As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family. There is something special about theatre and its ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other. I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature. Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and castmates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!
Currently playing Elder Price on the European Tour of The Book of Mormon
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson. It is the third book in his Mistborn trilogy. I first started reading Sanderson’s books after being recommended his Stormlight Archive series. He has such a knack for making brilliant magic systems and rules that define his worlds paired with extensive lore and histories. Certainly someone to check out if you want some immersive fantasy.
What is your favorite book series?
Hm, this is a tough one. Though not a traditional “book series,” I am always reading the latest issues of Batman comics and associated graphic novels. One of my favorites growing up was Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan. They inspired my initial love of classical mythology. Of course, I’ll always be a big Harry Potter nerd (as made evident by my Slytherin House robe I wear backstage). I think my true favorite series, however, is one that isn’t finished yet: The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss. Perhaps it’s gripping me so much simply because it isn’t finished, but it’s been a long time since I have connected so strongly to a protagonist.
Who is your favorite author?
Ernest Hemingway, for sure. His writing is such a strange combination of dry minimalism and sweeping detail work. No other author has been able to elicit such emotional responses in me from written work as Hemingway. If you want a good read and probably a good cry, pick up A Farewell to Arms.
What book inspires you and why?
I always come back to The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Most of my friends know my love for this novel. Edmund Dantes may be a bit of a dark character to be inspired by, but there is something so compelling about a man who has had everything wrongly taken from him only to come back stronger than ever. In my mind, The Count is like an 1800’s Bruce Wayne and I love it.
Which literary character would you like to play?
My nerdy side says that I want to play Tim Drake (the third Robin under Batman). My sophisticated side says Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, to sound impressive. Seriously though, I love the book so much, and Heathcliff and I, in most regards, are stark contrasts. I’ll need to age up a few more years before I think I would be appropriate for the character, but I can wait.
If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?
Being a Jet in West Side Story is the greatest. The first time I was in the show in high school, I played Baby John; a few years later, I got to play A-rab. I think that, as misguided as they are, I would like to be friends with the Jets and maybe have a little chat with Riff before he puts that switchblade in his pocket.
What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?
I’ve said for years that I would love for The Prestige (novel by Christopher Priest, film by Christopher Nolan) to be adapted into a Sweeney Todd-esque musical. There is plenty of meaty character development and potential for spectacle all wrapped in a macabre overtone. The show would rely on finding an incredibly talented pair of twins, but I’m sure there are plenty out there!
What is the next book on your reading list?
I’ve been reading Sanderson novels for a few months straight now, so I’m ready to switch up genres. I’ve already downloaded Supermarket, by rapper Logic, onto my kindle. I’m a huge fan of his music, so I am definitely curious to see how his style translates to a novella.
Have you ever thought about writing yourself?
There are so many times when I come up with what I think is a brilliant idea, jot it down, and then return to it only to be disappointed and uninspired later. I have one idea for a graphic novel that still excites me so I’m clinging to it and continually come back to it. My favorite idea, however, is for a science-fiction novel. I was playing around with the notion of writing my own creation myth that could be the foundation of a religion and from that developed a world that would observe this faith. I even adapted the world slightly to be used for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I dungeon mastered, and it surprisingly gave me a lot of inspiration. There is a lot of work to be done, specifically how hard it is to actually write the text itself, but the bones are there.
What show are you working on now?
I am currently playing Elder Price in a new Book of Mormon European Tour. Before that I was Elder Price on Broadway and before that Elder Price on the US National Tour, and before that Elder Smith on the US National Tour……. So I’ve been with the Book of Mormon for quite a journey! It is the greatest show that I’ve ever been a part of and it has taught me a lot of what it means to be a professional performer.
What is your favorite show to have been a part of and why?
Other than The Book of Mormon, I always hold a special place in my heart for West Side Story. Like I wrote earlier, being a Jet is indescribably special. It’s the kind of show that, whether you like it own not, you will feel completely connected to the whole cast by the time you’re done.
I feature a new performer every month, so check back in June for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know. Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Shout out to my friend Kevin for sharing with us from across the pond! 🙂