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Ross Hart tackles Bogart in stage role
By MATT POWERS - Calgary Sun

Wrestler Ross Hart is used to having the crowd yell at him to break a leg, but now it has a whole new meaning.

It's been a year since Hart, a member of Calgary's first family of wrestling, decided to perform his last powerslam, opting instead to make his moves on a stage instead of a ring.

"A lot of the showmanship aspects involved with wrestling are very similar to what you have to do on stage. You're not performing for yourself or the cast, but in front of a live audience," says Hart.

In the Workshop Theatre performance of Play It Again, Sam beginning tonight, Hart plays Humphrey Bogart, the alter-ego and voice of manly reasoning to the show's protagonist, Allan Felix.

"He can be very brash with women and can take control of women but still really command their charm," Hart says.

Playing a dark and mysterious character is a change of pace for Hart, who's used to being typecast as an enforcer.

"I wanted something different that would be a bit of a departure from that. So I jumped at the chance to play the role of Bogart," he says.

The decision sat just fine with artistic producer Alan LeBoeuf. When Hart expressed interest, the two spent five hours speaking about Bogart and what it would take to pull off the role.

"You've always got to work on actors to help them develop that character and some of the mannerisms of the character. They've got to feel comfortable doing it, but he has come a long way," LeBoeuf says.

Hart says he isn't worried about his stage career because he's working with an excellent cast and crew in what is a very funny play.

Play It Again, Sam runs at the Pumphouse Theatre until May 20. All shows begin at 7 p.m.


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