BWW Interview: Actor Beau Baxter Talks Broadway Debut and The Onion Sports Network
Actor Beau Baxter took the time to speak with us about how he got into acting, what it was like to make his Broadway debut, and The Onion Sports Network. Check out what he had to say below!
You didn't start acting until after you finished college, what made you decide to give it a try?
I've always been a big ham. I was always being pushed up on stage to make the toast, or tell a story, but had done very little formal acting. In my last year of college, I took a film class, where we studied film from a literary viewpoint. When I graduated college, I bought my first VCR, and started renting and watching all of these classic, important and critically-acclaimed movies. Somewhere along the way, a light bulb went off, and I thought, "Hey, maybe I could be an actor?!"
How did you get involved with The Onion Sports Network web series?
It was an audition that came in through my commercial agent. I was a fan of The Onion, but only knew it as a satirical newspaper. As soon as I read the material, I thought it was absolutely brilliant and hysterical. So, I prepared as best I could with the hopes of landing the role, and it worked out well.
What was it like to take your character Reggie Greengrass from web series to television when the show got picked up by Comedy Central?
It was exciting! I had always associated Comedy Central with funny, smart material. It was flattering to not have to audition again, and just be offered the role.
How do you usually prepare for a role? Do you have one general process or does it change based on the project?
Mainly I just sit and think about it a lot, and try to plumb the depths of my imagination. Research is very helpful, and a dictionary can be very helpful as well. Sometimes when you're reading a script, you'll come across a word that you've known and used for years, but you realize you've only learned the definition in a certain context. Sometimes reading the formal definition of a word can unlock new ideas and new meaning to add to a scene.
What was it like making your Broadway debut in Hand to God?
It was thrilling, and a little surreal. Rob Askins wrote a profoundly funny, poignant, and moving play. And, to be surrounded by some of the best players that I've worked with was so validating; it was just a blast, and the time of my life. The turnout by my friends and family was also incredibly heartwarming and humbling.
Do you have any interest in working on Broadway again?
Absolutely, I would do it in a New York minute.
What was it like working as a regular sketch player on the Late Show with David Letterman?
It was so much fun; I'd been a huge fan of Letterman since his show debuted. Everyone associated with the show was so cool - the writers, the crew, the band, Dave. It made for a pretty unique, awesome experience.
Is there a certain project you've worked on that stands out to you or that is your favorite?
I'm part of the second season of a show that had a popular, well-received first season. It was an amazing experience, but due to a strict NDA, I can't elaborate further. Other than that, I would say it's a toss-up between my run on Broadway, and working with the late director Curtis Hanson on the HBO movie Too Big to Fail.
Is there someone you'd love to collaborate with that you haven't yet?
Yes, the list is long! I love films by director David O. Russell. There are also so many amazing actors I would love to work with - Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell and Viola Davis are just a few that come right off the top of my head.
Do you have any advice for people pursuing a career in acting?
Training is important, whether you major in theater in college or join a great class. For young people, regional theater is a great way to build up experience and get to work on great material, refine your craft, and build confidence.
Do you have any future projects coming up that you could tell us about?
I have two upcoming projects, including the one I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, I can't really talk about either. I'd love to do another interview in a couple of months when I can talk about it... this was fun!
IMAGE Courtesy of Beau Baxter