Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg.

Some think he is a by-the-book FBI agent scarred by his failure to catch the criminal. Others believe he is a rock musician who may or may not get the girl. Or a country music star who gave it all up for family, or a Broadway standout with a Tony and a Grammy on his mantle. Well, guess what? They’re all right, because they are all the multi-dimensional star Steve Kazee. With a slew of Broadway credits, multiple hit TV shows, recording credits and a house filled with four dogs, Steve is truly the star who manages to have it all. From Kentucky to the Big Apple and then off to Hollywood, it’s been a thrilling ride. The Overhead Compartment was excited to catch up with this unique talent to sing a little, learn a little and pick up after the dogs.

The Overhead Compartment with Steve Kazee begins now….

OC: You lived in Prague while you shot TNT’s Legends, what was your favorite thing about the city?

SK: I did! Prague was my home from early June to mid-September and it would be difficult to pinpoint what my favorite experience was. I think, for me, it had to be just being in a different country surrounded by a different culture and all that entails. Believe it or not, at 40, I had never traveled outside of North America. This was my first experience at travel overseas so I was like a newborn. Everything was my “first time”. Prague has such beauty and such history that it is nearly impossible to choose my favorite. The food, the music, the art, the architecture…I could go on and on.

OC: When you had a full day free, how did you spend it?

SK: There was a lovely park, Letná Park, just across the Charles Bridge from my hotel and each day I would walk there. Partly for exercise, partly for peace, but mostly for the gorgeous views of the city itself. Sitting underneath the Prague metronome watching tourists and locals come and go while the city bustled below, it was stunning and will always be a wonderful memory for me.

OC: What’s the best thing about traveling to a foreign country with a group of actors?

SK: The obvious thing that comes to mind is that being with a group of people who are working on the same project as you automatically means you aren’t alone. If you get along well with them, which I did, then it is like having a built in support group traveling with you. I suppose the hard thing with Legends was that a majority of the actors were foreign born and came from all over Europe. Being someone who is a bit introverted I had to work on bridging a gap that was sometimes not just social but also cultural. Luckily they were all wonderful and helped navigate that part of the journey.

The Overhead Compartment with Steve Kazee2
Photo credit: Benjo Arwas

OC: You won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor for the Musical Once. First, congratulations. Second, how did you celebrate?

SK: Thank you! It was an incredible night! Along with the thrill of winning and the thrill of your show winning you are also immediately shuffled into the circuit of celebrations that follow. The press room, the after party, the after after party, and then finally the place where you want to be the entire time which is celebrating with the cast and crew of the show. Once I made it to the Once party I was able to really sit back with my friends and co workers and reflect on what an incredible honor it was for all of us that night. It happens in a flash but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

OC: Which do you enjoy more, working on the stage or in front of the camera?

SK: I enjoy both for entirely different reasons. The stage is so immediate. The audience is right there. The reaction instantaneous. The bonds are often deeper based solely on the amount of time you spend with the people who are creating the show alongside you. 8 shows in 7 days will bond you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. If the show is a hit and runs for a long time then the bonds grow as well. It’s like a family. That’s what I miss most. Television/Film offers you an entirely different experience. You often wait months for your work to be seen. I like the complexity that you can find in a performance when a camera is inches from your face. You get a chance to really live a life in a character that changes and grows over the episodes or, if you are lucky, over the seasons that the show runs. You can still develop strong bonds with the people you work with but its a different feeling than the one you get in the theater. I love them both so much and hope to spend my life with a foot always in both.

OC: You’re a musician/singer and write your own songs, where do you find your inspiration?

SK: It sounds cliche, but from within. I like sad songs. I like honest lyrics. Honesty, even when discussing your own faults, pain, failures etc tends to appeal to my heart and ears so that’s what I try to write. My truth. Hopefully people can find their own truth in my lyrics.

OC: You play a rock musician in Showtime’s Shameless. Who is your favorite band?

SK: I don’t think there is enough room to cover this topic but at the moment I am listening to Tame Impala “Currents”, Paul Buchanan “Mid Air” and Chris Stapleton “Traveller”. There is so much great music out there and I am constantly searching for new artists. And Damien Jurado. Always Damien Jurado.

OC: Where are you just coming back from?

SK: At the moment I am actually sitting in the terminal at the Nashville airport where I have been filming ABC’s Nashville. I am headed back home to LA. Travel is always a part of an actor’s life but lately it seems I have been traveling more and more for work. I suppose that’s a good thing.

OC: You live in Los Angeles, top three favorite restaurants?

SK: Oh boy…another tough question. So many great places to eat. In no particular order:
Silverlake Ramen
Barrel and Ashes
Tender Greens

OC: First thing you do when arriving at a hotel in your room?

SK: I do the John McLane “Die Hard”. I take my shoes off and curl my toes gripping the carpet to ease the tension of the trip. I remember seeing it in the movie when I was a kid so I started doing it and it actually works!

OC: Complete the following sentence: I never leave home without:

SK: Sadly my iPhone. I’m just as addicted as we all are.

OC: You lived in New York for many years, what are three must-see spots for someone traveling to New York that won’t appear in a guide book?

SK: Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters
The Frick Museum
The High Line

OC: What do you miss about New York?

SK: The overwhelming amount of culture. Many cities try to match it and many fall short. There are few places as vibrant and alive as NYC.

OC: One secret about you no one knew until now is:

SK: I’m a terrific plate spinner. Yeah, plate spinner, like in the circus. Don’t ask.

OC: You recently appeared on ESPN’s SportsNation. I like all the hosts on that show, do you have a preference among them?

SK: Well I have to say they are all great but if I was pressed to choose I would have to say that Michelle Beadle really sparks my interest.

Steve Kazee, please use care upon departure as items may have shifted in The Overhead Compartment during our journey. Thanks for choosing us for your travel tips! Have a wonderful day!