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'Relatively Speaking': Steve Guttenberg On New Woody Allen Play

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STEVE GUTTENBERG
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Steve Guttenbeg is Broadway-bound! The actor is starring in "Relatively Speaking," a new show that opened this week, comprised of three one-act plays written by Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen.

Guttenberg is just one of many stars in Allen's play and the genial 53-year-old actor spoke to The Huffington Post about his long career, working with Woody and, yes, his dating situation.

So did you give Woody notes on "Relatively Speaking?"

You know, Woody's really open to ideas. For somebody who is obviously one of the best in the world, it's just a lesson in good artistry that he's very, very open to good suggestions.

Were you intimidated when you met him?

Woody is definitely one of the greatest auteurs that ever lived. So there was definitely a level of awe that I was able to be in his production. At the beginning I called him Mr. Allen.

In the '80s, you were the "it"-guy. I always wonder how celebrities survive that intensity.

It's not that hard to survive, it's actually a very pleasant experience. As an artist you have these periods of popularity when you are in a very popular mode. It's a lot of fun.

Is it hard when it wears off?

You know, it's not really a wearing off because once you're famous, you're sort of always famous. Wherever you go people like what you've done for them. You remind them sometimes of a better time and as an artist or a working stiff -- which is what I sort of am -- you have to take it all in perspective. Success and failure are both illusions. They are just what people write about you or your ego talking, but you have to be very careful so whether it's me, Harrison Ford, Clark Gable or Picasso or David Hockney, your work goes in and out of fashion sometimes. You have to put it in perspective and you have to be grateful for the periods where you're popular and the periods when you're not popular.

You had a "guy next door" charm about you.

I never dissected it. I like good material that works, that makes sense.

Well yeah, I don't think anyone likes material that doesn't work.

Um, some people do actually. Go to the movies once in a while. I think my real connection was making certain material available to the popular audience. I was and have always been attracted to popular material but so is Ralph Fiennes. You look at "The English Patient" and you also see him in "Harry Potter." You have an obligation to learn the classics and you have an obligation to have a certain common sense if you want to stick around. I think that I'm somebody who can communicate certain material possibly somewhat more on a pedestrian level and the pedestrian level is where most of the people live.

You're a nice single Jewish boy from Long Island. You must get a million yentas coming backstage trying to set you up with their daughters.

True.

Ever taken any of them up?

Not before we open.

After opening?

We'll see, we'll see. I think blind dates are the best way to meet someone. My last relationship was set up that way -- through friends. It's a natural screening process. It's not like meeting somebody in a bar.

You're definitely a hot ticket in the Jewish community.

And I am thrilled about that. I love Jews. I'm most comfortable around Jews, basically. There's nothing like a nice Jewish girl.

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