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Comedian Séan Cullen is currently starring as down-on-his-luck theatre producer Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks’ hit musical The Producers at the Canon Theatre. Cullen’s 15-year career as a performer includes appearances on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, Ellen, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Royal Canadian Air Farce. Canadians know him best for his membership in the musical group Corky and the Juice Pigs, with which he toured the globe, and his Gemini Award–winning appearance at the Just for Laughs comedy festival. In 2002, he taped the The Séan Cullen Show for the CBC and released his first comedy CD, Séan Cullen Live!

WHERE Toronto recently caught the star for a quick Q and A.

WHERE: You’ve toured the world with Corky and the Juice Pigs—how does Toronto compare?
SC: Toronto is my favourite city. There is so much to do in Toronto, a thriving theatre, comedy and music scene. And the Maple Leafs play here. It’s always great to travel. Some of my favourite cities are London, Melbourne and Edinburgh. Each has different things to offer but none compare to Toronto overall. I may be biased.
WHERE: What drew you to audition for the role of Max Bialystock?
SC: The Producers is a classic film and Zero Mostel is a personal hero of mine. Any chance to work with a legend like Mel Brooks is impossible to pass up.
WHERE: Had you seen the New York show?
SC: No, I’ve never seen the New York show but I enjoyed the L.A. production.
WHERE: How do you prepare?
SC: Each day, before I do the show, I do a thorough vocal and physical warm up and I wrestle a French optometrist.
WHERE: Describe your perfect day off in Toronto.
SC: Sleep until 10 a.m. Run for an hour. Lunch at the Rivoli on Queen (332 Queen St. W., 416-596-1908). A movie in the afternoon and then dinner at Gretzky’s, preferably the chicken wings. Then a Leafs game at night.
WHERE: Where do you like to eat before and after the show?
SC: The Senator on Victoria.
WHERE: What are your top three restaurants in town?
SC: Rivoli, Gretzky’s and Canoe.
WHERE: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever bought in Toronto?
SC: A seat from Maple Leaf Gardens when it was dismantled.
WHERE: Theatre producer Max Bialystock is quite a snazzy dresser and you’ve always had a distinct personal style.
WHERE: What are your favourite places to shop?
SC: Tom’s Place in Kensington Market (190 Baldwin St., 416-596-0297). The Queen Street West stretch—there’s great stuff at Queen and Shaw streets.
WHERE: What’s your favourite neighbourhood?
SC: It has to be High Park and Bloor West Village.

Excitement ran high when news of the limited engagement of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Hollow Crown hit T.O. Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Richardson and Donald Sinden star in this chronicle of British sovereigns compiled from speeches, letters and plays written by and about the monarchy. No dull history lesson, the play is rife with murder, jealousy, greed and adultery befitting those in line for the thrown. At the Princess of Wales Theatre Jan. 27 to Feb. 29; call 416-872-1212.

Swing back to Toronto this spring—there’s plenty to do! Canadian dance troupe La La La Human Steps comes to the Hummingbird Centre February 10 (416-872-2262), Toronto Sportsmen’s Show is February 17 to 21 at the National Trade Centre (416-695-0311), and Canada Blooms bursts forth March 3 to 7 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (www.canadablooms.com).—Jaquelyn Waller-Vintar

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