Oh let me count the ways I love thee; accomplished, hip, talented, gifted–and dare I say, sexy? From Dracula to his latest incarnation, The Velociraptor of Faith; Prior in Angels in America to the delightfully uptight, luscious Nolan Grigsby, in the wonderfully quirky, successful web series, Submissions Only, still, he will always be Hedwig to me. So, here’s the story; several years ago, I went to see Hedwig & The Angry Inch. The actor portraying Hedwig, was killing it! Every song and move executed with dynamic perfection and energy. It was an amazing performance. I was enthralled, dancing like a wild dervish in the aisles, singing loudly and out of key, when all of a sudden, Hedwig hopped off the stage and joined me! We romped around the ‘sold out‘ auditorium, and Wade McCollum gave me an experience to remember for life and cemented his place as one of my favorite actors. We are delighted that he has taken a few moments from his hectic, busy schedule to chat with us at The Noise Beneath the Apple®. Meet the uber cool, massively talented, Wade McCollum.
The Noise Beneath the Apple®: What inspired you to work on Submissions Only Wade McCollum:Kate Wetherhead! I had the ultimate pleasure of playing the Emcee alongside her devastating and exquisite portrayal of Sally Bowles in Dallas Theatre Center’s record breaking smash hit “Cabaret” directed by the uber talented Joel Ferrell. Luckily for me the Emcee in this production was an omnipotent Luciferian puppetmaster of sorts who very rarely left the stage, so I had the incredible gift of watching Kate’s amazing work nightly. Kate’s performance was so intelligent, complex, insightful and ultimately surprising, it was a true joy to watch her work. After a show one night she had a viewing of the latest episode of “Submissions Only” backstage at the Wyly theatre and although I had heard that this web series was really really good I had no idea how good. I was really impressed. What can’t she do? To my surprise she called many months later to see what my schedule was like in October. I knew I would be playing Dracula at GEVA Theatre upstate so it would be easy for me to come into the city on Mondays to shoot, and thus began the journey of creating Nolan Grigsby.
TNBTA®:Tell us a little about your character on Submissions Only? Any similarities between you and your character? WM: Nolan Grigsby is a director and acting teacher who has created his own acting technique called “Compass-ition,” a theory that all characters fall within one of the four directions, and once you discover your character’s directional pull it helps inform your choices as an actor… It is a spoof on all the crazy techniques we actors use to talk about, analyze and make decisions about our myriad roles. As a director he co-creates his works with an ensemble of actors. The show he is creating during season two will be a site specific touring show. He is really direct and comes across as brash; he just knows what he is looking for and does not want to waste any energy placating to others. He is also independently wealthy.
Nolan and I are alike in many ways, although I am not independently wealthy. Yet. Darnit. I may take myself and my work too seriously at times, but I think I smile a bit more than Nolan. Although I wish I was as direct as Nolan sometimes, I think he is great at honestly communicating his truth even if it is not what the other person wants to hear. I feel like I try and take care of others a little too much when communicating sometimes, my west coast nature.
TNBTA®: If you could share the stage with any actor/actress past or present,who would it be and why? WM: I’m gonna get kinda abstract here. There are so many modern actors/actresses that I admire and would love to share the stage with, and yet, if we are really in a magical scenario here and I could share the stage with ANYONE past or present I think it would be thrilling to see where our whole modern theatre tradition began.
So, I would like to rewind to 6th century BC and share the stage with Thespis, a very popular Greek singer of dithyrambs (songs about stories from mythology). Thespis supposedly introduced a new style of poetry and storytelling in which one singer or actor performed the words of individual characters in the stories, and he was the first to distinguish all the characters, through use of voice and movement and mask. The way I understand it is he took poetry and story from being told to being embodied. What a cool liminal threshold moment for our theatrical tradition! That’s titillating to me…. Or I would visit the sacred circles of the indigenous shamanic traditions around the world and share in the ritual dance and theatre ceremonies that were/are prayers for the health and well being of all humanity and the Earth. Or Meryl Streep.
TNBTA®: What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor/actress? WM: Again in this magical alternate universe where anything is possible I would most likely be an Astrophysicist, or Cosmologist… Here’s what Wikipedia says about “Cosmologists: They seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order.” That sounds like what I do anyway, but I don’t get paid for it, in money in anyway. I also have a very very strong recurring impulse to abandon my current career and return to an amazing school to get a degree in epistemology (the philosophy of the nature of knowledge) and minor in semiotics (study of signs, analogy, symbolism, metaphor, signification, and communication.) In fact I might go fill out some entry forms right now, feeling the epistemological itch. Maybe I need a cream?
TNBTA®: For someone visiting New York, what is one thing they must see or do? WM: See as much theatre as possible. This town is a veritable treasure trove of starstuff of the performing arts, partake.
TNBTA®: Is there anything about you, that we should know? WM: Hmmm…. I like blueberries. Alot. Maybe too much? I have a blueberry addiction. For reals.
TNBTA®: What are your future plans? WM: I am SOOO excited for this summer!!!!!! I will be in an amazing new musical here in NYC called: TRIASSIC PARQ – here is a little blurb:
“A raucous new musical that combines singing, sex, and Velociraptors in ways hitherto unimagined, TRIASSIC PARQ follows a group of cloned dinosaurs as they unearth the very foundations of their existence. Morality, faith, science, gender identity, and interspecies fornication are all explored, and sung about, as Morgan Freeman narrates this epic tale of love, loss, and resurrected reptiles.”
“This is TRIASSIC PARQ. Hang on to your DNA.” WINNER – BEST MUSICAL, Fringe NYC 2010
“They’ve captured the essence of what a musical is.” - Time Out New York
“Not since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead has there been such a playful reimagining.” - Backstage (Critic’s Pick)
“Incredibly inventive and uproarious…
one of the most intelligent parodies of a musical since Urinetown.” - Broadwayworld
Vixen of Vocabulary who likes to wax poetic about the world of street art, music,busking and all things indie. She has earned two college degrees, traveled extensively and written three books. She is currently finishing the multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple Art-Style Book, to be released in NYC, Spring 2013.