The ‘Curious’ and Talented Gene Gillette to Wrap Up at Kennedy Center

The lives of actors wind from early beginnings, to experience, to influences and more experiences.

Actor Gene Gillette will wind up his stint as being part of what calls “a very special experience,” when the National Touring Company of the Tony Award-winning play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,” ends its run at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House with two performances Oct. 23.

“The Curious Dog,” which won five Tonys, is about a young boy with Asperger’s Disease, and gets at the heart and mind of the boy by using stylized and digital theatrics to show the life of the boy.

Gillette took over the role of the boy’s father, and for him, its territory both fresh and familiar.

“I played the father of a boy in search of his horse during World War I in ‘War Horse,’ ” he said. “And that, too, was amazing in its theatrics, using puppetry of different sizes and digital tools and choreography to tell the story.  It’s very original, both plays are, and I was very lucky to be on the tour.”

Based on a novel by Mark Haddon, the play also earned a Tony Award for Marianne Elliott, who was also the co-director for “War Horse,” which also landed at the Kennedy Center in its national tour.

Gillette is a Colorado native from Evergreen — but being in Washington was something of a homecoming for him.  He has a Master of Fine Arts from Michael Kahn’s Shakespeare Theater Company’s Academy of Classical Acting, of which he has fond and long memories.  “I know a lot of the people here. I remember a lot of the actors from my time there.”

Working in Colorado, he won the 2008 Henry Award for Best Actor in the Curious Theatre Company’s production of “The Lieutenant Of Inishmore”  and got high honors in Denver for having the best year for an actor in two very different plays, “Coyote on a Fence” and (the test of every actor) “Hamlet.”

A Colorado theater critic noted that Gillette, starring as Hamlet in a Denver Civic Theater production, drew on “reservoirs of humanity, technique, insight and showmanship to successfully navigate a theatrical rite of passage.”


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