Best known for playing "Ted Schmidt" on Showtime's Queer As Folk and "Dr. Douglas Filmore" on Fox's Bones, "Call Me Adam" chats with actor Scott Lowell about making his Broadway debut in The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and Alessandro Nivola, which will play at the Booth Theatre in NYC (222 West 45th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) from November 7-February 15. Click here for tickets!
The Elephant Man tells the story of a 19th-century British man who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit. When the renowned "Dr. Treves" takes "Merrick" under his care, he is astonished by the man’s brilliant intelligence, unshakable faith and, most of all, his resounding desire for love and understanding. He introduces "Merrick" to the beautiful actress "Mrs. Kendal," who is deeply touched by this pure and genuine soul. As a complex friendship blossoms among the three, "Treves" and "Kendal" struggle to protect "Merrick" from a world of questionable intentions…and so begins a story of love as unique as The Elephant Man himself.
1. In 2012, you starred in the pre-Broadway production of The Elephant Man at Williamstown Theatre Festival with Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and Alessandro Nivola. At that time, what made you want to audition for this production? Growing up and going to school in CT I had always wanted to work at Williamstown (the Crown Jewel of Summer Theatre Fests!) and I had just met Scott Ellis the previous Fall out in CA (and we hit it off immediately). When I saw that he would be directing Elephant Man w/Bradley I got very excited. I had always been a fan of the play and knew there were a few multi-character tracks in it (my bread-and-butter back in Chicago) so I got in touch and asked if I could put myself on tape for some of the roles. Scott graciously agreed and fortunately he was feeling generous when he watched my tape and agreed to let me join in the adventure.
2. Now, two years later, you are all starring in the Broadway production from November 7-February 15 at The Booth Theatre. What are you looking forward to most about working with this cast again? Exactly what we have been doing: not merely dusting it off but really re-examining it and going even deeper with it than we were able to with the brief rehearsal period we had up in the Berkshires.
3. What do you identify most with about the story of The Elephant Man? The notion of never judging a book by it’s cover--that you never know what kind of beautiful soul may be lurking under the most off-putting of exteriors.
4. You play a few different roles in The Elephant Man. What do you enjoy most about playing several roles in one show as opposed to having one role? Do you relate more to one of your characters than another? It’s a great challenge and can at times be less satisfying than having one character with an arc…but challenges bring great rewards sometimes. In this case, it’s the reward of helping tell the story of this incredible man. I usually do relate more to one of my characters when I’m doing multiple roles but to be honest I haven’t played favorites yet with any of them in this show…but I’m leaning towards "Snork." I mean, his name alone...
5. It's been two years since you performed in this production of The Elephant Man and have had two years of life experience. How do you think these past two years of living will enhance your portrayal of the roles you are playing? ALL my characters will be a lot GRAYER!
6. While you are known for playing "Ted Schmidt" on Showtime's Queer As Folk and "Dr. Douglas Filmore" on Fox's Bones, you have had an equally successful career on stage, but never performed on Broadway prior to The Elephant Man. What excites you about making your Broadway debut and what are you most nervous about? This is truly a childhood dream come true for me. I grew up around New Haven, CT and would come to NYC to see shows all the time and read the Sunday New York Times Arts & Leisure section every week (I was VERY good at finding the "Ninas" in the Hirschfeld drawings!) and all this is what made me want to become an actor. I saw Sunday in the Park with George multiple times at The Booth Theatre and the fact that I will be making my Broadway debut on that very stage gives me goosebumps. I LOVE working on stage and to FINALLY be invited to work on a Broadway stage after 27 years of a professional career is absolutely the greatest reward I can imagine. Now, what am I nervous about? Being deemed unworthy of that reward and never invited back. That’s all. No big deal, right?
7. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this production of The Elephant Man? A greater sensitivity to their fellow man and an appreciation for the extraordinary skills and talents of Bradley, Patricia, Alessandro and all my fellow cast mates.
8. In addition to The Elephant Man, you are also creating a web series called Adoptable!, based upon your life experience of finding your birth parents. What made you want to create a web series based upon this experience? What advice would you give to other adoptees searching for their birth parents? This web series reunites you with your Queer As Folk castmates Sharon Gless and Gale Harold. What is the best part about working with them again? The story of the search for my birth parents back in 1997 - 99 is one I’m often asked to relate by friends and storytelling groups mostly because it’s a world mysterious to most people and because there were so many awkward and humiliating (and therefore FUNNY!) moments all along the way. Also, because it taps into that basic question I think everyone has: Who Am I? I decided basing a long-form storytelling method was the best way to do it and an independently produced web series offered me the best chance to tell the story MY way.
