I Am der Tod

Anyone who thought Franz Joseph was Sisi's lover is very much mistaken

January 1993

The curtain falls, the applause begins. The palely made-up youth with the blond mane steps forward and enjoys the "bravos". Exhausted but nonetheless satisfied, Uwe Kröger, the new star at the Theater an der Wien (alongside Pia Douwes, who plays Elisabeth) withdraws to his dressing room. "Every performance is a new challange for me. The audience has the right to expect the same ambition as on the first night, even if it's the ensemble's hundredth performance. When I feel a part starts getting routine, it's time to change shows," says the new musicals-darling (who receives up to 90 fan letters a week). He amazes us with his next statement: "Initially I did not want to accept the part of der Tod. I thought Elisabeth would be some sort of a huge over-costumed epic. But the book convince me." So he returned to Vienna--Uwe appeared in Les Misérables in 1989. The Hamm native's path to musicals took some roundabout ways. "My mother is a master dressmaker, so it seemed quite natural that I was interested in fashion." But then he worked at an institute for mentally unbalanced children. "I worked as an arts therapist, which means that I worked with the children using music." His favourite hobby at the time: being the singer for a rock band. When one day an actor was being sought for a musical-revue in Hamm and Uwe got the part, his future path was set. Studying in Berlin for two years was followed by engagements in Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria--the last stage (at least until 1993) and highlight of his career.

A look behind the scenes: How does der Tod, Uwe Kröger, actually live? "I have an apartment next to the theatre, which I share with a female colleague--a purely platonic and functional friendship. Regarding a relationship, I'm unbound and free." Despite his tendency to be nocturnal--doesn't go to bed before 3AM, gets up at noon--he takes care of his body: a lot of fruit, daily fitness training. And what will the future bring? "I've no idea, but it may well be that my next engagement leads me to a small theatre. Because in our business you can fall easily."

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