C.J.: Stephen Schnetzer's tough in 'Tribes,' nice offstage

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 26, 2013 - 6:16 PM

Stephen Schnetzer plays a tough patriarch in “Tribes” at the Guthrie.

Photo: T. Charles Erickson,

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Stephen Schnetzer, “Another World’s” Cass Winthrop, is alluringly kissable.

Schnetzer is making his first appearance at the Guthrie as the patriarch in “Tribes,” a play about a deaf man’s intellectual but boisterous family. It runs through Nov. 10.

Lately seen playing a shrink on Showtime’s hot “Homeland,” Schnetzer is surprised that Twin Citians are recognizing him so easily since he hasn’t been on a daytime soap in a few years and “Another World,” where he played Cass for 17 years, hasn’t been on TV since 1999. This Christopher in “Tribes” is a tough character, but Schnetzer said Minnesotans are still being very nice to him. He’s fairly nice and not at all bothered by fans who notice him swimming at the YMCA. He was extra nice to me, as you will see in my startribune.com/video during which my lips said one thing and my actions quite another to make a point.

Probably something to do with the familiarity of hearing this accomplished voice-over actor in commercials for Aleve, RoC facial, Buitoni, Mercedes-Benz, among many others.


Q: “Tribes,” according to the New York Times, is about the passive and aggressive forms of listening or not within a family of intellectuals. Has the play made you a more passive or more aggressive listener in real life?

A: I think it’s made me a more sensitive listener. I try to be aware of an individual’s distinction, the difference in people. There are major differences within this family. Sometimes their hearts are in the right place, but they really aren’t attuned to the needs of other people in the family or with strangers in public.


Q: Would your sons say you are a good listener?

A: Yeah. When I met you in the elevator on the way up, I was still on the phone with my son Max. And I was just listening. [Laughter] OK, Max.


Q: Who in your family would say you are a poor listener?

A: I think my girlfriend, my partner, would say sometimes I don’t listen.


Q: If you’ve got a girlfriend, then your Wikipedia page is inaccurate because I think it says you’re still married.

A: Never believe everything Wikipedia [says]. I don’t even go online to see what my information is because I know it’s going to upset me.


Q: Have you ever caught yourself acting for TV, small, when you are onstage, where you need more grand gestures?

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