Now he is lighting up the stage as "Joseph Dzugashvili Stalin" in Otho Eskin's Final Analysis at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through October 5. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Al Pacino and Robert De Niro initially. I grew up with their movies, especially Once Upon a Time in America and The Godfather. It was fascinating to me when later on in my life I discovered how much in common I have with both of them, their lives and their careers. In addition to that my grandfather Vangel was an actor, unfortunately, I never had a chance to meet him but heard the wonderful stories about him. That was the initial urge for it, which later on in my teens and early twenties has developed into something a lot deeper and substantial, an instinct for survival, a purpose to live for. Now acting defines me WHO I am, WHAT I am and WHY I am. It is a path to freedom and self liberation.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Needless to say the two Giant names mentioned above for sure and Scorsese of-course. Peter Brook. Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Bruno Ganz, Sean Penn etc.
3. What attracted you to Final Analysis? The brilliant concept of the play. The fact that even though 100 years have passed by and we went through such atrocities as WWI and WWII, The Balkan Wars, The Bosnian Genocide, Rwanda, Vietnam etc. and nothing much has changed apart from the game players. The class division, exploitation, antisemitism, racism, hatred are unfortunately still very relevant and one quarter of the world is at war.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? To recognize themselves in the characters of Final Analysis, no matter how scary and weird that maybe. To walk out with more that they walked in. To understand themselves better.
5. What do you identify most with about playing "Joseph Dzugashvili Stalin"? Well as scary as it is to talk about it, to my surprise there was a lot more parallels that I could have ever thought. To mention one: He believed in his own revolution through the proletariat and I believe in my own, in the power of art. The rest is a subject to an extensive discussion.
6. What is it like to portray such a well known public figure? Complicated as Alec Baldwin would say. There are so many aspects of Stalin's life and so many fascinating facts that I went though a process of elimination of what I was to choose to finally use that would make sense and yet give justice to the character for this period of his life. I play him in his earlier years before he rose to power and became what most of the world knows of him. But also to make him human and find the humor in him. He was a human being after all and I as an actor am to stand behind him and defend the character no matter how vicious he was.
7. In addition to acting, you are a singer and drummer. What do get from music that you do not get from acting? I get another level of depth, music is my main source of inspiration. I am Macedonian and grew up in a musician's family so I knew of music before I knew of anything else in my life. I guess that digs into my roots and genes deeper. For each of my characters I have a very specifically scored soundtrack that runs into my body and mind. The music IS the most important element in my work.
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I am the biggest challenge and obstacle to myself. That if I can conquer my fears I can conquer everything. Nothing is Impossible. And a lot more.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "On stage you speed slowly" (in other words go fast slowly). This comes from my legendary Professor Stefan Danailov from the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts in Sofia-Bulgaria. I finished my four year conservatory at this prestigious academy. Or as the wonderful Gia Forakis would say "One Thought One Action at a time" which has resulted in her magnificent acting technique OTOA which Gia practices and develops with her theater company GF & CO, whom I have the great honor to be part of.
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To erase the world's boarders and travel around each land on my bicycle just like the "Little Prince," meet the locals and tell them how wonderful and special they are, for we are created equal and none is superior. To tame a shark on Bondi Beach in Sydney, my city of Birth, fly over the Ocean with it and meet with (as Tennessee Williams would say) 'The Lovely Ones,' the people so greatly close to my heart, that I wish I could see them and chat with them for few more breaths, come back on earth with them and bring immortality, sit on the top of Mount Everest and Sing Zajdi Zajdi (A Macedonian Traditional Song about lost youth) so the entire universe can hear.
11. Favorite way to stay in shape? Kick Boxing. www.nysanda.com and cycling of course.
12. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs. I don’t find boxers sexy :)
His recent film credits include: What about us (Jasmine Guy), the European Premiere of the comedy This is not an American Movie, the award winning US a Love Story directed by Alrick Brown (Sundance), American Hunger (coming soon) etc. TV credits include: Law and Order SVU; Americas Most Wanted FOX TV; The World’s Astonishing News; Japanese National TV, etc. His Most recent NY theater credits: "Karpovsky" in the World Premiere of Best of TheaterWorks: Stories from the 99% Tamilla Woodard, "Jason" in Medea, Gia Forakis & CO, "Bugsy Brodsky" in Tennessee Williams’ Something Cloudy and Something Clear; "KGB agent Laverenti" in the US Premire of PURGE at LaMaMa E.T.C; "Cengiz Pasha," the leader of Crete in the World Premiere of Three Graces at the OBIE winning SOHO TINK Ice Factory Festival, "Hamlet" in The Ophelia Landscape [Mark Morris]; "Odysseus" in The Odyssey; "Jocasta" in Oedipus Rex etc. Tony is fluent in four languages. He is also a singer, a drummer and a Martial artist.