Josh Mesnik: Have I Got A Girl For You Interview
Josh Mesnik is an accomplished actor, writer, sommelier, and pimp. It’s good to be well rounded! Favorite credits include "Jewtopia" directed by John Tillinger, "Into the Woods," "Art," "The Lion in Winter," and "Something’s Afoot." He attended NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. Josh is thrilled to have received the 2012 FringeNYC TheaterMania Audience favorite award for his play "Have I Got a Girl For You."
His show, "Have I Got A Girl For You" has been selected to be part of the New York International Fringe Encore Series from September 13-22 at the The Players Theatre in NYC (115 MacDougal Street).Click here for tickets!
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1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/playwright? Mary Martin. "Peter Pan" starring Mary Martin to be precise. I remember watching it over and over again and performing it in my living room. I used to get friends to act it out while doing my best to recreate choreography off of the video. Then came the first Broadway show I ever saw which was "Into The Woods." I remember sitting in the audience at the ripe old age of 8 and thinking this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Jan Maxwell in the actor category. I don't think it's a stretch to say she may be the greatest living theatre actress. Writer: Tony Kushner, I'm a gay Jewish boy who else did you expect?
3. What made you want to write and star in "Have I Got A Girl For You?" A good friend of mine who is a writer kicked me in the ass to do it. I mean what else can you do when you have a story like this? I found that whenever I spoke to someone about running a female escort agency they would have a million questions and next thing you know after some coercion I had pen to paper and there it was.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope that audiences can gain an understanding of this world. These girls who worked for this agency weren't uneducated or simple minded. They were women making a choice to make a lot of money and some of them were wonderful caring people. The men who patronized the business weren't all scumbags. It's a subject people don't like to talk about and I don't think that the business has ever been shown in this detail.
5. The show is based upon your experience of becoming sober and starting a female escort agency. What was the moment that you realized you wanted to stop drinking? How has your life changed since that time? I was holed up in a hotel right by the World Trade Center. I had been on a week-long bender and the hotel refused to let me extend my stay. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I refused to let housekeeping in the room for the entire week and had already given the front desk 2 different credit cards to pay for my stay. As I scrambled to pack up my belongings I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack (a week with about 12 hours of sleep will do that to you.) I opened the shades and looked for the first time at the whole in the ground that used be the World Trade Center. I fell to the ground and started to bawl. I knew at that moment that something had to change.
I was only 23 when I got sober. I had to learn how to do everything again. There was nothing in my life that seemed to occur naturally at first. Everything took effort. However, the main thing I've learned is that if I'm using drugs and alcohol I know what to expect...misery, and general failure in life. When I'm sober there are possibilities. I opt for the latter now, and I have to continue to make that decision each and every day.
6. Why did you want to start a female escort agency as opposed to a gay male escort agency? My only experience was on the female side of things. I was the "point of sale" for every client at what was the largest agency on the East Coast. So it was a much easier transition for me to stay on that side of things. Also in general the female business is much more profitable. The hours of operation for an female agency are normal business hours. Our busiest time coincided with lunch breaks for the surrounding offices. These girls were usually doing between 7 and 10 hour long appointments a day. I have not heard of a male agency that is able to do those kind of numbers. Plus....I'd get myself in far too much trouble wanting to sample the merchandise on the male side of things.
7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/playwright? I've learned that you won't succeed unless you're willing to take risks. Also that when you feel things are stuck in neutral, attempt to do the next "right thing" and you'll probably end up just fine.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received? My grandmother used to always say "If you can't be good be careful." It has always stuck with me.
9. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? See the first part of question 1. But seriously, there's a boy I've been skype"ing" with who lives in Paris who seems to have gotten into my dreams a lot. Apparently I'm much more charming when you're thousands of miles away. Did I really just reveal that? Or Patti Lupone.
10. Favorite way to spend your day off? Discovering a new restaurant with friends.
11. Favorite way to stay in shape? A whores diet of cigarettes and sugar free energy drinks. Plus I run.
12. Boxers or Briefs? Boxerbriefs. But pretty much whatever is clean.
13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd like to walk through walls. Sort of like Malcolm Getts in "Amour."