By Harry Haun
30 Apr 2012
Stardom happened. There he was back in 1996, his senior year of high school, at a boarding school in New Hampshire. "Because I sprained my ankle doing tennis that year, I got to try out for the lead in the school play, and I got it," he says. The lead was Pseudolus, Zero Mostel's part in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and the rest is history — in rapid-fire double-time.
"The parents of the girl who did the sets were big Hollywood producers, so when I went to USC the next year, they called me about a Fox sitcom they were producing. 'That '70s Show' was my first audition. I took it as a sign never to do stage again."
So, when Weitz came calling for his Lonely, I'm Not, Grace answered, albeit reluctantly. "I love going to theatre, but I was nervous about doing it. I didn't want to, but if you've had a great creative partner like Paul, you realize that's why you do it."
His first beard hides one of the New Faces of the 2011–12 theatre season. "This is my just-had-a-mental-breakdown beard," he beams proudly. "Does it read — that I had a mental breakdown? I talked to Paul about it. He said, 'Go ahead. We can shave it.' I think it's good. This guy is hanging on by a thread at the beginning of the play."
He plays Porter Willis, a once-married, former million-dollar corporate "ninja" on the mend from a meltdown. Giving life another shot, he gets a hand up from a blind, ambitious businesswoman (Olivia Thirlby) with obstacles of her own. Trip Cullman helmed this comic journey, and Mark Blum and Lisa Emery are the pillars of support.Continued...