by Lorie Lewis Ham
This week we have another fun Q and A with a local actor. Henry Montelongo was born and raised in Fresno and is currently playing Watson for the second time in Good Company Players production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, on stage through February 23.
KRL: When did you first get involved in acting and why?
Henry: Began doing theater in junior high. I was extremely shy growing up and theater provided an outlet. Fell in love with the creative process.
KRL: What was your first part?
Henry: Earliest role I can remember was in junior high; Dracula in 7 Brides for Dracula, hahaha! As an adult, I played Captain Blunt and also served as co-fight choreographer for Courtyard Shakespeare’s production of Richard III.
KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, and the parts you have played & with what companies?
Henry: As an adult I performed with several groups including Courtyard Shakespeare festival, and Fresno Public Theater, before joining Theatre 3 in 1992. I performed there until 2001. I have been doing shows with Good Company since 2007 and have also performed with Woodward Shakespeare and more recently at CSU Fresno. My favorite roles include Richard in RIII at Theatre 3, Harry Brock in Born Yesterday, David O Selznick in Moonlight and Magnolias, Jack in Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Dr. Watson in Hound of the Baskervilles and Sherlock Holmes: Final Adventure, for GCP. Also Old Mahan in Playboy of the Western World (loved that role) recently at CSU Fresno.
KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show?
Henry: Don’t necessarily have a favorite type of show. I enjoy performing in both comedies and dramas. I do wish I could do more Shakespeare.
KRL: What do you like best about acting?
Henry: There’s nothing like getting together with like-minded people and bringing something to life on stage.
KRL: What is the hardest?
Henry: The hardest thing about acting? All of it, ha! One thing one strives for is maintaining that spontaneity you have hopefully achieved in a performance, and refraining from controlling it too much during the course of the run. Always tough to do.
KRL: What do you feel has helped you the most in growing as an actor and what advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?
Henry: Nothing has helped me grow more than learning, watching, and stealing from the better actors I’ve worked with, ha! As far as advice to fellow actors? Listen and just talk to your fellow actor.
KRL: What is your dream role?
Henry: Would love another crack at Richard III.
Henry: Study of history, I did some graduate work at CSU Fresno and UCLA in ancient and medieval history (no post graduate degree). Reading, I do have a B.A. in English from CSU Fresno. Fencing (though not much lately) taught fencing at CSU Fresno for ten years many moons ago. Going to theater–my wife Sandra and I love going up to San Francisco, see a show and then hit some used bookstores.
KRL: How fun! Were you familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories when you first played Watson?
Henry: I had read a few of the Holmes stories. Had also seen the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes mysteries on PBS. I enjoy playing Watson. He is different and the same in both plays. The common denominator being Doyle of course. His genius in creating Holmes and Watson is such that playwrights Tim Kelly (Hound) and Steven Dietz (Final Adventure) can’t help but stay true to Doyle’s creations.
KRL: Was there anything special you did to prepare for this role the first time?
Henry: Didn’t do anything specific. I did reread a couple of the stories, but much of what I needed was in the script.
KRL: What do you like best about the character?
Henry: Watson is such a great character. I love his loyalty to Holmes, his genuineness. While he can’t make the analytical leaps Holmes does, he is intelligent.
KRL: What do you like best about Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure?
Henry: I love Dietz’ Final Adventure script. Has a lot of humor; slapstick (fantastically played out by your young Mr. Ham) but also a lot of wry subtle humor. A really nice script. And a great cast. As I stated earlier about working with like-minded people bringing something to life.
Be sure to go see Henry as Watson in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure!
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors–many of whom were mentioned in this article. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean. A new one goes up next week!
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.