The Mark of a Great “Chicago Tonight” Guest

We interview literally hundreds of people a year on Chicago Tonight.  Just about every guest is pleasant, professional and has something interesting to say (why else would we have them on?!)

One mark of a special guest, though, is when a guest impresses the studio crew–the camera operators and floor director.  These co-workers of mine have very good detectors for someone who’s full of it and for people who are the real deal.  If a guest is gracious to people he can choose to ignore, that always says something.

This week, we had a guest who got a big thumbs up from the crew after the interview.  Nathan Gunn is an established opera star.  He has talent, brains and matinee idol good looks.  And he has an unaffected midwestern affability about him that reflects his roots in South Bend and his current base in Urbana-Champaign.

When Gunn left the studio, studio crew members talked about what a good guy he was. (At this point in a blog, my former colleague John Callaway would be saying something sardonic like, “Aside from his talent, brains and looks, he’s got nothing going for him!”)

Opera stars are used to getting reviews from music critics; they matter in a singer’s career.  But to my mind, the most important reviews are often the ones that are never published, but are spoken when a star has left the premises.

In case you missed it, here’s the interview with Gunn and his rousing rendition of the signature song from the opera in which he’s currently starring at Lyric, The Barber of Seville.

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  • Kirk

    Phil: I think that those of us who have had the chance to meet you and get to know you would say exactly the same about you.

  • Mike Thompson

    Phil, I agree with Kirk on that notion. Also, Nathan looks similar to Russell Crowe wouldn’t you say? Seems to be a nicer version of him and he probably should have been cast in the Les Miserable movie instead of Crowe…