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Thomas Calabro Melrose Place exclusive interview

Joel D. Amos is a Los Angeles-based writer, and the Senior Entertainment Editor here at SheKnows. He has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl, Rachel McAdams, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaw...

Dr Mancini is in!

Thomas Calabro talks exclusively to SheKnows about his life as Dr Michael Mancini on Melrose Place, as well as his 20-year career out of Mancini's scrubs.

Dr Mancini is in!Calabro covets many talents

SheKnows: I notice you've directed in the past. Have you directed any of these Melrose episodes, and if not, are you going to?

Thomas Calabro: I haven't directed in the current Melrose Place, I think I directed four or five in the last. I would like to do that moving forward. Again, it's not going to happen in season one, but moving forward in season two and three, these are definitely opportunities that will be explored.

SheKnows: Like you said, you've got this huge body of work. Were there certain characters, when you look back, that were particularly enjoyable for you to play?

Thomas Calabro: I put Michael Mancini away in Without a Trace a couple years back. I'm so opposite a Michael Mancini on screen it's not even funny! I'm a doting father and while I was married I was a loving and committed husband. In fact, I'm a loving, committed ex-husband! When I get to play roles like that, I really feel like nobody knows this about me and I love doing it! So I did Without a Trace the season before and I got play a father figure to a daughter and a bar owner in New York. You know, I'm a blue collar New York guy from Brooklyn; I don't do that as often as I think I'd like. I did it early in my career on stage a bit but I wonder why I don't do the New York thing, I mean I'm a New York guy!

SheKnows: Well let's get it out there!

Thomas Calabro: I did a great movie, also as a father-like figure, called Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale which will be out pretty shortly. Great independent movie that I think is going to really shine for the two directors, Sean and John Dunson.

SheKnows: I saw that on your list here. As a father, that's got to be a nice thing to put on your modern resume, away from Dr Mancini.

Thomas Calabro: Yes. I think in the industry, as well as in the general population, I'm viewed as a "night time bad guy", but that's certainly not all I've done in my 32-year career, you know what I mean? It's just the thing I've done most prominently!

Melrose stage

SheKnows: You also mentioned and I know that you've done a lot of work on stage. I'm always curious for people with a background in stage, how you think that's helped you working on film and television?

Thomas Calabro: Let's look at it this way: it's where I've started, one, so it's a familiar and good training ground. Second of all, you have this rehearsal process. The thing about television is that everything happens very quickly. For thirty seconds a day, the least attention is probably paid to performance, in a sense. Even though it's the most important part of it, there are so many other elements that take time and money and once it comes time for your thirty-second scene, if you're working hard at it, you might get 10 minutes of actually shooting the thing! That doesn't really compare to the two hours of set up. In stage, it's the exact opposite. Most attention is paid to performance. So there's this luxurious feeling for an actor after doing television to actually have a chance to perform, to practice, to rehearse, to try six different things before arriving at where you may end up opening night. You could say "I love you" a thousand different ways. Tops, I'll get five different ways to say it on screen. When you're rehearsing, you can try all those different things. It's a real luxury to explore all those different character options.

SheKnows: And you can even tweak it night to night.

Thomas Calabro: You do! Invariably the audience speaks as another character in a play. Certain things will get laughs. I did a comedy a couple of years ago called It's Just Sex, just a terrific thing. We got extended as we signed and turned a four week run into 16 weeks. On Melrose at the Zephyr theater right in the middle of the Melrose district in Los Angeles. And the audience is right there. Some nights they laugh at one joke the same joke delivered the same way doesn't get a laugh the next night. They sort of modulate your performance and what you're going to do up there.

SheKnows: It's a joy for me to speak to someone with that theater background. Good luck in all of your many ventures.

Thomas Calabro: Thanks for all of your wonderful questions!

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