Anthony Manna is the winner of the 2004 "Best Actor in a Leading Role" at the Sundies Film Festival in Boston, MA for his role as "Dade" in "Devolving." His other film credits include "Being Jonah" and "Squiggles." Off-Broadway, Anthony has delighted audiences in "Timon of Athens" (Public Theatre), "The Hasty Heart" (Keen Company), "Mickey Mouse Is Dead" (59E59 Theaters), "Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$" (Women's Project), "Fucking Ibsen Takes Time" (SoHo Playhouse), and "Romeo and Juliet" (Shakespeare NYC). His regional credits include productions at Yale Repertory Theatre ("Black Snow," "The Taming of the Shrew," "You Never Can Tell"), Hope Summer Repertory Theatre ("Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" and "The Game of Lvoe and Chance"), O'Neill Playwrights ("Blind Mouth Singing"), and About Face ("Recent Events").
Next up, Anthony will be seen in Project: Theater's "Mangella" at The Drilling Company Theater in NYC from October 6-23! According to press notes, "Mangella" is a darkly comic new play joy rides through one day in the bizarre life of Ned, an underground computer hacker. His attempts to reprogram his dementia-addled father (who insists he’s famous blues musician Mangella St. James) are proving impossible. Vietnamese gangsters want Ned dead. And his computer is really acting up. When a beautiful woman mysteriously shows up at his door, Ned thinks his luck may have finally turned. But has it? Nothing is what it seems in this exhilarating and heartbreaking virtual adventure.
Joining Anthony on stage will be Bob Austin McDonald ("The Angel Project" at Lincoln Center), Ali Perlwitz (NY debut), and Hannah Wilson ("ATYS" at BAM). "Mangella" plays at The Drilling Company Theater (236 West 78th Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam) from October 6-23! Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My cousin is Joe Pesci, and I remember when I was super young my father showed me a clip from Raging Bull so I could learn about who he was. I was way too young to understand what was going on (and the violence actually scared my fragile little mind) but I couldn't look away. Not long after that, I saw Star Wars and I had the same reaction. Now I know what it was: the storytelling. These people on screen, and behind the camera, were magical to me, conjuring up entire worlds with what they said and what they did. I realized then and there that this is what I wanted to do with my life. And here I am, almost three decades later, making dozens of dollars as a theatre actor.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Several names come to mind, but I'd have to say Amy Morton, from the Steppenwolf Theatre. I've loved every performance of hers that I've seen. She's the real deal; deeply moving and brutally honest. I have a not-so-secret fantasy of being a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble, and she's the one who inspired it.
3. What attracted you to "Mangella"? Definitely the characters. The play deals with a lot of fascinating and complex issues, some of them metaphysical in nature. But instead of being some cool but trite little thought experiment, Ken Ferrigni (the playwright) has created a rich story told by compelling, vulnerable, deeply human characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and methods of getting what they want. These people let it all hang out, and they play to win with no apologies.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Mangella"? How about a little debate: Do we get second chances in life? And if we did, would we actually want them?
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show and where is your favorite place to place to rehearse/practice on your own? My favorite part of the rehearsal period is the week or so before technical rehearsals begin. I work very slowly throughout the whole process, seeing what works and what resonates. Once I kind of whittle down the character into who I think he is, which tends to happen toward the end of the rehearsal process for me, the real fun begins. I inhabit the role more completely and become more in tune with the totality of the experience. As for practicing on my own, I have to say that, except for a little textual homework, I don't really rehearse on my own. I don't think the play can happen or discoveries can be made unless everyone's in the room.
6. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor? I've learned not to be afraid of my humanity, but to embrace it.
7. Favorite way to spend your day off? At the movies. At a coffee shop. Or at the museum.
8. Boxers or Briefs? A million percent, boxers.
9. Favorite website? I spend an ungodly amount of time on the Huffington Post. I want to go into public service someday, and I'm in the middle of building a soap box a mile high.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Based on powers alone? Superman. Based on TV theme song? Wonder Woman, by a landslide.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Change with the changes.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? That special someone.
13. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about performing in "The Hasty Heart" with fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Keith Nobbs? Ah, Keith! Really, he's one of the nicest, warmest, most sincere people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. And The Hasty Heart is still, to this day, the most fulfilling theatrical experience of my life. Everybody involved with that show was special. But what I remember the most is something that I think happened in between a matinee and an evening show one day. Keith and I were messing around on stage and we performed the full version of "A Penny for Your Thoughts" from Waiting for Guffman for the company. Such chemistry we had!