Exclusive Interview: Josh Grisetti Preps for His Broadway Debut (For Real This Time) in IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU!

By: Mar. 11, 2015
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It Shoulda Been YouIt Shoulda Been You, a new musical comedy directed by David Hyde Pierce in his Broadway directorial debut, will open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (256 West 47th Street). With an original book & lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi, It Shoulda Been You puts a refreshingly modern spin on the traditional wedding comedy, proving that when it comes to wedding day insanity, it's all relative. It Shoulda Been You, which had a sold-out premiere at New Jersey'sGeorge Street Playhouse, begins previews on Broadway on March 17, 2015, with an opening night date set for Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

In the hilarious and heartwarming new musical It Shoulda Been You, it's a culture clash for the ages when two families from wildly different backgrounds come together to celebrate a wedding. As if the union wasn't complicated enough, the bride's ex-boyfriend arrives, bringing the wedding to a screeching halt and throwing both families into hysterical chaos. Plots are hatched, promises broken, secrets exposed - and the bride's resourceful sister is left to turn an unmitigated disaster into happily ever after.

Josh Grisetti, who will be making his official Broadway debut in the show (check out the full story below), plays Marty, the ex-boyfriend of the bride. Check out an exclusive interview with Grisetti below, as he chats about how he relates to his character, what he loves about the material, and so much more!

Tell us about making your Broadway debut. We hear that you've come very close before?

I have come very close before. So close that it's hard for me to really look at IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU as my Broadway debut.

I was playing "Eugene Morris Jerome" in THE NEIL SIMON PLAYS in 2009, which was a set of two Simon plays in repertory. I was only in the second play, BROADWAY BOUND, which was slated to open about a month after BRIGHTON BEACH. Due to poor ticket sales and a botched advertising scheme, BRIGHTON closed 7 days after opening and just 2 weeks before BROADWAY BOUND would have started performances. I almost left the business when I got that phone call. It was devastating.

Even though no one outside of the production saw it, I was very proud of the work I was doing in that play. Very proud of the work Laurie Metcalf and Santino Fontana and the rest of the company were doing. Extremely proud of Neil's writing - one of his best plays, in my biased opinion.

We rehearsed on a fully realized set at the Nederlander Theatre, so for all intents and purposes it felt like Broadway to me. In my heart, that will always be my debut, even though no one saw it. It may not be real to the rest of New York, but I don't care. It was real to me.

With some tongue and cheek, I'm calling IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU my *public* Broadway debut. And now that I'm finally here, I have no intention of leaving. So get your tickets and saddle-up, New York.

Tell us a bit about the character you play.

I play "Marty Kaufman", who is the bride's ex-boyfriend. Marty wasn't invited to the wedding because the bride ("Rebecca" - played by Sierra Boggess) feared that he'd try to stop it. Which turns out to be a very legitimate fear. Hehehe.

Can you relate to the character? Ever been in his shoes before?

If you've ever endured a lost love without any sense of closure, you've been in Marty's shoes. If you've ever had to pretend you're no longer in love with someone who you know you can't live without, you know who Marty is. I can relate to this character in more than I'd probably like to.

What have rehearsals been like? Is everyone playing nice?

Ha! Come on, now. Even if they weren't, I couldn't tell you. I'd call Michael Riedel.

It Shoulda Been YouTalk about working with David Hyde Pierce who is making a Broadway debut as well for directing.

DHP is a fantastic guy, a gentle leader and extremely fun to be around. His strongest gifts as a director are in his ability to read a situation and accurately guestimate what the actors need without pushing too hard or leaving too much slack on the reins. He's what you'd call "an actor's director." He's a good egg.

What moved you to want to do the material?

Well, they told me that it was going to be on Broadway and that there would be paychecks and sandwiches. Despite what everyone thinks, I'm not acomplete idiot.

How is it acting in a show with a wedding at its heart? You basically have to attend a wedding 6 days a week. And as the ex-boyfriend! That's gotta be harsh.

How many musical comedies have weddings in them? Seriously, think about it. THEY ALL HAVE WEDDINGS. It's Shakespearean, in a good way. We're just embracing it and making the whole damn show about it. It's a blast. Dresses, yelling, bouquets, kissing - what's not to love? The only time having a wedding is a bad thing is in GAME OF THRONES, which, incidentally, would make a great musical comedy.

How does this role differ from others you've played in the past?

They say that being a good artist is all about stealing from the best, which is why I frequently steal from myself. This particular role was pulled from my "Quirky New York Jews" trunk, which is one of the larger sets of characters in my repertoire. 30% quirky comic charm, 25% romantic leading man, 25% neurotic nerd, 10% boldness, 7% pure innocence (used wisely and sparingly), 3% pure idiot (used less wisely and at random). I've literally got it down to a science.

You've done film and TV. How does acting for the stage differ?

The stage is much harder, I can tell you that. The ruthless stamina required for live performing is enough to make any actor want to move to LA. But then, the thrill of interacting with a live audience night after night is unlike anything you can achieve on film.

As for differences in performance styles, I don't find there is a huge distinction beyond the obvious: on stage you have to be louder and more animated, so people can see you and hear you. Outside of that technical reality, honest storytelling is the same either way.

I can't tell you any more without putting on an ascot and referencing Stanislavski, and I'm just not in the mood.

You've also written and directed a few short films. Do you enjoy being behind the scenes or center stage more?

I enjoy having control over my own performance. That's all. Writing and directing short films has given me an outlet for that. I love the collaborative process of working with directors and writers and editors, etc. But I also love pushing all of those people out of the way and doing everything myself, exactly the way I want to do it. It's refreshing. And in the end, I learn a lot and it makes me a better collaborator.

Now that you have a Broadway credit under your belt, do you have any other Great White Way dream roles you've always wanted to play?

I want to play "Andre" in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Yes, that's right. Andre, the second theatre owner. I want to sing "Prima Donna" and sit in a show that I know isn't at risk of closing for once in my life. Geezus, that sounds great.

Other than that, I want to originate the role of "Shrevie" in DINER: THE MUSICAL. I've been working on that damn show for three years, and it's frickin' great. Barry Levinson and Sheryl Crow wrote an amazing, completely unique, understated and utterly engaging piece of fresh theatre. Broadway is dead if it doesn't welcome it with open arms. There, I said it.

Although no one saw it, Josh was brilliant in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound. However, tonight's performance marks Mr. Grisetti's (public) Broadway debut, for which he is eternally grateful. Off-Broadway: Red Eye of Love, Peter and the Starcatcher,Rent, Enter Laughing (Theatre World Award winner; Drama Desk, OCC, Drama League and Lortel nominations), Candidaand After the Ball. FAVORITE REGIONAL: Diner (Signature),Camelot (Kennedy Center), How to Succeed... (Los Angeles Ovation Award & Garland Award winner), Funny Thing...Forum (Williamstown), Spamalot (Las Vegas),Where's Charley? (Goodspeed), Cosi fan Tutte & The Merry Widow (Operafestival di Roma). TV: The Gates, Nurse Jackie, The Knights of Prosperity and others. FILM: The Immigrant, Revolutionary Road, The Namesake and others. Special thanks to DHP, Brian Hargrove and Scott Landis for being alive. For a great time, visit: www.joshgrisetti.com