manu narayan

Look down the rabbit hole with Manu

Month: September, 2013

Shooting Fox’s “The Following” with Kevin Bacon, James McDaniel, Shawn Ashmore, and more

Kevin-Bacon-The-Following-TOUT_510x317

Kevin Bacon – The Following (image credit: Michael Lavine/ FOX)

I finally have one degree of separation between me and Kevin Bacon. Kevin and I are both alumni of The Pennsylvania Governors School of the Arts, the PA state sponsored summer professional training school for gifted high school arts students.  But even though there has always been that connection, I had never met Kevin in person, only seeing him in passing at the opening night party of Broadway’s Life  x 3 a few years ago. I have always enjoyed Kevin’s work. He was incredible in Footloose, Stir of Echoes, JFK, and a favorite of mine A Few Good Men.   I am really excited to have spent time with him this past Wednesday on the set of Fox’s The Following.   Kevin is so gracious and so kind to his fellow actors.  In preparation for my role as FBI analyst Reece in the first episode of season 2, I watched a few episodes of The Following. What impresses me most about Kevin, both as Ryan Hardy on the show and in his other roles in film, is that he so easily straddles the line between a believable leading man and a character actor of varied depth.  I admire him greatly for his skill onscreen.   That he was so gracious and came out of his way to introduce himself to me was the icing on the cake

James McDaniel in ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7” (image credit: Mark H. Preston-ABC,2010)

James McDaniel, another favorite actor of mine who was nominated for two EMMY awards for his work on NYPD Blue as Lt. Arthur Fancy, is on season 2 of The Following playing our FBI boss Ken Phillips.  As I learned recently, he is friends with Peter Jay Fernandez, a colleague of mine in the Actors Center Workshop Company.  James and I quickly made the Peter Jay connection and had a couple of wonderful conversations between takes. I am currently deep in rehearsals for the new musical Gettin’ The Band Back Together at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ.  So traveling and transitioning from the world of Broadway to a television set in Brooklyn was a good challenge.

Valerie Cruz in "The Following"

Valerie Cruz in “The Following” (image credit: The WB)

Going from acting as a singing/ dancing Dermatologist in a musical comedy under TONY award winning director John Rando, to playing an FBI crime analyst with a lot of dry technical text under executive producer/director Marcos Siega was what we actors live for. Thankfully, even though TV is much faster paced than theatre, Marcos and the entire cast and crew including Kevin, James, Canadian Shawn Ashmore (Iceman on X-Men and a great guy), and Valerie Cruz (Nip/TuckDexter, True Blood) were incredibly helpful and the shoot seemed to turn out well.

Kyle Barisich

Kyle Barisich (image credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images North America)

Kyle Barisich, who recently left the Broadway company of  Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera starring as Raoul, was my crime analyst partner in the scene. Kyle is a true pro, smart and talented. It is easy to see why he is a Broadway Star.  TV and film stardom is sure to follow.

GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER at George Street Playhouse, NJ from 9/24-10/27/13

I am having a blast in rehearsals for Ken Davenport’s new musical Gettin’ The Band Back Together (previously known as Garage Band: the musical) at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. Performances run September 24th – October 27th, 2013. Opening night is scheduled for October 4th at 8PM.

Getting_the_band_back_together_flyer1This original Mike Myers/Will Farrell style ensemble musical is about four high school friends from a small town in New Jersey, who, while grappling with turning 40, reunite their hometown garage band to reclaim their dreams and finally triumph over their high school nemesis.

The cast is incredibly talented with the resumes that speak to their superb singing, acting, dancing and instrumental skills. The rehearsal room is a constant source of fun as we are having a ball collaborating with the creative team here in New Brunswick, NJ. I am hopeful that this funny, poignant musical will be a hit here and later up the New Jersey transit lines to Manhattan.  You definitely will be humming the tunes back home from the theatre.

I won’t give away too much, but our re-formed band of heroes are called “Juggernaut.” It consists of four high school classmates: I play Robbie, the dermatologist on keyboards;  my fellow Carnegie Mellon alumnus Mitchell Jarvis (Rock of Ages) is Mitch the investment banker and lead singer;  Jay Klaitz (High Fidelity) is Bart, the high school math teacher on Bass; Adam Monley (Mamma Mia!) is Sulley, the hometown cop on drums, as the reuniting band mates.  Newcomer to the band is Evan Daves (The Coast of Utopia) on guitar.  The cast also features two-time Tony nominee Alison Fraser (GSP’s Lend Me a Tenor, Gypsy on Broadway) as Sharon, Mitch’s mom, and another fellow Carnegie Mellon alumnus and classmate of mine Brandon Williams (TV’s “Entourage,” “Stay at Home Dad”) as Tygen, the band’s high school arch-nemesis.  The company is rounded out by Heather Brave (Circle of Friends) as Billie , Michelle Duffy (Leap of Faith) as Dani, Ryan Duncan (Soul Doctor) as Dr. Patel, Sr., Deidre Goodwin (A Chorus Line) as Officer Roxy, Christopher Gurr (Memphis national tour) as Sargent Sullivan & JP, Garth Kravits (The Drowsy Chaperone) as Ritchie, Emily McNamara (NEWSical the Musical) as Tawney, and Tad Wilson (Wonderland) as the Mayor.

photo courtesy of Ken Davenport productions

The cast and creative team of “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” at George Street Playhouse. photo courtesy of Ken Davenport productions

Mitch Jarvis (MITCH) on a Coffee Break

CMU Alumnus Mitch Jarvis (MITCH) on a Coffee Break

Jay Klaiitz (BART) on Bass in “Juggernaut” music rehearsal

Evan Daves,Ryan Duncan, Heather Brave,

Evan Daves (RICKY), Ryan Duncan (Dr. PATEL), Heather Brave (BILLIE) in GTBBT Rehearsal at Davenport Studios, NYC 8/27/13

Fellow CMU Alumnnus Brandon Williams (TYGEN), Deidre Goodwin (ROXY), Emily McNamara (TAWNEY) at Davenport Studios in NYC 8/27/2013

Fellow CMU Alumnnus Brandon Williams (TYGEN), Deidre Goodwin (ROXY), Emily McNamara (TAWNEY) at Davenport Studios in NYC 8/27/2013

Tony Award-winner John Rando (Urinetown, GSP’s Toxic Avenger) is director of Gettin’ The Band Back Together which is written by Ken Davenport and The Grundelshotz, with additional material by Sarah Saltzberg, and music and lyrics by Mark Allen.  Fred Hartenstein is Stage Manager.

Orchestrations are by Doug KatsarosFred Lassen serves as musical director, Kelly Devine is choreographer. Creating the world of the play are scenic designer Derek McLane, lighting designer Ken Billington, costume designer Gregory Gale and sound designer Peter Fitzgerald.

George Street Playhouse is run by Artistic Director David Saint.  It was founded in 1974 by former Rutgers faculty member Eric Krebs.

Discount code using the word BOMBAY

GSP flyer advertising the 2 for 1 discount code using the code BOMBAY

A 2 for 1 ticket deal is available using the code “Bombay” which harkens back to my Broadway debut as the lead in AR Rahman’s Bombay Dreams.

Read more about Gettin’ the Band Back Together

George Street Playhouse

Manu Narayan, Alison Fraser, Garth Kravits, Emily McNamara and More Set for Gettin’ The Band Back Together at George Street Playhouse, September 24-October 27, 2013 – Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Alison Fraser & Mitchell Jarvis to Lead GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER at George Street Playhouse; Full Cast Announced by www.broadwayworld.com