BWW Exclusive Interview: WALLFLOWERS and the Minnesota Man - John Halbach
John Halbach has a beard. That much we knew for sure. But what we didn't know was that the handsome, 34-year-old California resident is actually a good ole' Minnesotan boy---you know the kind you can take home to mom! Aside from being a hometown hero, Halbach is currently starring as one of the new faces on WALLFLOWERS, a web series written and directed by Kieran Turner. Now in its second seaon, WALLFLOWERS features an esemble cast and follows the members of a support group for the hopelessly single living in New York City.
BroadwayWorld.com caught up with the bearded, boy wonder to talk about the past, the present and well...the future.
BWW: So you're a Minnesota native, correct? What part?
John Halbach: I grew up in Apple Valley.
BWW: And how long did you live in Minnesota?
JH: I lived in Minnesota until I went away to college at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
BWW: Did you perform locally?
JH: I worked at a lot of theatres around Minneapolis including The Children's Theatre Company, Youth Performance Company, and Child's Play Theatre. I really fell in love with acting at Apple Valley High School. We had an amazing program run by these two incredible women named Shelley Potter and Mary Sue Adey. We did really ambitious, brave, weird stuff, not your typical high school fare, and totally pulled it off. A lot of my best friends from those shows at Apple Valley went on to professional careers, including Mitch Jarvis (ROCK OF AGES) and Brianna Brown (DEVIOUS MAIDS).
BWW: Now, how did you get your start in the acting world? And WALLFLOWERS in particular?
JH: I moved to New York straight out of conservatory at the North Carolina School of the Arts and my first professional job was in the Roundabout Broadway Revival of TARTUFFE, directed by Guthrie artistic director Joe Dowling. I stayed in the city doing Off-Broadway, Off-off Broadway, and regional theatre for 8 years. I got to do some really cool stuff including a musical version of BEOWULF at the Irish Repertory and Collaborationtown's CHILDREN AT PLAY by Jordan Seavey, for which I was nominated for the NYIT Award for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role. Incidentally, one of my co-stars in "Children at Play" was WALLFLOWERS very own Susan Louise O'Connor. I played her brother AND her brother's boyfriend who she had an affair with. It was all very scandalous.
BWW: Tell me about your role on WALLFLOWERS? How do you see your character evolving?
JH: I play Alex, a real nice guy musician. He just suffered through a bad break-up and finds himself taking a risk on love again, perhaps against his better judgement, with Bryce (Patch Darragh). As the season goes on I think he's navigating being open to the possibility of being with someone again so soon after having his heart broken, and sticking up for himself with Bryce, who can be pretty guarded and hard to read sometimes.
BWW: Do you have any similarities with your character?
JH: I think there are definitely similarities between myself and Alex. We are both nice guys from the midwest who generally assume the best of people. We both have beards and wear a lot of tank tops and plaid.
BWW: You are also involved in another web series EASTSIDERS, will you be back If season 2 gets the green light?
JH: Yes, I will definitely be back for the second season of EASTSIDERS. We are in the midst of a Kickstarter to fund our second season, so as long as we reach our goal by Monday May 19th at 8:00 there will be more EASTSIDERS and more Ian.
BWW: What other projects do you have on your horizon?
JH: I'm in a short film called "Surprise" from director Kiff Scholl that should be coming out sometime this year, it's sort of a gay "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I'm also in the feature "Such Good People" starring Michael Urie and Randy Harrison that is hitting the festival circuit right now.
BWW: How do you decide what your next project will be?
JH: A lot of factors go in to deciding to do a project, but it's mostly the people involved and the story that's being told. Ideally, you will want to go to work with these people every day AND you will be passionate about what you're making.
BWW: What's the biggest lesson you've learned in this business?
JH: That you're never really done, you've never "made it," you're always working to get to the next stage in your career. There are probably 20 actors in the world who think yep, I did it, I'm totally satisfied. The rest of us are always looking for the next way to advance, to step it up.
BWW: Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
JH: Say yes to ALMOST any job, you never know who you're going to meet or what you're going to learn. Make your own stuff! It's not only incredibly gratifying, but it also makes other people want to work with you. Also, be nice!
BWW: What is your ultimate career goal? Why?
JH: I just want to keep making cool stuff, whether it be theatre, film or TV with cool people. Also, I would like to be on a sitcom for 10 years, win some Emmy's, and then go back to New York and be in whatever Broadway show I feel like being in.
BWW: What's a fun fact people should know about you?
JH: The Mall of America is one of my favorite places on earth. Nothing I like better than an afternoon there with my Mom and my sister Chelsea. There's a place for fun in your life!
WALLFLOWERS is available to watch on Stage 17 (a new platform for Broadway and theatrical artists). For those who haven't caught the fever Season 1 is still available to watch. For those caught up on the action, check out the latest episode below:
Episode Five: "V"