Veteran actor Bronson Pinchot sees Scottsdale Musical Theater Company’s rendition of Annie as the perfect antidote for post-holiday boredom.
“I think it’s a great thing to do in that little moment after the holiday when you’re wondering if you should go back and eat that leftover fruitcake or what,” says Pinchot, who will play Daddy Warbucks in Annie at the Tempe Center for the Arts from Wednesday, January 3, to Sunday, January 7.
Pinchot is best known as Balki Bartokomous in the 1980s sitcom Perfect Strangers. These days, Pinchot focuses on a number of projects, ranging from regional theater and Broadway to running Bronson Pinchot Designs for the home. Recently, he moved back to his childhood property to help take care of his mother, who’s approaching 90.
“She has a deep and abiding distrust for the GPS lady,” Pinchot says with a laugh. “She doesn’t think she has any business telling anybody how to get anywhere. She talks about her like she’s a person—a very unwelcome person.”
Pinchot’s mother is curious about iPhone.
“Instead of saying she’s going to send me a text, she says she’s going to send me an email from the iPhone machine,” he says. “She’s very grouchy about me being on the phone and texting. I taught her to text, now she sends everybody pictures of her roses.
“One day, while she was in her bedroom, her thumb brushed the wrong button. I heard this bloodcurdling scream, ‘Make the machine stop taking pictures of me.’ I was like spaghetti because I was laughing for two hours. That mean old machine kept taking pictures of you.”
Jokes aside, Pinchot is excited about playing Daddy Warbucks, a character who will defy tradition and have hair. He arrived in the Valley shortly before Christmas to prepare for the role, which he accepted after meeting executive producer David Hock.
“I was so taken with him,” Pinchot says. “I not only said I’ll do it, I said I’ll do anything you want.
“He doesn’t want to do a bald Daddy Warbucks, which I think is great. I asked him if I had to wear a bald cap because I sweat a lot when I sing and dance. David said he wanted him to be accessible and human. For one, he’s not old enough to be bald. And what’s a bald guy doing adopting a little girl? Not everyone has to look like the cartoon. Annie has blank eyes. Are we going to gouge the eyes out of every little girl who plays her?”
Annie will be in Tempe for about a week, after which Pinchot has a slew of projects. Pinchot, who starred in Broadway’s The Addams Family, records audiobooks and filmed a pilot for a show about his relationship with his mom. As GPS interrupts the phone call, Pinchot is reminded of another iPhone story.
“Sometimes, I intentionally go past the exit just to hear her (Siri) say, ‘Make a U-turn, when possible make a U-turn,’” he says with a laugh.
“You get your blood pressure right up there, Siri. You have to learn who’s boss. You get yourself worked up and maybe you’ll learn a valuable lesson.”
SMTC’s Annie, Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 602.909.4215, scottsdalemusicaltheater.com, Wednesday, January 3, to Sunday, January 7, times vary, $32-$58.