I found this article here. I would have loved to hear the radio show. Maybe it will be available in a podcast form sometime in the future.
20 Questions with Michael Emerson
20 Questions With Cultural Creatives
Brought to you by MoreArtCulture
This week, a very special “Up North” edition featuring Emmy-winning actor Michael Emerson. Currently starring in “Person of Interest” on CBS, Emerson is a successful and recognizable talent both on screen and on stage; including roles in the hit series “LOST,” “The Practice,” and “Without a Trace” on television and Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Iceman Cometh, and Hedda Gabbler on Broadway.
Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Emerson graduated from Drake University with a degree in Theater in 1976 and moved to New York City where he worked as a magazine illustrator for many years. It was a relocation to Jacksonville which revived his interest in acting and he pursued it as a career in the South during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
It was during that period the Emerson met local theatre creative Ian Mairs, and the two became instant friends and collaborators. The two teamed up once again for Swamp Radio‘s “Up North” episode, which you can listen to on WJCT 89.9 FM on Friday, May 22nd at 7:00 p.m. In the episode, Emerson reads a piece entitled “Pascagoula” by Michael Carroll, a childhood friend of Mairs originally from Arlington. “Ian is a big fan of Michael’s short stories,” Emerson told us. “He showed them to me and I thought they were extraordinary— plainly, almost serenely told with a fine wit, keen observation, a powerful sense of place and a carefully understated sense of heartache as a life-companion. He has the ability to take your breath away with a sudden interruption or twist of plot.”
Emerson as Valmont in “Les Liaisons Dangereuse” at Theatre Jacksonville.
1. Where are you from originally?
I grew up in a very small town in Iowa.
2. Where do you live now?
My wife and I divide our time between New York City and Los Angeles.
3. What connects you to Jacksonville?
I don’t have the connections I once had in Jacksonville although my good friend Ian Mairs continues to be a force in the arts community there. St. Augustine was a true artistic home for me and I have dear friends there and think of it all the time.
4. What’s a city everyone in Jax should visit in order to experience their arts + culture?
I do think it is inspiring, or at least informative, to visit the culture capitals of the world (New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc.) but I get excited about cities in the USA that have particular characters— places like Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Austin and so forth.
5. What are you most proud of so far, career or artistic-wise?
I’m proud of my Midwestern roots, my college degrees, some drawings and teaching I’ve done, my good fortune in marriage, much of my work in the Theater and my unexpected TV career.
Emerson in New York City.
6. Favorite neighborhood in Jax?
San Marco, where I lived for several years, and Five Points, where there were fun things to do in those days.
7. What’s a great exhibition, show, or cultural event you enjoyed this past year?
I was stunned by the Matisse show of cut-paper work at the Museum of Modern Art and the Native American Art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. In the theater I was impressed by FUN HOME on Broadway and the interactive theater piece THEN SHE FELL. I saw the Italian film THE GREAT BEAUTY late but can’t stop thinking about it and I adore the cabaret artists THE SKIVVIES.
8. If you could steal something from another city and bring it to Jax, what would it be?
I would steal a busy downtown nightlife. I mean it.
9. Why did you choose to read Carroll’s “Pascagoula” for the Swamp Radio “Up North” episode?
Ian asked me to choose one of the stories to record and I didn’t have to think long because I already had a favorite, Pascagoula, and it was a manageable length. It’s one of those great stories in which nothing much happens except that happiness and hopelessness are balanced and accepted. The narrator’s voice is very particular and it was hard to find the right sound for the story. He is wry and understated, almost bemused, carrying as graciously as possible the weight of too many sadnesses and too many disappointments. In short, a neutral tone, dispassionate and nonjudgmental. At peace. I like the speaker very much and I like the way he sees the world. And the North Florida details are perfect— no good story gets very far without conjuring a real world and Mr. Carroll can do it like few others.
10. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
There can’t be much that is unknown about me except my insecurities and my domestic obsessions.
Emerson as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” at Shakespeare in the Park, Metropolitan Park.
11. What’s your signature?
An increasingly wobbly scrawl but I do attempt to make all the letters.
12. How do you get “in the zone?”
Terror and discipline are instinctive motives for me now and the “zone” is more accessible with each passing year.
13. Where can people find your work?
TV, YouTube, old periodicals.
14. Can you tell us something people don’t know about becoming a working artist?
It is an exhausted subject, I think, but patience and a kind of artistic privacy are important for sure. It has been useful for me to remind myself that a career in show business is not a race.
15. What would you most like to see change in Jax?
More pedestrians, more nightlife, more fashion, more eccentricity.
Emerson in “Person of Interest” on CBS.
16. What’s a favorite production you were involved with in Jax?
I was proud of my Shakespeare work with Pam Hanks at UNF and a production of Tennessee William’s OUTCRY with Cynthia Kimball at River City Playhouse. I directed a production I’ll never forget of LAUGHING WILD with Ian Mairs and Valerie Anthony and a nice TWELFTH NIGHT at Shakespeare in the Park. (If anyone remembers such a thing.)
17. It’s a Friday night – where are we most likely to find you?
On Friday nights I’m either filming, dining or at the theater. (And of course there is a dog to be walked.)
18. What would you write as an epitaph on your tombstone?
My epitaph will say “Actor” and there will be a brief quote from Shakespeare.
19. Where can we follow you on social media?
I think there is a Facebook fan page but I’m not personally connected to social media. It’s all I can manage to answer my emails.
20. What’s up next for you?
There is no end-date for PERSON OF INTEREST yet but when it is over I will have a chance to return to the stage, do some independent film or make a study of birds and plants. And maybe tackle the long books.
Emerson as Brian in “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” with the Jax Actor’s Theatre.
You can watch Emerson in Person of Interest on CBS Tuesdays at 10/9c, and catch him reading “Pascagoula” as part of Swamp Radio‘s “Up North” episode, Friday, May 22nd at 7:00 p.m. on WJCT 89.9 FM.
Plus – don’t forget to get tickets for the live recording of the next Swamp Radio episode, “How’s Your Summer?” at The Florida Theatre! Friday, June 12th at 8:00 p.m. Special musical guests include The WillowWacks, Herd of Watts, and Mama Blue.
All these photos and more are available in larger forms here and the theatre photos are available here.