By Kyra Greene
Photographer DaMarko GianCarlo
Grooming Tamieka Gardner
Wardrobe Fairfax Copenhagen

You do not have a Wikipedia> Is that by design? Do you like keeping an air of mystery?

A little mystery never hurt anybody!

You’re known for your love of futbol. Would you like to direct something scripted (a la Ted Lasso) or unscripted having to do with that?

I think both versions would be fun to be apart of – maybe a Real Madrid spin off?
As for directing, it’s not something I’m focusing on at the moment, but never say never right?

You have been working since you were eleven. For you what is one of your fondest roles that comes to memory?

I’ve been fortunate to be apart of many great productions and take on some very memorable roles. Most recently I would say playing the role of Usnavi in the musical ‘In the Heights’ is one I look back on very fondly. Some characters are closer to the surface then others and Usnavi was very close for me. I was able to directly substitute many experiences and people from life into the show and at times it felt like I was taking my family up with me every night. It’s hard not to look back on the experience and smile.

You’ve gotten to work with Hollywood veterans Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp. Who is your dream acting partner?

There are way too many to name. But if I had to to choose one it would be Antonio Banderas. When ever I used to tell my late grandfather about a new show or people I was working with he would always respond with “Not bad, but when are you going to work with Antonio Banderas?”. Being a proud Spaniard himself, in his eyes, working with Mr. Banderas would mean you made it. So if I ever got the chance to work with Antonio I think it would be pretty fun to look up to the heavens and give my grandfather a wink.

What was your favorite song to do in Oklahoma?

It’s hard to not go past the title song: OKLAHOMA! It’s one of those show stopper numbers that’s gets the audience up on their feet.

What are you other Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites?

South Pacific and The King I, but Oklahoma is still my favourite.

You were the original Usnavi in In the Heights (Australia), what would your dream Broadway role(s) be and why?

That’s tough! It’s like picking your favourite child. I’ve always loved the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Judas is portrayed as the villain in the show, but in his mind he’s trying to do the what he thinks is right for his friends. What greater challenge than trying to convince a group of people to listen to you over the son of God, right? The role also has some incredible songs to sing – ‘Heaven on their minds” as always been a favourite. I think the the role would be equally challenging and rewarding and I love to give it a go.

Who would you love to do a musical duet with dead or alive ?

My go to karaoke song is always “Wanted dead or alive” by Bon Jovi.
I think it would be pretty cool doing a duet with Jon and couple of guitars in front of a sold out stadium.

How was it being able to film La Brea in Australia this past May?

It was great! It’s not everyday you get to film in your own backyard, which at times was a little surreal. It was the middle of Aussie winter so the sinkhole definitely had it’s chilly moments, but we all go through it together and it was hard not to have a great time with such a awesome cast and crew.

How did it feel to be able to play Usnavi to an Australian crowd?

As multi cultural as Australia is, it doesn’t traditionally have big Spanish/Hispanic community. In The Heights’s themes of family and community are quite universal and I believe translate into most neighbours and communities around the world. I took a lot of pride and really did relish in the opportunity to showcase the Hispanic/Latin cultural to Australian audiences, who too no surprise fell in love with the show.

You play multiple instruments as well as sing. Will you be putting out an EP in the future?

Nothing’s on the horizon just yet, but never say never.

Is it hard for you to keep an American accent?

Luckily for me I’ve been someone who’s been pretty good at doing accents from a young age. It does take a lot of on going practice and hard work to remain good at and his something I continually work on.

Do you ever feel like Velma from Scooby Doo on the set of La Brea, you have a lot in common (losing glasses)?

I never made that connection and think it’s going to be very hard to unsee now haha!

Go Carna Baggers?

Haha, this needs some explaining. So I’m a huge Australian Rules Football fan. My Team is the Carlton Football Club ( Nic named “the Blues”). The team is over 150 years old and one of their original jerseys was very similar to a blue butchers uniform of the day. When you would go to the butcher’s there was a thing called a “butchers bag” So very quickly supporters identified the similarity and started calling the team the “Blue Baggers” which is a nice name currently still used today. “Carna” is abbreviated from “Carn the” which means “go the” – Australians’s abbreviated everything. AFL is the greatest sport on earth, do yourself a favour and check out some highlights on YouTube – Carna Baggers!


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