Monday, July 15, 2013

Spotlight On...Zal Owen

Name: Zal Owen

Hometown: Westfield, NJ

Education: Studied in the Musical Theatre program at University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).  Additionally, I currently study acting with Wynn Handman and have trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and with Bill Esper and Michael Howard.

Select Credits: National Tour: Fiddler on the Roof (Motel, opposite Harvey Fierstein and Theodore Bikel). Off-Broadway/NYC: Last Jew in Europe (Jozef, Triad Theater), Affair of Honour (Philip Hamilton, NYMF), The ToyMaker (Capek, York Theater Co.). Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, Atlanta TOTS, Ogunquit Playhouse.

Why theater?: The simple answer is that my parents brought my sister and I to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway when I was 5 years old, my Dad bought the audio cassette and I sang along with it the whole drive home... I've never looked back since.

Tell us about The Awakening of Angel Deluna: Angel DeLuna is a beautiful and heartfelt love story that masterfully blends amazing circus and magic acts into it's storytelling and emotional journey.  It takes place during the Depression Era and is about a trapeze duo who were separated after a tragic circus accident that left Angel DeLuna with memory loss and a fragile mind.  Ollie, who ran away and is now a hobo clown, has come back after 30 years to find the circus has been taken over by a shady magician and has to fight to get his lost love back.  I play Fred, Angel's nephew, who over the course of the musical has his own coming-of-age story where he must learn to become a man after having a baby and take the circus back into the family name.

What is it like being a part of The Awakening of Angel Deluna?: It is an experience like I've never had before.  I am working with true circus performers who have shared stories with me of their time working in Cirque du Soleil and leaving home as a teenager to join the circus.  Juggling and Magic have always been a hobby, two skills I learned from 9 years at summer camp, but it is so amazing to be sharing the stage and working on my skills with these professionals.  Additionally, as our show is a part of a festival, we are constantly reshaping dialogue, music, staging, etc.  It is such a fluid experience where we are all collaborating to make this show as good as it can be in the few weeks we have together.  It really keeps you on your toes as things change but it is so wonderful as an artist to be contributing to the piece as a whole.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater truly speaks to me when I stand up from my seat and I spend hours, if not days, processing - the story, the characters, emotions, how it speaks to me.  I like theater that makes me think and changes me, even if that simply means going home and learning more about the time period or location in which the story took place.  As an actor, I love being able to explore the different worlds and people in each piece.  To inhabit the behaviors and thoughts of the character, to connect.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Musical-wise, George in Sunday in the Park with George, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Che in Evita.  For plays, have to go with the classics, Hamlet in Hamlet, Konstantin Treplev in The Seagull, and Tom in The Glass Menagerie

What’s your favorite showtune?: That's easy, "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Stephen Sondheim, dream actors to work with would be Mandy Patinkin, Raul Esparza (see a repeating theme?) and would die to speak a word on film to Daniel Day-Lewis.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The actor in me would say, let me play myself! haha Oh I know, Meryl Streep!! She can do anything! I've always thought that "Zal, Just Zal" would be a great title as I need to clarify so frequently when asked, "what's Zal short for?"

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I thought Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was incredible and recommended it to many people.  As for what's currently on Broadway, I have to mention the other circus musical, Pippin, I thought it was extremely well done and such a fun and moving night at the theater.  And, I always recommend Jersey Boys.  Especially to anyone who is not an avid theatre-goer, it's a musical and concert all in one!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Playing Poker with friends or at casinos... for hours.  And, though I hate to admit it, I am a fan of two different types of reality TV - competition and real estate shows.

What’s up next?: I will be playing the role of Benjamin in L'Chayim at Theater for the New City at the end of August.  A really funny play about a son who comes home to find his recently widowed mother is looking to remarry a man who is only 5 years older than himself.

For more on Zal, visit For more on The Awakening of Angel Deluna, visit