John Early is a rising actor who was born in Nashville and graduated from NYU. He acts, writes, and does stand-up. On Stage he has delighted audiences in "10x25" (Atlantic Theater Company) "Caucasian Chalk Circle," "Fat Kids on Fire," and "Psycho Beach Party" (all with Pipeline Theatre Company). Television audiences will soon recognize John from his guest starring appearance on NBC's "30 Rock," airing on March 8, 2012!
Currently, John is starring as "Juliet" in Tragedians of the City's premiere production, an all male production of "Romeo and Juliet" from February 29 through March 17 at Chernuchin Theater at the American Theater of Actors (314 West 54th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues). Tickets are $20. Click here to purchase!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Gilda Radner.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Laura Dern. In any capacity. I'd hold her gum or be a living art installment in her house for all of time.
3. What attracted you to this version of "Romeo and Juliet" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? The thrill of men playing women sincerely and the chance to work with Anya Saffir. I hope audiences are thrilled by seeing men playing women sincerely and want to see everything Anya Saffir directs.
4. What do you identify most with the character of "Juliet"? What will you bring to the role that someone else has not? What does it mean to you to get portray one of literatures most well-known characters? Juliet is basically me, pre-heavy layers of New York cynicism. The part of me that un-ironically took modern dance classes in high school. I wish I had as much integrity as she does. But as we all know from the outcome of story, it's hard to live like that.
Playing Juliet with a capital J means raging anxiety. Fortunately, it also means getting to say some of the most beautiful things in the world. And having some of the most beautiful things in the world said to me by a dark-haired, dark-eyed man (Mike Piazza). Whenever we start a run or a rehearsal my middle school survival censors go off because expressing that feminine part of myself used to get me in trouble with the straight boys. But once I get over my shit, I feel so grateful for Juliet. I really love her.
5. How did you find out about Tragedians of the City? What has been the best part about working with them so far? The Tragedians of the City folk have all passed through Atlantic Theater Company's acting school in some way. I studied and worked there. They're classy people. And they're excited by the idea of doing an all male Romeo and Juliet, which I think is very ballsy (puns!).
6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? When you layer in all the stuff that makes it pretty. Like Cormac Bluestone's genius mandolin music. And Katja Andreiev's always inspired costumes. And Gabe Evansohn's beautiful set and light design.
7. Where is your favorite place to rehearse on your own? My bathroom mirror on a Friday or Saturday night.
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I'm a sad clown.
9. This past summer, you co-wrote a short called "Skindergarten." How did you come up with the idea and concept for this short? How did you come up with the character of "Ms. Lapachet"? Will the adventures of "Ms. Lapachet" continue? The concept came from making my roommate (Steve Girard, who directed) laugh while improvising as a teacher reading a book about a pickle. And then we tried to think of the most horrible thing that could happen to her while doing so. She's a composite of all the tragic, well-manicured teachers I had growing up in Nashville. We only meant for it to be a singular short, but I would of course love to see her doing the best she can in other harrowing classroom settings.
10. What was the best part about guest starring on "30 Rock"? What did you identify most with your character? The best part about guest starring on "30 Rock" was that it happened. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I got to play Jane Krakowski's son. Which technically makes me Jan Hooks's grandson. So I'll be cruising on that little connection well into my thirties. I identify with my character's actress worship, and that's about it. He's pretty shallow and soulless otherwise.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? "You should try therapy." --- My mom.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Anthony Perkins. Sorry, y'all.
13. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? I like to watch movies with my roommate on my days off. My favorite way to stay in shape was mimicking my mom as she worked out to her Jane Fonda VHS in the early 90's. Nurture not nature.
14. Boxers or Briefs? BRIEFS TILL THE DAY I DIE OR HAVE TO DO LAUNDRY.
15. Favorite website? That would have to be my Toni Collette website that I made at the achingly earnest age of 13 (Juliet's age...), which is tragically no longer on the internet.
16. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The power to make pimiento cheese spread regenerate. But, like, in the Third World!