Backstage with Sam Gonzalez: Actor in Play On!
I’m Sam Gonzalez and will be performing the role of “Billy” in the up coming SRCT production Play On! This is only my second time performing with the theater, and I have to say, I’m very excited to be returning. My first experience with SRCT was about a year and a half ago, when I was “Brom Bones”, the charming protagonist of Sleepy Hollow: The Musical. That was my first role in a stage production (musical or otherwise), since the eighth grade; though those hardly count, as they were just for a theater elective I had for a quarter of a year.
My first-ever theater experience was in the third grade. My teacher, Mrs. Alba, had the class put on a series of little plays, and although I forget the title and plot of the play I was in, I have a very clear memory of being “The Jester” and getting to toss a pie in somebody’s face. Not a terrible introduction to theater; it was very fun and relaxed.
Throughout high school I never pursued theater, although I had many friends who did. This was mostly due to the fact that I had terrible stage fright, I mean I froze up whenever I was going to give a speech to a class of 30, how was I going to perform in front of an entire theater? Instead, I turned my creative outlet towards dance, which is great because there are no lines to remember or flub. I still dance at the Valley Dance Theater, where I’ve been a member for the past four years.
I got my start with SRCT thanks to the encouragement of my friend Chanel, who was going to be one of the directors of Sleepy Hollow. I was very hesitant – after all, I was nervous for the audition, which was just a monologue and song for the five or six people in charge of casting, how was I going to perform when it was show time? Her directorial debut and my acting debut, what could go wrong? Thankfully, nothing did, and I had an incredibly rewarding experience. I made new friends stepped outside of my comfort zone, and discovered that this theater business wasn’t all that bad. Heck, we even got nominated for a Shellie, and even though Sleepy Hollow didn’t win anything, it was awesome seeing the cast again.
In regards to the current performance, I’ll be honest with you. I wasn’t really planning on returning to SRCT, at least not in the sense that I was eagerly anticipating the next audition for a show. But when Ariel (our director) contacted me, asking if I would be interested in auditioning for the latest production, on little more than a whim, I did. I am so thankful that I did, so far this has been fantastic. Everybody is doing such a wonderful job, and I really am impressed with how far we’ve come and how much we’ve polished our parts. Truthfully, the best part of the show, other than the performance, is the sense of camaraderie that you develop with the other actors, and this show is no different. I am super grateful for getting a chance to be in this show, and can hardly wait for our opening night this week!
by Sam Gonzalez