Every day is opening night.

Claybourne Elder

Claybourne Elder

Among the interpreters of the work of Stephen Sondheim, there are many, but there are few greats. Claybourne Elder is among the greats. A performer on both television and Broadway, Claybourne was seen as Buck Barrow in Broadway’s Bonnie & Clyde, was nominated for a Drama Desk (for his role in One Arm) and a Lucille Lortel Award (for his beautiful performance in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro) and starred in hit television series such as “The Carrie Diaries.” His Sondheim chops were cultivated first with Road Show, then as George in Signature Theatre’s Sunday in the Park With George. This season, Claybourne appears in Sunday… on Broadway, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford. We are thrilled to have this great talent On the Couch!

What do you consider to be your best asset?

I’m not afraid to make an idiot of myself. Just ask anyone who’s seem me


What was your proudest moment?

What was it? Oh God. I don’t know if I’ve had one of those yet, but I aspire to in the future. Though I was pretty proud when I finished my first Wednesday NY Times crossword, but that didn’t happen until a few weeks ago.

What is your favorite drink?

I really love chocolate milk. You can take the boy out of Utah…

What is your favorite food?

Bread. Really good, well baked bread. I lived above a bakery for a while and learned to bake from the mother and daughter who owned it. They taught me just how delicious a good boule can be.

What is your favorite condiment?

Are donuts a condiment? I really like donuts.

What is your current obsession?

“Westworld,” home brewing kombucha, politics.

If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?

Pieces of You by Jewel. I wish I could quit it.

What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?

To have written enough plays to put the word ‘playwright’ next to my name.

What is the one thing you waste too much money on?

Really good chocolate.

What is the one activity you waste too much time doing?

Knitting. No really. I always start projects that end up taking forever to finish.

What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?

Zombies. I’ve always had an unreasonable fear of zombies. I know it’s silly.

What is the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?

Buoyancy from my mother; she never lets anything get her down. And I hope that I’ve inherited some of my father’s ridiculously strong work ethic. He’s 84 and still hasn’t retired. Everyday he gets up and builds houses or runs our hay farm.

What is the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?

Self-indulgence from my mother; she never lets anything get her up. And my father’s fierce independence.

What in the world most thrills you?

Opening my “What to Expect” app to see how big our baby is getting inside our surrogate’s tummy. We’re due in the fall!

What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?

Excessively long beards and mumbling.

What was the single most embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced on the job?

Well my favorite recent embarrassing theatre moment was while doing Sunday in the Park… in DC at the Signature. I walked out on stage and said “White…” and someone had been sitting on their phone in just the right way to have Siri listen, so after I said “white” siri said “I didn’t quite get that.” The whole audience laughed and I cracked a smile. It was pretty perfect.

What is your favorite place in the world?

Zion’s National Park in southern Utah.

What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner?

That he’s still wearing the ring I put on his finger 5 years ago when we got married.

Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?

Dogs. We have a dog named Diogi.

What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?

If I wanted to have the best day of my life, I would go to JFK International terminal and get on the next plane to somewhere I’ve never been. Vietnam, Croatia and Istanbul are at the top of my list these days. I think I’m going to Vietnam in March if anyone has suggestions.

What is your personal motto?

Get enough to eat, enough sleep, enough time with people, and enough time alone. Everything else will work out.