Where are you from? San Jose, CA
Broadway credits: Finch in Newsies, Chip in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wicked, Mary Poppins, A Chorus Line, and Bombay Dreams
How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? Well, I was in college in Cincinnati at the time, rehearsing for our production of On the Town. I had been flying back and forth to New York for a few callbacks for Bombay Dreams, but hadn’t heard anything for about a week. All of my class knew what was going on, but I had kept the whole thing sort of under the radar from the faculty. At a particularly stressful day at rehearsal (lots of yelling and ridiculing…very “Devil Wears Prada”) I got a call from Mona at Tara Rubin’s office. I was in rehearsal, so I couldn’t answer, but at my first break I checked the voicemail. One thing I distinctly remember was that whenever I received a callback, the message was very hurried and jam-packed with information; this message, however, was very relaxed, very “call me when you get a chance.” At the next break after that one, I grabbed my phone and rushed outside to call her back. My friend and classmate Brian Sears (currently in Book of Mormon) came with me. I called, and Mona told me that I was getting an official offer to be in Bombay Dreams on Broadway! Both Brian and I screamed and hugged, then without a word, went back into the building. Needless to say, rehearsal was a lot less stressful after that. 😉
What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? Truthfully, the Gypsy Robe ceremony before every Broadway opening night. I won the Gypsy Robe for Newsies, and little-known fun fact: once you win the gypsy robe, you’re forever invited to all future gypsy robe ceremonies. I only recently started going to them if I can. They’re absolutely wonderful. The energy is infectious, and there is such a feeling of happiness and accomplishment emanating from everyone in the company. You can tell that within the past two or three months, the company has become a family, and watching that family celebrate their opening is like nothing else. My favorite part of it is before they announce the Gypsy Robe winner, they take a moment to recognize all the Broadway debuts in the show. They call them out to the center of the stage, and we all cheer. The joy on these cast members’ faces is breathtaking; it’s like their journey has just begun, and they love just being here. It’s a beautiful reminder of why we do this.
What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? The ghosts that inhabit the Broadway theaters. At the New Amsterdam, we had a ghost named Olive. She was an old Follies girl, and I swear, she’s absolutely real. I went to visit Mary Poppins on their closing day, and there were so many things going wrong that day: holes in costumes, missing posters, etc. I half-jokingly-but-completely-serious said, “Guys, Olive is PISSED y'all are leaving!”
What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? I’ve recently started watching 30 Rock on Netflix from top to bottom, and I will say, Tina Fey is brilliant. There’s something special in really good writing. I think the same thing about Aaron Sorkin, although clearly, in a different genre of TV. Good writing is good writing, and when you come across it, it’s absolutely inspiring.
If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… J. K. Rowling. No question. She single-handedly made me a reader, and I have seven worn-out hardcovers to prove it. I’ve read those books more than I care to admit. Believe me, it’s a LOT.
If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… Um…do I get to trade them metabolism too? If so, a child on his birthday. Where there is a party with lots of sweets and cake.
To be successful in this business, it takes… Oof, now isn’t that the million-dollar question…in almost every audience talkback I’ve ever done, that question is asked in some form or another, and I never know what to say, because there is no secret answer or secret formula to success, and anyone who says there is is lying. That said, one thing that I think is very valuable when tackling this business is to do your best to be (and remain) a sponge – that is, learn everything you can from the people around you in your life. And thats more than just your mentors and teachers; you can learn more from your friends and peers than you ever imagined. And when I say everything, I mean more than just how to sing, dance, and act. Learn what it is to be a good person, a nice person, a professional person, a respectful and respectable person, a person who’s on time, a person who people want to work with or just be around. That, in my opinion, is just as important as all the craft-training, if not more so.
Tell us a secret. I put semi-sweet chocolate chips in the fridge, and then eat them as snacks. By the handful.