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. This month our fairy tales become a naughty reality with Steven Trumon Gray, who currently stars in Company XIV’s Cinderella.
Steven Trumon Gray
Iowa City, Iowa
What is your favorite fairy tale and why?
Peter Pan. I think there’s something about not feeling like I belong on this plane of existence/reality that I resonate with. I also feel like I’m meant to create, explore and approach life with an air of playfulness in this lifetime. So, it seems like Peter Pan is quite the fit.
You have quite a range of talents—from stage performer to a successful photography career—which came first and how have your various disciplines evolved?
I actually began photography when Hurricane Sandy ruined Company XIV‘s old space in Brooklyn at 303 Bond. I was out of a job and for my birthday my mom bought me a cheap Canon camera, because she wanted to know how I saw the world. And I ended up realizing I like photographing humans more, so after a commercial gig I acted/modeled in, I spent all my buyout on upgrading my equipment and took my times in between performance projects to learn Photoshop, do test shoots, and try to teach myself how to be a “professional.”
I started gymnastics at age 3 and quit at age 17. I started dancing soon after quitting gymnastics then went to the University of Iowa where I double majored in Dance and Vocal Performance. All my aerial skill sets are fairly self-taught, or I learned from YouTube videos. I’ve had one pole private to prep for a pole duet Allison and I did for Nutcracker Rouge last year, but haven’t had any Lyra training. Allison taught me a few partnering skills she gathered from Cirque and I had to learn my own solos and fill in the transitions. I’m lucky to have done gymnastics or dance, aerial and the physicality I have wouldn’t have been as easily obtained. I’m glad I also work with patient partners as I’m learning new skill sets for shows.
If I wasn’t a performer, I would be:
I would love to work as a Director of Photography on film sets, so I’d get to craft, experiment and travel, or I would teach dance at a university.
Places, Intermission or Curtain Call?
I enjoy the curtain call. For almost all my XIV experiences I don’t even show up on stage for about 30 minutes to even an hour in, so intermission is usually my call to places. My anxiety preshow is pretty elongated then I feel as though I get shot out of a canon for the rest of the show. So curtain call is my “Namaste, have a nice day… I survived… Yay!” moment.
Cinderella is quite risqué in the costume department—any secrets to keeping everything in place?
Haha… That’s a good question. I’m always worried my right nut is going to fall out the side of my thong (yes, only my right) so I have to pull up the sides of the thong way too high… almost like the Pamela Anderson Baywatch-style one piece as it sits under the corset so it doesn’t fall down and create slack in the undergarment. That usually does the trick. Oh and manscaping is key… The audience is WAY too close even for their own comfort sometimes.
There’s SO much more! Take the leap…
The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at:
I don’t go out much… But if I do after the show I go visit my boyfriend at the bar he works at which is Kilo on 9th Avenue btw 55th and 56th Street. They have great small plates and a lovely selection of wines.
Or, if I really need it then I’ll go to The Taco Shop, which is this small space in the West Village where you can get $3 tacos and a cheap margarita. It feels like home… I can drink and shove food in my face for under $20.
After you’ve hit all the traditional sites of New York City, you should totally go to:
I haven’t even seen the traditional sites of New York and I’ve been here for three years, but I love going to metaphysical shops in the city. My favorites are Stick, Stone &
Bone in the West Village and Scent Elate on 48th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. I love getting new crystals, tarot decks, incense and whatever my spirit needs to become more balanced. Being a Sagittarius I really suck at finding balance because I’m a “go get’ em” type.
If I could live anywhere else in the world it would be:
I would love to live in Montreal, somewhere near Athens in Greece, or off the grid in a shamanic community in Cusco, Peru. I’m actually looking forward to the next location.
My workout “secret” is:
Eating lots of Duane Reade chex mix, at least one pint of gelato a night, and possibly a dollar slice indulgence on the way to the train after the show. Oh, and macaroons. Actually I have class pass but with this show I can’t work out too much or else I won’t have the energy to do all the duets.
When I’m looking for a date, nothing attracts me more than:
Well I’ve already met my partner, but what intrigued me about him was his kind eyes. There’s something about a slight sparkle and vastness in someone’s eye that always spellbinds me. Also if I hug a person and you fit together with all your chakras touching like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s usually a good sign that I’m going to get along with you. There’s nothing more telling about chemistry than a good, connected hug.
My favorite website to visit that you may not have heard of is:
pixelpeeper.com. I love being able to see high res images that other photographers have taken with my camera body, and lenses that I am thinking about purchasing. I love seeing people’s perspectives and the quality of images that are possible. It’s my favorite kind of research and also just happens to be investment preparation.
People would be surprised to learn that I . . .
Read tarot and am obsessed with my dog, Billy, and my cat, Griffin (who happens to go potty in the toilet.)
When I was 10, I wanted to be just like:
The Hamburglar or Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
If I could wish for anything (until midnight) it’d be…
To have just a few more hours in each day so I could get things done and spend time with people that I care about.
Ten years from now I’d like to be:
I have no idea, but that’s the exciting part. Before Cinderella started I was about to take a break from dancing and that obviously didn’t happen. So, who knows? All I know is the more fried chicken and waffles I can have at brunch time, the happier I’ll be in 10 years.
Company XIV’s Cinderella runs through November 15.