Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Spotlight On...Chuk Obasi
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Education: Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Geneseo (Communication Major, Musical Theatre and Dance double minor)
Favorite Credits: Tracers (Habu) at SUNY Geneseo; Under the Veil (Solace) at LaMama; Cadence: Home - I played 3 different characters in different productions of this one, Most recently at the Straz Center in Tampa, FL. My MOST favorite credit is Uniform Justice, which I didn't star in, but wrote and directed.
Why theater?: It’s an experience like no other, performing for a live audience. The factor of unpredictability is often exciting.
Who do you play in The Actual Dance?: I Play Sam Simon, as well as all of the other characters, which only exist through his talking about them.
Tell us about The Actual Dance?: The Actual Dance is a man's struggle to come to terms with the possibility of life without his soul mate the term "the actual dance" is kind of like a metaphor for the transition of your loved one from life to the afterlife. Sam re-lives his journey of figuring out what kind of partner he's supposed to be in the face of this seemingly impending dance.
What's it like to be a part of The Actual Dance?: It’s a huge honor. This is my first one man show, and I was approached by the actual Sam Simon, who wrote and starred in this play for the past three or four years, to take on the role. It’s a huge responsibility to take audiences on 'Sam's' journey each time I get to perform this.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theatre that evokes raw emotion from an audience, whatever that emotion may be. I'm also drawn to theatre that creates intrigue while keeping the characters authentic. My family inspires me as an artist every day, as they have been a large part of who I am and what I feel. They are also the primary reason for me to even want to be alive - can't beat that!
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Denzel Washington. I truly admire that man.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: The last show I recommended to people was Turn Me Loose during its recent off-Broadway run, another one-man show that starred Joe Morton. It was just astounding to see him work!
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Hmm... A younger version of Denzel, I guess. And it would be simply called "Obasi." That or "The Age of Madness” Either works.
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Hamilton with the original cast (Just to say I saw the original cast, I'm sure the current cast is amazing).
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: It used to be watching American Idol. But now that's off the air... now I don't know which remaining pleasure to describe as "guilty."
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Dead. Longer explanation - I can't imagine theatre being completely shut out of my career experience.
What’s up next?: I'm working on a new operetta/musical with a team of three other writers, I'm producing a play reading series at Intersections International (www.intersections.org) this December, and starring in a new play at Irondale Theatre next February. I also hope to continue playing future productions of The Actual Dance.