PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: "Friday Night Lights" and Really Really Star Matt Lauria
By Matthew Blank
January 29, 2013
Stage and screen actor Matt Lauria, who begins previews Jan. 31 in Paul Downs Colaizzo's Really Really at MCC Theater, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
He has appeared onstage in An Upset (EST) and Wright Flight (Roanoke Island Festival, NC).
Lauria was a regular on TV's "Gilded Lilys" (ABC), "The Chicago Code" (Fox) and "Friday Night Lights" (NBC). Additional screen work includes "Parenthood" (NBC), "CSI" (CBS) and "Lipstick Jungle" (NBC).
Full given name:
Where you were born/where you were raised:
Born near DC. Grew up in Dublin, Ireland.
What your parents did/do for a living:
Dad: Animator/Artist. Mom: Nurse.
One sister has degrees in philosophy/ethics and conflict resolution. As a part-time gig, she translates/edits political texts... in Mandarin.
The other sister is a horse trainer and badass-cowgirl. They are both knockouts.
I can throw knives rather impressively, and jump over most people's arms at shoulder height. Truth. Hiya!
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Remembering names... and faces (Ugh!)
First Broadway show you ever saw:
Ragtime or Chicago, one of the two.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out?
When I was 20, in L.A., I met Kevin Spacey, who told me that if I really wanted to be an actor I should go back to school (I had dropped out) and get legitimate training.
So we met at Samuel French on Sunset Blvd. and he helped me pick out about a dozen plays, from which to choose audition pieces; he then coached me on the monologues. It was surreal; he was one of my idols in high school. I'll always be grateful.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
Ooh...toughy. Maybe Elia Kazan's Death of a Salesman, with Lee J. Cobb (1949), OR the original production of American Buffalo, with Kenneth McMillan and Duval.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
I saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Chicago, and I would definitely recommend it. I'd like to see The Book of Mormon [and would like to have seen] Golden Boy and Glengarry Glen Ross.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"Heaven on Their Minds" (Jesus Christ Superstar), "Corner of the Sky" (Pippin), "A New World" (Songs for a New World), "Comfort and Joy" (Bat Boy), "Lily's Eyes" (The Secret Garden).
Some favorite musicals:
The Secret Garden, Rent, Les Miserables, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Bat Boy, Into the Woods, Ragtime, Once on this Island
Some favorite modern plays:
The Libertine, American Buffalo
Some favorite modern playwrights:
Stephen Jeffreys, David Rabe, David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Suzan-Lori Parks, Tennessee Williams, Tracy Letts
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Marlon Brando, and (why the heck not) Michael Chekhov.
Your personal performance idols, living or dead:
All obvious (but deservedly so): Brando, Orson Welles, Day-Lewis, Pacino, Hoffman, Pete Postlethwaite, Malkovich, Cate Blanchett, Duvall, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Macy, Kevin Spacey, Danny Devito, Helen Mirren, Streep and the list goes on and on and on and on...
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
In 2005 I saw Ben Whishaw in a bizarre play called Mercury Fur at a tiny theater called the Chocolate Factory in London. His performance made me think, "Damn, I need to step it up."
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Any one of Luciano Pavarotti's numerous performances of "Nessun dorma" from Turandot
MAC or PC?
MAC!!! (please send free products to the address below...)
Most played song on your iPod:
"The Distance Between" (Elijah Ford). Close second: "Lost in the Light" (Bahamas). Geez! I must be in a "softy" phase.
Google image search: "Matt Lauria tricycle banana"
Last book you read:
Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"
Must-see TV show(s):
Downton Abbey, Luther, Mad Men, Girls, Homeland
Last good movie you saw:
"Silver Linings Playbook"
Some films you consider classics:
"It's a Wonderful Life"
"A Streetcar Named Desire"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Michelle Armstrong, lead singer of the rock band, Dame (and also my foxy wife).
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
Old school Mariah Carey
Austin, TX; Dublin, Ireland; Boston, MA
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
CD: "Gangsta's Paradise" (Coolio). Tape: "Ride the Lightning" (Metallica).
First stage or screen kiss:
Romeo and Juliet
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager:
Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile in high school.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I watch The Last of the Mohicans and then run around in a loin cloth.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
High school, sophomore year: I was understudying the role of Michael in Dancing at Lughnasa and I got to go on one night.
The role has three huge narrative monologues. Halfway through my third one, I thought, "Oh sh#t! I've already said this speech...oh no, wait...have I? F*#k!"
And then I just stood there limply, staring out at the audience of moms and peers. I honestly considered bolting, but then I pictured my teacher, lurking in the wings, waiting to tackle me (she was a robust woman) and decided to take my chances on stage instead.
I vamped... badly. It was the WORST feeling.
Worst job you ever had:
There were several horrible (restaurant and retail) ones. I was fired from most of them.
Who have you played on "Law & Order"? What edition?
Jake Lally, a kid accused, who didn't do it... dhum, dhum, dhum! "Criminal Intent" (season 7, episode 20). I played Dreama Walker's older brother. I had four lines.
Favorite screen/commercial gigs:
"Friday Night Lights"
What drew you to this project?
I loved the script and I wanted to work with David Cromer.
Most challenging role you have played:
Each project, in recent years, has come with its own stack of challenges. Otherwise, it would not be worth doing.
Leading man role you've been dying to play:
Davis in Paul Downs Collaizzo's Really Really
Leading lady role you wish you could play:
Something about you that surprises people:
I've never drank alcohol.
Career you would want if not a performer:
Play in a rock n' roll band!
Three things you can't live without:
My wife, electric guitars, pecan pie.
"I'll never understand why…"
… some people let their cell phones ring and ring in public without silencing them.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
When you're starting out, have a clear idea about the types of projects you want to do... and then never lower your standards. Also, here's a bit of advice I was given: There's no such thing as being good; there's only working hard and having fun.