He was an understudy in the 2000 Off-Broadway production of Conor McPherson's This Lime Tree Bower, and went on a couple of times. And he essayed the weighty part of the bellboy in the 2002, star-stuffed Lincoln Center Theater revival of Dinner at Eight, backing up such stage veterans as Marian Seldes, Christine Ebersole, James Rebhorn, Joe Grifasi, Sloane Shelton and Emily Skinner. Nowadays, it's more likely for a member of the public to recognized Coiro than any of those theatre luminaries. He's won considerable visibility through the showy role of nutso director Billy Walsh on "Entourage" and the FBI Special Agent Sean Hillinger on "24." Coiro is currently reclaiming his stage roots in the Second Stage revival of Howard Korder's Boys' Life.
Playbill.com: How did you get involved in this production?
Rhys Coiro: I had actually come to audition for this Al Pacino play that never was produced. And the casting director for that is the same casting director for Second Stage. So, they remembered me. I was familiar with the play. I had never seen it, but I had read it. So I was sold right away.
Playbill.com: This is your first return to the New York stage in how many years?
RC: About six years, when I was in Dinner at Eight. I left for L.A. right after that.
Playbill.com: In that, you only played the bellboy. So this is a bit of a step up.
RC: Yes, but even doing that was a great experience. That production had, like, 29 people in it. I was surrounded by all these veterans. It was good coming in and out of that in my part. The director, who has since passed away, Gerald Gutierrez, was quite a character. He was tough. He had a lot to offer.
|photo by Jean-Marie Guyaux|
Playbill.com: Have you run into any of those performers since, in your work on television?
RC: Nah. Most of them are based in New York, I think. Except that one of the actresses in Boys' Life right now, Betty Gilpin, was the daughter of one of the people in Dinner at Eight. I remember meeting Betty backstage. She was 16 then. Playbill.com: Of the three young men in Boys' Life, which one do you play?
RC: I am Jack.
Playbill.com: Has Howard Korder been at rehearsals
RC: Yes, he has.
Playbill.com: Has he made any changes to the script?
RC: Yeah, he's made some changes. He's made some cool little adjustments. Not changes so much as tweaks.
Playbill.com: Have you had any difficulty in getting your stage legs back?
RC: Huh. Um, no. No. It feels nice. It feels good. Knock wood. It's really refreshing, actually. It's fun.
Playbill.com: About your role in "24." Is that complete or is it continuing?
RC: Well, you never really know on "24." Plots come in and out; people die and come back to life. We were working on it when the writers' strike happened. The ax fell right in the middle of working on it. It broke everything up. Two and half to three months, we had to just stop. But that is a heck of a show.