nytheatre.com q&a preview by Zal Owen
August 19, 2013
What is your job on this show?
I play the role of Benjamin..
What is your show about?
Struggling actor-waiter Benjamin returns to his family home to find that his recently widowed mother is engaged to a man that is closer to his age than to herself!
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
My parents took me to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway when I was 5 years old. My dad bought the audio cassette and we listened to the whole show again on the ride home and I sang along with every song. When we got to my house I told my parents, "I want to do that!" I started taking classes at the Papermill Playhouse and made my professional debut on their mainstage... I never turned back since.
Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
I've always heard that theater is the "actor's medium," film is the "director's medium" and TV is the "writer's medium," but I think one of the things that makes working on L'Chayim so wonderful is that it is truly a collaborative process. Being in a festival and the first time this play will be performed in front of an audience, we all three collectively are working during rehearsals on the story, relationships and emotional journey. It is a constantly evolving and liquid process where we are trying to work together to make the play the best it can be. And once we add in the fourth group, the audience, we will be able to see what works and areas that still need fixing. The audience is such an important part of the early stages of a play in a festival. They help dictate how the play evolves next.
Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
I hope they will talk about L'Chayim into the wee hours of the night! Without giving away too much, the play has a few "twists" as well as some large themes and questions that hopefully people will have varied opinions on which will lead into some exciting conversations on their way back home. That's always my favorite kind of theater.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising. As I mentioned, our show takes place in one night where my character, Benjamin, is coming home and finds out a big surprise from his widowed mom - that she's engaged to a new man 20 years younger than her! What ensues is a night of chaos where all three people are trying to find answers in their own lives and revealing secrets about what they really need from each other.
Who are your heroes?
Amongst the acting world, my heroes are Mandy Patinkin and Raul Esparza. They have been able to lead exciting careers with such varied characters and truly being able to traverse the worlds of musical theater, plays, film and TV. I aspire to have such diverse opportunities.