Punishment” was great fun to do!