Michael Urie & Talene Monahon: The Government Inspector
by Suzy Evans
photography by Nathan Johnson
Michael Urie and Talene Monahon star as con man Ivan Alexandreyevich Hlestakov and his betrothed Marya in Gogol’s 19th-century comedy of errors The Government Inspector. The Red Bull Theater production is running through August 20. Offstage, the actors are just as witty and full of laughs as their satirical Russian characters.
We corresponded with Michael and Talene by email, and they shared how they first met, the next show they’d love to do together, and why Michael is drinking Talene’s blood.
How did you meet? What was your first impression of the other person?
Talene Monahon: We met at the table read. I thought he had impeccable timing—and impeccable hair.
Michael Urie: Talene was hilarious in the table read, and I knew it’d be easy to fall in love with her. (And knew she’d be easy to seduce.)
When you were cast in these roles, did you do anything before rehearsals started or outside of rehearsal to get to know each other?
Talene: We were kind of coy for awhile. Sometimes we Facebook messaged each other pictures of Twilight characters.
Michael: Talene would NOT leave me alone.
What’s the secret to falling in love onstage?
Talene: Writing love poetry, building shrines, weird rituals involving a lock of the other person’s hair. Michael was trained at Juilliard, so he may have other methods, I don’t know.
Michael: Fake it.
Have you ever had any onstage mishaps during the show together?
Talene: Twice now, I’ve kissed Michael so hard that my mouth has started bleeding, and he’s inadvertently swallowed my blood.
Michael: She’s a vampire. I know because… now I am too.
What other show would you love to do together?
Talene: Pygmalion. Maybe Virginia Woolf, down the pipeline…
Michael: Much Ado About Nothing! A two-person Les Miz.
What is one thing you have to have on an perfect date?
Talene: Some LOLs.
Michael: Easy conversation. Left wanting more.
Michael, why is Talene easy to fall in love with? Talene, why is Michael easy to fall in love with?
Talene: Have you seen him? Michael is like Labradoodle puppy meets Prince Charming. Effortlessly adorable.
Michael: It’s a chore, honestly. Jk—she’s gorgeous, and I can lift her up several different ways. She’s an easy laugh, and hopelessly sweet.
Michael: Talene’s bloody mouth.
Michael: Must we?
The Stage Lovers’ Game
We asked Talene and Michael to answer the following questions for themselves and for the other person.
*Editor’s note: Michael saw Talene’s answers over email so instead of answering for her, he responds to her answers for him.
What is your go-to drink?
Talene: Vodka soda
Michael: Laprhoaig 10
Talene’s answer for Michael: Whiskey (or Diet Coke)
Michael’s response: Close, it’s scotch. And I’m trying to drink less Diet Coke after Arnie Burton told me it causes Alzheimer’s.
How do you take your coffee?
Talene: Milk and powdered chemicals
Talene’s answer for Michael: Iced, with milk
Michael: Hm, observant I DO like iced coffee sometimes…I would’ve guess Talene was a tea person…
What is your favorite food?
Talene: Greek yogurt
Michael: Peanut butter
Talene’s answer for Michael: Tex-mex?
Michael: Close, I do love Tex-Mex. For Talene—BANANAS! Hahahaha!!!! (She like HATES bananas.)
What is your go-to outfit in a pinch?
Talene: T-shirt, shorts, sneakers, baseball cap
Talene’s answer for Michael: T-shirt, shorts, baseball cap
What is your dream role?
Michael: It was Hlestakov, I just didn’t know it… 🙂
Talene’s answer for Michael: Hamlet? (He’s doing it!)
Michael: Yeah, that too… Her dream role is unwritten, but I would love to see her play Viola in Twelfth Night.
Talene: The English moors
Talene’s answer for Michael: New Zealand?
Michael: Are there bugs? I don’t like bugs. Or sharks.
Dream dinner date?
Talene: Terry Gross
Michael: Tennessee Williams
Talene’s answer for Michael: Ryan and Kinley and maybe the cat (though probably not).
Michael: Oh yeah, Ryan! Not Tennessee Williams… 🙂