Raul Esparza has amassed enough choice musical theatre credits to keep six actors happy: A tour as Che of Evita, Riff Raff in Broadway's The Rocky Horror Show, Jon in Off-Broadway's tick, tick...BOOM! and the Emcee in Broadway's Cabaret. Did the onetime Chicago actor take singing lessons?
"No," he told Andrew Gans in Playbill On-Line's June 18-24 Brief Encounter interview. "It [wasn't] my thing. I really, really, really disliked musicals, and I thought they were cute and it didn't take much to be a [musical theatre] actor. Boy, was I wrong! And, also in Chicago, you have to make a decision: If you're gonna do musicals, you're gonna do sort of the dinner theatre circuit. And I wanted to be a different kind of actor, and my dream was to get to work with Goodman and Steppenwolf."
That dream came true, but has now been eclipsed in the public eye by his being cast in high-profile revivals of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins (targeted for Broadway 2003-2004) and the summer 2002 runs of Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park With George at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
To view the PBOL's weekly signature Q&A, the Brief Encounter, click Raul Esparza Brief Encounter.
— By Kenneth Jones