Since his graduation from Niagara University in 2009, Kurt Erb has played a number of prominent roles in a range of Buffalo’s theaters. He was in Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in Delaware Park. He did A Few Good Men, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood for the Kavinoky. He did The Snow Queen, Inside Out, Charlotte’s Web, and Number the Stars for Theatre of Youth; he did Hair for MusicalFare.
Erb will never be hired to play a pedestrian, or any character who needs to blend into the crowd. Using him is always a deliberate choice, because he is uncommonly tall. A Kurt Erb role is always vivid. For Buffalo United Artists he played Delbert in Texas Homos, Bruce in The Normal Heart, and was unforgettable as Arloc, the wealthy but estranged son of the Lisa Ludwig character in Nicky Silver’s Fit to Be Tied. He played John for the New Phoenix in Peter Pan, and also played Demetrius in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for that company. He was in Sam Shepard’s Buried Child at Torn Space. He did Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings for O’Connell & Company.
Currently, Erb is back with BUA, where he is starring in Jonathan Tolins’s one-man play, Buyer & Cellar. He plays Alex, an actor between jobs who gets hired as the only employee in a quaint street of Main Street USA type shops in the basement of Barbra Streisand’s home. Here, Barbra houses her memorabilia and her exquisite collections. She is also Alex’s only customer. (While the story is a fiction, the street of shops actually exists and is documented in Streisand’s book, My Passion for Design.) The production, directed by Doug Weyand, continues through October 4. Mr. Erb plays the role, a comic tour de force, with total conviction and his characteristic charm.
Here, he submits to The Public Questionnaire.
What word would your friends use to describe you?
What quality in your current character is most unlike your own personality?
Alex likes to shop. I loathe shopping.
What quality in your current character is most like your own personality?
He has a wild imagination.
When and where were you the happiest?
Summer 2008, studying abroad in London. Taking theater classes, seeing shows every weeknight, spending every weekend in a new European city, meeting so many cool/different people, while with friends…not a care in the world. That’s living the dream!
What is your idea of hell on earth?
Being stuck at a traffic light that never turns green.
What is your greatest fear?
Performing a one-man show. Or standing in a pit filled with snakes.
Which talent do you most wish you had?
I wish I could play the piano.
What superpower do you most wish you had?
Mary Poppins’s cleaning methods.
What would you change about your appearance?
This seems silly to admit, but I wish my hips were narrower.
What trait do you most despise in others?
What trait do you most despise in yourself?
What do you most value in your friends?
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Keeping a sense of play/fun/mischief as I’ve grown into adulthood.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Unhealthy food after midnight.
What character from fiction do you identify with most?
What person from history do you identify with most?
Andre the Giant.
What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?
Diligence. Sometimes I like to really sloth it up with my friends. There is such beauty in willingly wasting time. (I admit this answer kind of contradicts question 11’s answer.)
On what occasion do you lie?
When I think someone will be disappointed in me.
What was the subject of your last Google search?
Barbra Streisand’s net worth.
If you come back in another life, what person or thing would you like to be?
What is your most prized possession?
My memories. Or, if the answer must be physical: my passport.
What role, in which you will never be cast, is actually perfect for you?
It’s a tie between the Witch in Into the Woods and Willow.
What is your motto?
Acknowledge when you feel happy. And, if it’s a beautiful day, say so out loud. Relish the contentment.