I first interviewed Zachary Infante, a performer continuing to rise up in 2010 after seeing him in a reading of Bobby Cronin's W2ML (at the time I saw Zachary, it was called "The Beaten Path"). Since that time, Zachary has continued on with W2ML as it moves forward with it's fruition to hopefully being a full production, he has starred Paper Mill Playhouse's "Peter Pan" (alongside Nancy Anderson), and most recently, went back to Paper Mill Playhouse this past summer to intern at their Conservatory to foster his directing/coaching skills.
Currently, Zachary can be seen in NYU GAP's production of Jason Robert Brown's "Songs For A New World" through February 25th at The Shop Theatre in NYC (721 Broadway). Tickets are available for purchase starting one hour before show time. To reserve tickets in advance (limit: 4) or for more information please email NewWorldGAP@gmail.com.
For more on Zachary be sure to follow him on Facebook!
1. What attracted you to "Songs For A New World"? My director Danny Baird, along with the NYU GAP Board for collaborative student projects, proposed implementing movement into the traditional song cycle. The concept along with the direction and choreography allowed me to keep in mind the challenge that Jason Robert Brown's music and lyrics present. I wanted to get into the stories told in this piece and so I felt motivated to make changes in my own life. The process this show demands as well and the amazing group of collaborators I'm working with made this production irresistible.
2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? The power to change had been something I've taken from this experience and I hope that people leave this show feeling empowered to act in those tough moments of indecision. Living through this movement and having experienced the real people I'm working with outside of rehearsal has been such a motivation to enact positive change in my life and encourage those close to my heart to do the same.
3. What do you identify most with about your character "Man 1"? This is a tough one, I guess because my process has been so much about discovering how different I am from "Man 1" but I know in my heart this character is driven in the same way I am. I often feel pressure to produce a result but getting to know this character has helped me to accept the passion behind that desire. There's nothing wrong with trying to change the world and this character has helped me to embrace that drive in me while remembering that to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
4. What do you like most about singing the music of Jason Robert Brown? The strong intention behind the orchestration tingles my nerves. I get the chills listening to the introduction of "King of The World" and it brings an energy to the storytelling which allows me to feel truly safe in the lyric and intention.
5. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Most recently I've become all the more anxious to work with LaQuet Sharnell. I saw her work in Lysistrata Jones and in Bobby Cronin's Holiday concert and she really is a passionate artist with so much to say and so much left do in this industry. I admire her genuine kindness and honesty in her craft, her energy gets me all bubbly! She has an impeccable talent and reputation and the chance to sing, dance, or speak with her would rock my world!
6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Getting back to the importance of the storytelling and development process fulfills my artistic self. I love when a director, choreographer, or composer aren't afraid to have those challenging conversations with an actor or ensemble to articulate the message being sent. The collaborative process and the challenge it presents excites me.
7. Where is your favorite place to practice on your own? At this point in my life, I love grabbing a studio after classes at CAP21 and moving around in an open space. There are so few chances to do that in such a cramped city but the space of an open studio feels so right.
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned there's no fault in loving what you do and in embracing how you identify as an artist. Studying theater has certainly created a stigma for me that actors can't get away from their work. WELL AMEN to that, I remember reading in a fortune cookie once that work isn't work if you love what you do and I love any chance I get to develop my artistic self.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? It came from my first year studying at NYU - CAP21. As a young actor, I've found the importance of self-awareness and acknowledgement. Thanks to the faculty and my colleagues at CAP21, I know the importance of breathing and leading from your heart. To me it now feels so fundamental, but it really has been the catalyst for so much of my artistic progress.
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I'd dream about the first gay couple to be married under US Federal law, hopefully someday soon that dream will be reality!
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? I really enjoy time to myself recently. Yoga, sleeping/snuggling in or reading a book in silence bring me the most peace.
12. Favorite website? AHHH! I LOVE CNN and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. I usually start my morning with a few news videos on CNN to keep myself updated on the world and then I go liberal with my girl Rachel.
13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Superpowers turn me off. I'm much more into Batman, since he uses his passion to drive him. But the power to be listened to and respected seems "super" in todays times. So..I'll go with the power to be heard and respected :)