Photo Flash: Beef & Boards' Jack Milo Stars in ATLAS SHRUGGED
Jack Milo may have graced the silver screen several times in the past 15 years, but he's currently in Indianapolis at a venue he's known even longer: Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.
Reprising his role as Chief Sitting Bull in the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun, Milo says there's no question which show in his acting career is his favorite.
"The one I'm doing now," Milo says without hesitation. "Because it's the one I'm doing now."
He admits his emotional attachment to a show fades when the final curtain goes down or the credits roll. Rather, Milo turns his attention to his next project - whether it be on screen, or on stage.
He will be appearing on both, simultaneously, this month. While Milo will be in Indianapolis on stage in Annie Get Your Gun, he will also be on screen across the country with the April 15 release of "Atlas Shrugged - Part 1."
The film, based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, is about a female railroad tycoon who is struggling to be successful in spite of a crumbling society. Milo plays the part of Richard McNamara.
"It's an introductory role," he said. "My character becomes the chief ally of John Galt, who is the protagonist.
"If it plays well, they're going to shoot (parts) two and three."
The film, one of five in which he has appeared, is directed by Paul Johansson, a former acting student of Milo's.
Reluctant to reveal to his age, Milo has been performing for decades. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, his early involvement with theatre coincided with that of a somewhat more recognized name - Tom Hanks.
"Tom is an old friend of mine," Milo says casually. "I knew him before he was... ‘Tom Hanks.' We started out doing Shakespeare a million years ago in the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival."
As time passed and Milo moved to California with his wife and young daughter, that friendship continued. "We babysat his kid and they babysat our kid - so we could get out once in a while, in the city."
Eventually, their career paths crossed again with the 1996 film "That Thing You Do" about a pop band forming in the 1960s. Milo played Villapiano in the movie, which was also Hanks' directing debut.
"He's not only an actor," Milo notes, "he's also a writer and producer - he has his own production company."
But Tom's very public success hasn't impacted their friendship. "We haven't treated each other any differently," Milo says. "He's an old friend, and he treats me like an old friend."
It is, however more difficult to get together.
"I'll have an occasional coffee with him," Milo says.
Oh, and there's that movie coming out this summer.
Yes, yet again Milo will appear in a movie with his old friend, Tom Hanks. The film "Larry Crowne," co-stars Julia Roberts and is scheduled to be released July 1.
Even with two films coming out this year alone, Milo admits his preferred medium is the stage. "Because the response is immediate. You can tell within 30 seconds if it's working or not."
So why movies, too? Milo again uses the 30-second gauge.
"I have an incredible aptitude for film acting," he explains. "For a movie, you have to have an attention span of 30 seconds - and you'd better know what you're doing for that entire 30 seconds!"
Milo also likes films' ability to reach so many people, and their enduring quality. When he's not acting, he enjoys writing screenplays. He also wrote and starred in a one-man show called Now Cut That Out, a tribute to Jack Benny, which premiered in the Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois.
And, for the next few weeks, he's truly happy to put on the headdress and persona of Sitting Bull for the audiences at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre - a role he played 17 years ago. In fact, Milo has been performing at Beef & Boards for nearly 25 years, appearing in Sugar Babies in 1987.
"I love the audiences here," Milo says, "because they love to laugh and have a good time - and I'm all for that!"
Annie Get Your Gun is the tale of the feisty and skilled markswoman Annie Oakley. There are 42 performances of the Irving Berlin musical in the intimate space of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.
Tickets range from $36 to $59, and include Chef Odell Ward's dinner buffet, coffee, tea and lemonade. Parking is always free. For reservations, call the Beef & Boards Box Office at 317.872.9664. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays.
For complete show schedule, visit www.beefandboards.com.