Actor, dancer, singer, composer, pianist, and choreographer, Malcolm Gets is probably best known as the character Richard in the sitcom Caroline in the City. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, he spent much of his youth in New Jersey and Florida. Drawn to the arts and the theater already in his early years, he began piano studies when he was nine and vocal studies when he was fourteen. He also honed his dancing skills in his teens and found work as an accompanist at the Hippodrome, a local theater. After graduating from high school at age sixteen, he attended the University of Florida, earning money by playing the piano. Winning an award for his acting, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater. Continuing his studies, he pursued graduate work at the Yale Drama School, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. Following his graduate studies, he was cast in an off-Broadway production of the musical Juno.
Among Gets’s off-Broadway stage credits are Amadeus (1983), Cloud Nine (1984), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), As Is (1987), Hello Again (1993), Merrily We Roll Along (1994), and The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1994). In the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle – about Dorothy Parker’s memories of the famous gatherings of writers at Algonquin Club – Gets played F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Though a familiar presence on stage, Gets reached his largest audience on the television comedy Caroline in the City (1995–99), playing the leading male, Richard Karinsky, a witty, moody animation colorist who pines for Caroline.
As the series was drawing to a close, Gets was chosen for the original cast of the musical A New Brain (1998), by William Finn and James Lapine, which premiered at Lincoln Center. Gets created the sharp-tongued but endearing composer Gordon Schwinn, whose life changes when he discovers that he needs a brain operation. The cast also starred Kristin Chenoweth, who sings with Gets on the original cast recording.
On Broadway, Gets has played Valère in The Molière Comedies – a fusion of The School for Husbands and The Imaginary Cuckold – at the Criterion Center Stage Right (1995). He also played in a special benefit production of Dreamgirls (2001) at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Starring as Dusoleil in Michel Legrand’s musical Amour (2002) at the Music Box Theatre, Gets earned both Tony® and Drama Desk nominations for his outstanding performance. At the Ambassador Theatre, Gets took the role of Colonel Ricci in a special benefit performance of Sondheim’s Passion (2004).
In 2000, at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Gets won plaudits for his portrayal of the title role in Edward II, Christopher Marlowe’s play about a gay king and the murderous opposition he encounters. In February 2009 he starred with Will Chase in The Story of My Life, a musical by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill about the personal cost of success.
Movies in which Gets has appeared include A Flash of Green, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Love in the Time of Money, Little Boy Blues, and Sex and the City.