BWW Interviews: Vince Nappo of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
Sam Phillips was instruemtal in making that evening happen. As the founder of Sun Records, Phillips helped to launch the careers of some very notable people including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Vince Nappo plays Phillips in the the current tour of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET.
How did you get started?
After grad school is when I got into the business. I was around for a couple of years in Seattle between university and grad school but grad school is where I got serious training and moved to New York. Part of the transition into the professional world for my grad school was you go to New York and you do a showcase in front of an invited audience of agents and managers and casting directors from New York. Our showcase was a series of scenes; there were 8 of us in my class and we each did two scenes. You showcase some of your strengths or versatility. I came out of the showcase with legit agent representation and commercial representation. That was my intro to the business and actually going out and finding work professionally.
Where did you go to school?
I did my training at the National Theater Conservatory which is the Master's Degree program at the Denver Center Theater Company which sadly was shut down this past year. The Board decided to shut the doors on the Conservatory which was a real bummer because I think one of the top conservatories in the country. It was a really fantastic program.
How did you get the part of Sam Phillips?
I started working with a manager June Julyish of last year. He's the one that came to me with it. He said, "Hey, you want to audition for MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET?" I said, "Well, it's a musical and I sing but I'm not like a Broadway belter." And he's like, "No, we want you to go in for the Sam Phillips character." So I auditioned in New York and I got a callback and then I got another callback. The casting house knows me pretty well. I've been cast in several things there over the years from commercials to films to theater stuff. The whole team was there. All the producers and director and music director; they were all in at my audition and seemed to really like me.
When did you start touring with MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET?
I started in November (2012). I started a couple of weeks later than I was supposed to because I was filming this television show for ABC. I was filming all of October in Vancouver Canada. I had to stay there into November and I was set to start rehearsals the very beginning of October. I'm a pretty big replacement in terms of the line load. They worked with the television show and I just flew down. I ended up flying back from Vancouver which was crazy because New York had just had that horrible storm Sandy. I literally flew in early November and had less than 48 hours to pack for 6 months and I just threw stuff in a bag and I hopped on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale and I went into rehearsals there for about 2 weeks. They weren't regular rehearsal days. It wasn't 8 hour days. I was doing like a couple of hours a day and working a lot with the understudies because the starters were all onstage at night. It was a pretty insane process but really amazing and really quite a learning experience. I barely had any time but things you look back on and stretch your ability. They let you know what you can handle and how much you can get done in a crunch. So I rehearsed for 2 weeks in Ft. Lauderdale and the plan for me was to jump into the show in the next city which was Greenville. Two weeks later I was onstage in Greenville and I've been on ever since. All of a sudden I'm at 140 performances; might be more than that. It's funny how quickly it flies.
The TV show you were talking about is Red Widow?
Yeah, my first episode was on this past Sunday which was really cool. A bunch of us from the show got together and watched it. It's a midseason replacement and it has like 12 or 14 episodes. Its first season is 8 episodes. It's with Melissa Rosenberg who wrote all the Twilight films. I think it's a really great show. I don't think there's anything quite like it on television. Some of us (from MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET) have been meeting up every week following the story as it goes.
Tell us about the rest of the cast of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET.