Tony Award Nominee Billy Magnussen Strips Down and Feels the Love in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
By Michael Gioia
Billy Magnussen, who received a 2013 Tony Award nomination for his performance as the empty-headed, yet beautiful boy-toy Spike in Broadway's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, spends the majority of his time on stage at the Golden Theatre shirtless. He sounds off on stripping down.
"It's funny, I made my Broadway debut in The Ritz, and all I did was run around in underwear on stage," Magnussen told Playbill.com following the news of receiving his first Tony Award nomination. "And now all I do is the same thing!"
Magnussen takes on one of the title characters in Christopher Durang's 2013 Tony Award-nominated Best Play, delivering a breakout performance of the season with his comic chops, scene-stealing persona and jaw-dropping six pack.
How does he stay fit? "I train a lot to get in shape, so I don't have to worry about [stripping down]," said Magnussen, who plays the twentysomething boyfriend to Sigourney Weaver's Masha. "Running and weights and diet… Diet is the biggest thing."
Upon receiving his first Tony nomination, the actor admitted he felt "warm…like [when a] puppy tickles you — that's how I feel!"
Tickling is one of Magnussen's favorite pastimes, both off stage and on. "Tickling with Sigourney [is my favorite part of the show]," he said. "There's this transition into one scene — it's not even in the script — [where] I pretend to hit her and punch her and stuff. She plays with me. It's fun."
Although Magnussen is garnering critical acclaim for his performance, he admitted that "sharing the play is the most important thing." He added, "I like Spike, and I like the cast. We care for each other, and we trust each other. That's what's f*cking awesome! They're unbelievable. I legitimately love them."
(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)
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