STAGE VIEWS: Actor-Writer Brandon Ruckdashel, Now Appearing in Off-Broadway's Success Story

Special Features   STAGE VIEWS: Actor-Writer Brandon Ruckdashel, Now Appearing in Off-Broadway's Success Story's series features actors commenting on their recent theatregoing experiences, what productions they're looking forward to and more. Here, via email, we hear from actor-writer Brandon Ruckdashel, who is currently appearing in The ReGroup Theatre Company's production of John Howard Lawson's Success Story at the Robert Moss Theater.

Brandon Ruckdashel
Brandon Ruckdashel

What show recently impressed you?
I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but Newsies definitely impressed me. Way back in the day, I had heard the rumors about Harvey Fierstein working on the script, and it caught me as probably one of the best moves a producer could make. He's truly a genius actor and writer.

What production are you most excited to see?
[I had wanted to see] Picnic. I was in a production at East Carolina University under the direction of Robert Caprio, as Alan, while I was an undergrad. I always enjoy seeing how different directors translate the same piece onto the stage and the different storytelling methods they use.

What play/musical would you most like to revive on Broadway, and which role would you want to play?
I'm not exactly a fan of revivals; I'd prefer to bring a new piece to Broadway and promote the talent of young, upcoming writers. I think all-too often the Broadway world can be insular and young playwrights find it difficult to be discovered within as Stephen Schwartz once described to me as "15 blocks of fame." There is a certain joy that comes to originating a new role that really appeals to me. It lacks the pains of attempting to fill someone else's shoes and the wrath of the community when you reinterpret a classic.

What are your current/upcoming projects?
I'm currently in rehearsals for ReGroup Theatre's upcoming production of Success Story, where I play Jeffrey Halliburton. I'm thrilled to be working with ReGroup Theatre to promote this forgotten play and writer. As a fan of Odets' style, I was blown away by how much he literally took from John Howard Lawson's bag of theatrical devices, conceits and dialogue. The rehearsal process has become a history lesson into what happened to the Hollywood Ten when they were shunned by their own industry after not naming names in front of congress. The setting of the play's three acts, straddling the Great Depression, also hits me as a beautifully written reminder that what is happening today has happened yesterday. "Gravedigger," my new horror film, is also shooting in New Jersey at the same time, so you can bet I'll be doing a lot of commuting.

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