Every month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out editor Matthew Wexler’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine.
I grew up all over the U.S. until my family settled in the Washington, D.C. area when I was about 14. My family still lives there.
How would you describe the Fuerza Bruta experience?
It’s a high-energy, immersive theatrical experience, but everyone has a very personal takeaway and a very different interpretation because there is no narrative. You get to take everything in and relate your own personal experience. Everyone always leaves in a great mood, feeling energized. As a performer, it’s so satisfying to see the journey that the audience goes through, really becoming a part of the show, releasing inhibitions, and enjoying the environment. It’s powerful.
What was your audition like?
Auditioning for Fuerza Bruta was probably one of the most intense processes that I have ever been through in my career. Usually, in theatre auditions, you have a dance call, they ask you to sing, you have a callback, and then you book the job. Fuerza is not like any other show, so the audition process was a lot more involved. There are so many specialty acts in the show that they really put you through the ringer when looking at actors.
The first day was hundreds of people waiting to be seen, and we learned the Murga, which is the Argentine street dance that is part of the show. They made cuts based on this movement, but luckily I made it to the second day. The men then had to get on the treadmill and put on a harness, and run at various speeds.
The next day was on the treadmill as well, while trying to keep placed furniture from falling off the back, mimicking part of the actual show. It was stressful to say the least. The last act they had us do was a part of the show called Cortinas. This is where we hang from the ceiling and fly around the walls of the room, doing slow, structured choreography.
Finally, we had to do everything again on the last day for Diqui James, the creator and artistic director of Fuerza Bruta. It was intense, but getting that call from my agent that I had booked the show after about four weeks of callbacks was one of the greatest moments of my career.
Will you be participating in Broadway Bares again this year? If so, what can we expect to see? (Or not see!)
Yes! I’m excited to be working on Broadway Bares 26: On Demand this year… my ninth year in a row! This year is going to be something very special. We will be taking over Hammerstein Ballroom on June 19 and hundreds of Broadway and Off-Broadway performers have been rehearsing for weeks to give a one-of-a-kind burlesque show with a Broadway twist.
Our theme this year is all about television, and the numbers are out-of-this-world fun! I’m proud to be choreographing again this year. I’ve been on the creative team for a few years now, and working with director Nick Kenkel and creator Jerry Mitchell has been such a great learning experience. Working with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has become my favorite part of my year, and this year, you don’t want to miss anything. It’s a great mix of sexy and fun. Get your tickets now, because it always sells out!
Are you working on other choreography project right now?
I’m always trying to work on theatre projects in some capacity. The best part of being in New York is that there are always artists who want to collaborate, or just help out. Some days I’ll just ask a handful of friends to come to a studio, and we will just play for a few hours and see what we can create together.
Sometimes it leads to a performance down the road, but it’s beautiful to just be surrounded by the healing energy of dancers/actors. I couldn’t see my life without it. As far as specific projects, I’m working on a couple videos that I’d like to see produced, and filling up my teaching schedule as much as possible.
If I weren’t a performer, I would be:
That’s a tough one because theatre has become my life. If I wasn’t on stage, I would definitely like to be inside a theatre or on a set somewhere behind the scenes. I’m addicted to the magic of it all. It makes me happy. I still get goose bumps every time the house lights go to half, and I’m about to be taken to another world. I suppose if I had to leave the entertainment world all together, I have a serious addiction to HGTV, so I think I’d find some interest in home design or flipping houses. I love the idea of making things beautiful in whatever way my brain can work it.
Places, Intermission or Curtain Call?
PLACES—I love going on the journey!
The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at:
My absolute favorite place for a drink is on a Sunday evening, after the show at FLY on the rooftop Monarch Hotel in the summer. They have this great rum punch that they serve in an oversized cup. It’s delicious, and you have an incredible view of the Empire State Building and all of midtown as you watch the sunset, surrounded by a crowd of great people. It’s my happy place.
After you’ve hit all the traditional sites of New York City, you should totally go to:
There are so many options when looking for interesting places to visit in NYC. My suggestion would be to experience all the incredible performance art that is only available here. There are so many experimental shows that are happening all over this city, and the price tag won’t break the bank. Shows like Sleep No More and Then She Fell will leave you questioning what theater can be, and they are exciting! You can’t see them anywhere else in the world, and they are definitely not traditional.
If I could live anywhere else in the world it would be:
I have a love affair with another city. New York will always be my number one, but for the past eight years, I’ve taken a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s my little piece of paradise. One day I’d love to move there to retire. It’s a small town, with great energy, great food, and a beautiful sunset.
My workout “secret” is:
Just GET to the gym. If I can just manage to convince myself to just get there, I can have a good workout. Getting the motivation to walk over to the gym is always the hardest part for me. After being in a show that is so physical, I can be extremely exhausted during the day. I always feel so good once I’ve finished the workout, and I’m glad that I went, but my brain just wants to watch The View on the couch with my cup of coffee.
When I’m looking for a date, nothing attracts me more than:
The best thing about dating is figuring out the other person and how they tick. The thing that attracts me most is someone who is up for anything! Spontaneous and exciting are characteristics that keep me interested. I like everyday to feel like an adventure, even if it’s just a small change in my day-to-day life.
My favorite website to visit that you may not have heard of is:
I love the TodayTix app. They have online lotteries that make it SO much easier to see Broadway shows at a discounted rate. I have yet to win one of these lotteries, but one day it will happen!
People would be surprised to learn that I . . .
Used to be a part of an organization called “Children’s Express” when I was a kid. It was an international news outlet for kids age 8-18. I spent about five years working out of the D.C. bureau, reporting news that affects everyone, but told from the perspective of youth. I traveled all over covering political conventions, interviewing world leaders, and learning so much about diversity in our world. It was an enriching and beautiful experience that I am thankful for everyday.
When I was 10, I wanted to be just like:
I wanted to be just like my father when I was a kid. He was a radio DJ, but above that, he was a showman. I loved going with him to promotional events and watching how he interacted with the crowd. I’d go with him to the studio and sit and watch him broadcast to the country. He was a great man who taught me a lot and helped to shape my future in the entertainment industry.
Ten years from now I’d like to be:
I hope to still be working in the entertainment field. I’d love to be working on a Broadway show as a choreographer/director. I’d also love to work more in TV/film. About three years ago, I started taking acting classes, and as I grow as an actor, I’d love to work more on straight plays. It’s a challenge, but one that I’m very interested in. I want to continue this journey of making art. It challenges me and I love it.
Fuerza Bruta is currently playing at the Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 East 15th Street. For more information, visit www.fuerzabrutaglobal.com/nyc.