During an episode of late 2000s American comedy-drama Eli Stone, there is an episode in which one of the main characters, Jordan Wethersby, portrayed by Victor Garber, plays the piano. Can Garber actually play the piano?
Victor Garber does not appear to play the piano. In his music and the Broadway musical productions that he has a part of, it is his talent for singing that Garber brings to the process.
Although it’s unsure whether or not he can actually play, it’s not a skill that he chooses to showcase. Whether it’s with a piano or not, Garber is certainly musically inclined, as is evidenced by the aforementioned talents as a singer both on and off stage.
Garber’s Musical Career
Though he may not have played the piano, Garber quickly found a place for his vocals when he was attending the University of Toronto. They would find a welcome home in a folk group going by the name “The Sugar Shoppe”.
This group was the brainchild of Peter Mann, who was currently working as an arranger at the time. Mann – a singer as well as a songwriter and pianist – put together the group that would consist of himself, Garber, and two female vocalists: Laurie Hood and Lee Harris.
The height of the group’s success would be after their release of Canadian Centennial commemoration song “Canada”, originally written by Canadian bandleader Bobby Gimby. Though this would be their only song that charted well, the group would also get to enjoy a highlight on the incredibly popular Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show.
Another TV show they would land a spot on was The Ed Sullivan Show, which would often be host to a wildly eclectic range of entertainment.
After a series of ups and downs for the group, they would eventually drop the sugar from the shoppe, becoming just The Shoppe. With the altered name also came an altered line-up in the addition of Sandy Crawley, due to the departure of Mann and Harris.
Though the group would record for a few more years, they would eventually part ways. For Garber, this would lead him on to bigger and better things, life-changing things, namely the bright lights of the theater stage.
A Blessed Beginning
Garber had always been interested in acting, doubtless in no small part thanks to being the son of the multi-talented and popular Hope Garber, also a singer and actress. Happy memories of family performances would stay with him, igniting the spark of desire for performance, which he would follow all the way to a role in the 1972 theater production of Godspell.
The reaction and critical reception to Godspell would be overwhelmingly positive, both for the production as a whole and for Garber himself, who successfully won the hearts of many critics with his performance. One critic even described Garber as being as “impressive as he is ingratiating.”
In the world of theater, Garber’s successes would be both as varied and many as the roles that he would come to accept. Among these achievements were multiple acknowledgments in the form of Tony Award nominations and a win for the play he co-starred in, Art.
Godspell would be the first fusion of Garber’s musical and acting abilities, an amalgamation that would prove to not only be incredibly successful but also be the springboard for his future foray into the world of movies and television.
Godspeed From Godspell
Off the back of his role in Godspell, the production would be adapted to a movie, with Garber assuming the same role. The movie would be similarly well-received, establishing the beginning of what would come to be a long and storied career on television.
Perhaps the most well-known of the shows that he would feature in was action-thriller Alias, featuring co-star Jennifer Garner. He was a major component of the show, where he would play Jack Bristow, father of Garner’s character Sydney Bristow.
From family by blood in Alias to a bond that is almost as strong, Garber and Garner would prove to have an enduring friendship following the ending of the show.
His next long recurring role would find him stepping into the shoes of Jordan Wethersby, which brings back the topic of the original question: Does Garber play the piano?
It looks like he can, though we don’t know for sure – what we do know is that he can definitely act and sing.