My biggest advice to adoptees wanting to begin the search process would be to enter into it with very low expectations and need. If you’re looking for your birth parents to somehow fill a void in your life or replace the family you grew up with somehow, you will be setting yourself up for too much disappointment. I can’t imagine a harder decision for a woman to make than to give up her child so just be prepared that after doing something like that opening that door again for her may be complicated.
We haven’t shot the first season of ADOPTABLE! yet (only a teaser so far) as we are currently raising money for it through 11/9th (http://igg.me/at/adoptable/x/267079) but I know Dame Sharon, Gale and I will have a WHOLE lot of fun in the scenes I have written for us.
9. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about starring on Queer As Folk? Did the success of the show change you in anyway? I loved that QAF was actually a very theatrical, collaborative, ENSEMBLE-based experience for most of us and that it challenged me to a degree I NEVER thought television acting would. Also, to be part of a groundbreaking series that still, ten years after we stopped production, is something people THANK me for doing all over the world and tell me how it changed their lives…wow…I mean, it’s everything you hope to achieve as an artist…PLUS having a steady gig for FIVE years was intoxicating. The show definitely made me a better actor and a better heterosexual too!
10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I’m happier when I’m working and entertaining others even if it’s for free!
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Once when I was feeling a lot of pressure that I was put here on this Earth for a reason and that I wasn’t living up to my potential my mother said: "Well, maybe you were put here for a reason but maybe that reason is nothing more than touching the peoples' lives that you touch on a daily basis. That’s reason enough, don’t you think?"
12. How do you want to be remembered? For fulfilling many dreams while harming very few.
13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Viagra.
14. If you could be an original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Wint-O-Green.
15. If you could have a song written about your life, what are some key elements you would want to make sure the lyricist wrote into the song? For example, I've had two theme songs written for me...one for my past radio show and one for a live interview series I used to conduct. The key elements I wanted to make sure got written into each theme song was that I did entertainment interviews and then the lyricists wrote my theme songs around that idea. Raccoons, Spider Monkeys, Puggles, Sushi, Peace, Love and Understanding.
Scott Lowell is best known for his role as "Ted Schmidt" in Showtime’s popular and critically acclaimed Queer As Folk for which he was twice nominated for a Prism Award. The groundbreaking and provocative series originally ran in the U.S from 2000 –2005 and is currently airing in countries all over the world. Scott was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the suburbs of New Haven, Connecticut. He majored in theater at Connecticut College and also studied acting at the National Theatre Institute (he was fortunate to study at both schools with the legendary Morris Carnovsky). He shortly moved to Chicago where over the course of a decade, he immersed himself in the local theater scene, including performances at the famed Steppenwolf and Goodman. He also landed his first TV role in Chicago on Early Edition.
Scott moved to Los Angeles in 1998 and quickly found himself busy in a number of successful commercial campaigns, guest roles on sit-coms and a lead in a sci-fi television film. In 2000 he landed QAF and spent the next five years shuttling back and forth between LA and Toronto, Canada where the series was filmed. He also kept busy traveling around making speeches for a number of civil rights organizations (including the Human Rights Campaign) and political campaigns as well as appearing as a presenter and Host of a number of GLAAD Awards shows.
Since QAF has wrapped Scott has appeared on stage in 12 Angry Men, Orson’s Shadow and Present Laughter (Pasadena Playhouse); The Big Meal (Artists Rep); The Elephant Man (Williamstown); Blithe Spirit (A Noise Within); The Pain and the Itch (Furious/Boston Court); The Heidi Chronicles (Berkshire Theatre Fest). Chicago: Picasso At The Lapin Agile and Twelfth Night (Steppenwolf); Light Up The Sky (Goodman); Chicago Conspiracy Trial; A Perfect Ganesh; Laughter on the 23rd Floor; Assassins as well as a number of independent films and television series including Bones where he has appeared as "Dr. Douglas Filmore," CSI, Castle, CSI:NY, NCIS, Heroes, Criminal Minds, Leverage and as various voices in the animated series American Dad. He has also been hard at work writing screenplays on his own and with his writing partner, Eddie Jemison as well as developing ideas for television and the web including the series Adoptable and the podcast CharActors!. Scott also works as a mentor for the Young Story Tellers Foundation and raising awareness for the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.