|photo by Kurt Sneddon|
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Education: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Select Credits: Venice Film Festival: Summertime (Matt- Dir. Gabriele Muccino “Pursuit of Happyness”), Tribeca FIlm Festival: G.B.F. (Topher, dir Darren Stein); South Pacific @ Lincoln Center
Why theater?: Because it's in the now. It’s happening right before us. It wasn’t recorded somewhere in time and witnessed on playback. Because I love humans and interacting with them. To come on stage and see a crowd full of people there who came to go on a journey and dig into a story is so thrilling to me. Building a relationship with them throughout a couple hours in a dark theater where incredible experiences can be had is very motivating to me.
Tell us about The View UpStairs: The View Upstairs is based on the real event that occurred in New Orleans in 1973 where a gay bar was burned down. It dissects the gay community quite a bit, it examines our hierarchy, our stereotypes, what’s beautiful about us and what’s tricky about us. It examines how far we’ve come and how far we need to go. It tells the story that the 32 lives in 1973 didn’t ever get to tell. Every single night before I go on that stage I send up a sort of thought/prayer into the universe and to the lives that were lost in hopes that I tell the story well and remind people of these lives lost in a way that is honorable to them.
Who do you play in The View UpStairs?: Patrick, a runaway hustler trying to stay afloat.
What is it like being a part of The View UpStairs?: It’s been incredibly rewarding to be apart of the creation of new work, and to put my artistic stamp on Patrick and the show. It’s also important to tell a story so few know occurred. It feels especially meaningful. But as a gay dude, it’s rare and special to be a part of something that is predominantly lead by gay characters. I love that Max Vernon created something that is so specifically fabulous, and GAY.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that has a message, a reason behind it. The kind of theater that reaches into your heart and then slowly moves up your throat as it tightens and your jaw locks to hold in the emotion you are overwhelmed by. I suppose that will occur in different types of shows depending on the person. It happened to me in very memorable ways during Once and The Color Purple. I was a mess. I loved feeling that. I have this phrase always on the forefront of my mind in terms of inspiration, and its “Tell your story.” As an artist we can get so caught up in just getting jobs and to “stay working” that we forget that a massive reason behind what makes this process special is that it’s you doing it, and there are things only you and your life experience can offer a role or piece. I find that incredibly inspiring. No one will do it like you do. Who inspires me? Artists who are completely themselves and not afraid of what jobs may or may not come because of that. Also, my husband’s work ethic honestly, and Beyonce’s appeal and originality :). Truly her appeal is so universal, it blows my mind. And she maintains that appeal while putting whatever the hell she feels like creating out there. And people eat. that. shit. up. We don’t meed more artists trying to fit a mold. We need new original artists here to shake things up and be different (enter: Max Vernon.)
What’s your favorite showtune?: Hmm. Tough. I love so many. But as of now---- I did kind of just swoon over “Too Beautiful For Words” recently when I saw Heather Headley perform it (the key being Heather Headley singing and acting it.)
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: There’s an Australian director who I think is truly a visionary named Neil Armfield. I would die to work with him. He is a brilliant story teller and celebrates all the things that make me excited to continue on in this business. Him and also my dear friend and brilliant actress Meghann Fahy. I would love to be opposite her on any stage or set anywhere and feel what that’s like.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I don’t know who would play me, but it would be called “You finally got your shit together!"
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Crazy For You original cast, 1992. That show makes me happy. I love those tunes.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Not many recently to be honest. There’s still a lot I need to see this year. I would recommend Hamilton more often if tickets were more readily available.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Wine.
What’s up next?: An 8 show week at the Lynn Redgrave this week.
For more on Taylor, visit www.TaylorFrey.com. For more on The View UpStairs, visit www.TheViewUpStairs.com