Show Boat’s Harry Winter

showboatwinterSignature Theatre has adapted the mega-musical Show Boat for its Max Theatre using a cast of 25 actors (the original production had a cast of 70+ actors), and popular Washington character actor Harry Winter, who plays Cap’n Andy, talks about how they did it.

“Captain Andy has it all. He’s an impresario. He’s got the smiley face and the frowney face – all in one show… He pops in at the most important times, and keeps the action moving”.

On working with co-star Kimberly Schraf, who plays his wife Parthy, “ Kimberly knows that in the original book, Cap’n Andy falls off the ship and dies, and she has to take over.” So Schraf creates a woman capable of being the Queen of the Mississippi  ” rather being an uptight New Englander, who sits back and judge everyone.”

On working with Director Eric Schaeffer, “He just lets us roll with a role. We surprise each other… We surprise him and lead in different directions, and he’ll come back with a suggestion saying, “Cut that back, or that’s too much, or we need a whole lot more…”

Why should theatre goers come to see Show Boat? “The humanity in the show is worth seeing, especially at the holiday season. You’ll see a lot of love from a lot of different people radiating off the stage.”


Show Boat plays through January 17th, 2010 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Arlington, VA. For Details, Directions and Tickets, click here.


To listen to Joel talk with Harry Winter about playing Benjamin Franklin in Olney Theatre Center’s production of 1776, click here.


  1. Harry Winter is delightful in every show he’s in.  He is one of Washington’s theatre treasuares.  On a related note, it would be great if DCTS would also has some coverage of special events such as cabarets.  One of the highlights for me was the recent concert for the release of the Glory Days CD.  It was great to see the four cast members singing together again.  Glory could also refer to their glorious harmonies.   I don’t want to sound like I’m doing a commercial for the CD-I’m not. Just want to say that it is excellent.  I saw the show several times, including previews, and never heard all the words of the songs.

  2. Just enjoyed your piece on Harry Winter. To me Harry’s Captn Andy serves sort of as the anchor for the cast in this warmly human and beautifully sung show. This Showboat also reminds us of the purity and sheer beauty of musical theater back when.

  3. Alex Bozinovski says:

    it sounds like such an awesome production…my wife played ‘magnolia’ in our hometown production.



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