"Call Me Adam" chats with Ryan McCartan, 2011 Jimmy Award winner for Best Actor about winning the coveted award, hosting the 2014 Jimmy Awards, starring in the Disney Channel's Liv and Maddie, USA's Royal Pains, and his recent run in the Off-Broadway hit musical Heathers. The 2014 Jimmy Awards, created in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theater owner Jimmy Nederlander, will be held Monday, June 30 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street) at 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My sister is also an actress, and she inspired me to follow in her footsteps!
2. Who do you hope to get to work with during your career? I think I'd literally die and go to heaven if I got to do a movie with Jon Hamm or Bryan Cranston.
3. You are the 2011 winner of the Jimmy Award, which is in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theater owner James M. Nederlander. What was it like for you that night to win the award? Everything happens so fast the night of the Jimmy's. Finalists and winners are announced live and in real time, so all the news comes as a complete surprise. The whole night was a blurry concoction of adrenaline and surprise. Actually winning was so surreal, and shocking, it took a few days for me to actually process that it happened.
4. How do you feel winning this award has helped advance your career? People know about the Jimmy's, so having the fact that you were even a FINALIST not to mention a winner is a great thing to have on your resume. If nothing else, winning the award validated that I was good at what I do-- it was a huge confidence booster, which is really important for a young actor.
5. What skills did you pick-up in preparing for the Jimmy's that you might not of otherwise had? The Jimmy's are an amazing experience, but I'd be lying if I said they didn't work me harder than I had ever been worked before. I learned a lot about self-control, pacing myself, and compartmentalizing my skills to cater to the many different needs of my peers and directors.
6. What are you looking forward to most about hosting this year's award show? Just to be back on that stage again celebrating this cool organization. I just love how things come full circle. I can't wait to meet this year's finalists, knowing exactly what they're going through and thinking about since I was there just a few years ago.
7. What advice would you give to the nominees in preparation of the award show? Cliche, but I would tell them to relax and have fun. It's a high pressure situation, but the people who work with the finalists are PROS. I remember being so much more prepared than I thought I was, and therefore truly had nothing to worry about.
8. What guidance do you have for the winner of the 2014 Jimmy Award? Be gracious. Winning isn't a matter of being the best. It isn't a matter of "beating out" competition. It's not about the glory, the money, the award, or the interviews. It's about being an outstanding artist, a humble victor, and an inspiration to others.
9. Your current projects include a run in the Off-Broadway hit musical, Heathers, appearing regularly as "Diggy" in Liv & Maddie on the Disney Channel, and a recurring character on the USA Network's Royal Pains. What do you like best about working in both theatre and TV? They're both so different in so many regards, but the fact is, when I'm acting, I'm happy. When I get to dive into an imaginary mind and process imaginary circumstances, I feel such a rush. Whether it's the stage lights or a camera pointed at me, I just truly feel like I was put on this planet to do this. I haven't "gone to work" a day in my life. It's not work. It's play that pays. l'll take that every time.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? It's okay if you have butterflies, as long as they're flying in formation.
11. What have you learned about yourself from your career and preparing for/winning the Jimmy Award? I've learned I'm an actor with an impatience problem. Which is like being a sprinter with a sprained ankle. It doesn't work. To have a successful career, one must be patient and diligent and wait for the right doors to open.
12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Invisibility: I love to play pranks.
13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I try to hit the gym every day!
14. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers.
15. What do you want your legacy to be? To be respected. Not famous. Respected.
Ryan McCartan is a recent Minnetonka High School graduate from Excelsior, Minnesota and a Triple Threat Award-winning participant in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s SpotLight Musical Theatre Program, and was named Best Actor at the June 27, 2011, National High School Musical Theater Awards held at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway in New York City. McCartan was one of two students to receive a Jimmy Award, the top honor in the program. He performed Jason Robert Brown’s "Someone to Fall Back On" as his solo. McCartan received $10,000 scholarship award and consideration for other professional advancement opportunities. He also was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He is one of 20 high school students nationally to receive the award, and one of only two winners in theater. It is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artistically talented graduating senior.