Today, we are excited to post an exclusive interview with Jared Zirilli, who currently performs in the ensemble and understudies Fiyero on the First National Tour. We’d like to thank Mr. Zirilli for this interview. For more information about him, please visit http://jaredzirilli.com.
What was your first professional acting job, and how did you get it? What did you learn from the experience?
My first professional acting job was playing Aladdin in “Aladdin: The Musical Spectacular” at California Adventure in Disneyland. I left school for a semester and did it! It was a 2,000 seat theatre, with all the music from the movie and it was unreal. I learned how to save my money, and learned how to get stamina to do a lot of shows in one week, and that definitely comes in handy now.
What is your favorite role (other than in “Wicked”) that you’ve played thus far?
My favorite role I’ve played is a toss up between Giuseppe in “The Light in the Piazza” (Maine State Music Theatre) and Roger in “RENT” (Hangar Theatre, Regional Premiere).
How did you come to audition for “Wicked”? How long was the audition process, and what did you have to do?
I was actually doing “RENT”, got the call to come in and audition, drove in, and had the audition and a callback in the same day. The next day I went back to “RENT”, and my agent called and said it was between me and three other guys, and that I had a final callback that Thursday. Sadly, rehearsal conflicted, and my director of “RENT” just couldn’t let me go, so I had to miss the callback. I thought that was the end, but then two days later, after the final callback I missed, my agent called and said that they liked me most of who they had seen, and wanted to bring me in for a private final callback on my day off. I went, danced, and booked it the next day!
How long was your initial rehearsal process for the show? What was it like?
The rehearsal process was just learning the music, dancing and spots onstage as quickly as possible for my ensemble role. I rehearsed for three weeks, but felt ready after two 🙂
What was your first performance like? How did you feel throughout the show?
The first show was unreal, it zoomed by and I didn’t even feel it. It’s great being a part of something so huge, with some really talented people. I was proud of myself and the hard prep work that I put into it 🙂
How were rehearsals for Fiyero? What was your first performance like?
Rehearsals for Fiyero were awesome. I really enjoy this role. It is a really well-structured role, but allows room for individualizing, so no two Fiyeros are the same, and I like MY Fiyero. I enjoy trying to find the humor, but also the huge amount of vulnerability, and how he goes from being stuck up and arrogant, to really loving and needing the green girl :-).
My first Fiyero performance was the same as my first performance in “Wicked”, times 100. It was my first time as a Broadway Tour lead. With all the people out there, it was mind blowing. it was horrifying. and I was just trying to breathe and be present. I think I was able to do that!
What are your favorite parts of the show to perform?
I LOVE “As long As You’re Mine” and all the book scenes for Fiyero. When performing in the ensemble, I really like doing the opening [“No One Mourns the Wicked”], and all the Shiz stuff.
What are the advantages and disadvantages, for you, of touring?
A major advantage is SAVING MONEY! It’s nice to make a steady income and have a stable paycheck. It’s rough for me to be moving a lot, because I like to have a home base, and I’m a bit of a family boy, and miss my momma. I’m also a Long Island boy, so I miss my pizza and Chinese food places around the
Have you had to change any daily habits to protect your voice and body while in the show?
I already am used to performing quite a bit, so I haven’t had to change much to protect my voice. I know the to “do’s” and “don’t do’s”: Lots of water!
Have you witnessed – or perhaps been involved in – any onstage bloopers or mishaps that you’d like to share?
Hmmm, bloopers. Ha-ha, things that seemed funny and crazy to me might be real boring to you guys, but in a show where I went on for Fiyero, I had forgotten a scene of mine was coming up really soon, and I BLITZED to the stage to make it on time, and somewhere in the dark offstage, I nailed my head on something, I didn’t know what it was. I just assumed it was a nasty bump, so I went on and did the scene (the train station scene, where I give flowers to Elphaba) and notice looks of horror on the faces of my witches onstage. It turned out there was blood STREAMING down my head. I had two big gashes and got my first stitches that night. I thought it was badass (still do).
Are there any dream roles that you’d like to one day perform?
Dream roles? Mmm. I love Sondheim’s “Follies” and “A Little Night Music”. I would love to do those, and maybe someday to be Guido in “NINE”. Gotta love the Italian roles :-). “A Streetcar Named Desire” is another dream show for me.
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
Some advice from me is to put yourself out there. Wake up early for those auditions, and work on your craft. We are never done learning. Love what you do. If you don’t love it, it’s not worth it!