CUE & A: Here Lies Love Star Conrad Ricamora on the Immersive Experience, His Raptor Impression and "The Golden Girls"

Cue and A   CUE & A: Here Lies Love Star Conrad Ricamora on the Immersive Experience, His Raptor Impression and "The Golden Girls" Conrad Ricamora, who stars as Ninoy Aquino in the immersive David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Conrad Ricamora
Conrad Ricamora

Ricamora won a 2013 for this performance. Other favorite roles include Romeo, Benvolio, Paris and Juliet in four different productions of Romeo and Juliet; Tom in The Glass Menagerie; Tartuffe and Kenny in Fuddy Meers.

Screen work includes "Talladega Nights" and the upcoming "How to Get Away With Murder" with Viola Davis.


Full given name: Conrad Wayne Ricamora

Where you were born/where you were raised: California, Iceland, Colorado, Florida (thanks US Air Force!)

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

What your parents did/do for a living: Social worker and retired Air Force

Current audition song/monologue: "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers and Angelo from Measure for Measure

Siblings: Older brother is a club DJ

Special skills: Velociraptor impersonation

Something you're REALLY bad at: Unfortunately, cooking

First Broadway show you ever saw: Aida

If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?: The recent Glass Menagerie. Everyone was awesome, but I want to watch the Gentleman Caller scene over and over again - Celia, my god, I was in awe of what she did onstage. She played such a meek character, but she had so much going on inside that it was hard to watch anything else... Sorry, I can't get over it.

Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Violet

Favorite showtune(s) of all time: All of Cole Porter and Jason Robert Brown

Some favorite modern musicals: Violet, Parade

Some favorite classic musicals: West Side Story, Singin' in the Rain

Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Gregory Peck, Greta Garbo

Your personal performance idols, living or dead: Ben Kingsley, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Joaquin Phoenix, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Etta James, Chet Baker, Nikka Costa, Ella Fitzgerald

The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: My favorite singer/songwriter Nikka Costa live... She gave EVERYTHING onstage and was a sweaty mess by the end.

Music that makes you cry, any genre: My castmate Natalie Cortez's recording of "There is a Child" from the musical Giant just slays me every time.

MAC or PC?: MAC

Most played song on your iPod: "It's Always You" by Chet Baker

Most-visited websites: NYTimes, Hulu, Netflix, Wikipedia

Last book you read: "Living With a Wild God" by Barbara Ehrenreich

Must-see TV show(s): "The Mindy Project," "SNL," "Orange Is The New Black," "Looking," "Girls," "House of Cards"

Last good movie you saw: "Nebraska"

Some films you consider classics: "Goonies," "Contact," "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "Home Alone"

Performer you would drop everything to go see: David Byrne. I've worked with him for the past 2 years, I'm singing his songs every night, but I've never seen him live!

Pop culture guilty pleasure: The online series "Submissions Only." It's hilarious and so well written!

Three favorite cities: Asheville, NC, Seaside, FL, Nerja, Spain

Favorite sport/team/player: I played competitive tennis growing up and just went to the US Open for the first time last year and saw Rafael Nadal for the first time live. He's unreal. When he's healthy I think he's unbeatable.

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: SWV on tape

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: I didn't start acting until after undergrad!

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I randomly took an acting class in undergrad and was reading a monologue from Lemon Sky by Lanford Wilson, and I felt such a connection to the material and then to the audience as I was doing it. This electric current ran through the author, me and the audience, and I felt connected in a way that rarely happens. I was hooked.

How you got your Equity card: Ferdinand the Bull at the Arden Theatre in Philly

Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Kale salad from Fresh n Co.

Favorite liquid refreshment: Plain ol' water

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Yoga, shower, vocal stuff. Just showing up to the theatre early and listening to what my body needs.

Most challenging role you have ever played: Juliet in R&J

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I was touring kid's shows out of a van early in my career and we were performing at a special needs school. Some kids could communicate through an electric keyboard on their chairs. Me and my 3 other cast mates were dressed as various animals. 15 minutes into the show, we hear this electronic voice blare out from one of the wheelchairs, "I WANT TO GO HOME." We died.

Worst costume ever: The raven costume I wore from the story above

Worst job you ever had: Telemarketing (I didn't last long)

Craziest audition story: The one for Here Lies Love! I was in my last year of grad school 2 years ago in TN. I flew up for an open call, didn't get into NYC until 3 AM, got up at 6 AM to wait in line, got a call back for the next day. Was in the room with David Byrne and Alex Timbers. They wanted me to come back for a third audition the day after that but I had to go back to school. I was in class the next day when I got the call from the casting director saying that I got the part. I got to share the moment with my classmates. It was so awesome.

What drew you to this project?: The history of the Philippines and the amazing music that David and Fatboy Slim wrote.

What sort of research did you put into preparing for the role?: Watched a lot of videos of Ninoy Aquino to get his speech patterns and certain gestures down. Read all of his letters. His letters from the 7 years he spent in prison were especially helpful.

What do you find to be the biggest thrill or challenge of performing such a complex and interactive piece?: The biggest thrill is to see the evolution of the audience members who start to let themselves go into the story.

If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be?: Imelda

Leading man role you've been dying to play: All the Shakespeare boys - Hal, Hotspur, Angelo, Mercutio, Shylock, Richard, etc. Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, Chet Baker in the unwritten musical about his life.

Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Amanda in Glass Menagerie. I've spent so much time in the South, I think I know who she is.

Something about you that surprises people: I didn't start acting until I was in my 20s

Something you are incredibly proud of: My parents

Something you're embarrassed to admit: I own all 7 seasons of "The Golden Girls"

Career you would want if not a performer: I created and opened a student-run coffeehouse in undergrad and I loved it. I'd want to do that in the West Village.

Three things you can't live without: Music, relationships, good coffee

Words of advice for aspiring performers: Find out what you can control and love to do, focus on that, and let all the rest just blissfully slide off your back.

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