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BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY

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For the Record’s perennial holiday hit LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE returns to The Wallis for its third year with previews beginning November 27th

BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY

For the Record's perennial holiday hit LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE returns to The Wallis for its third year with previews beginning November 27th. Cast with incredible vocalists, (including scene-stealing Rex Smith), songs from the Love Actually soundtrack are performed along with some original compositions onstage in front of the screened 2003 film.

Got the chance to chat up one of For The Record's mainstay performers Michael Thomas Grant, also known to TV audiences as Leif on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

songs from the Love Actually soundtrack are performed along with some original compositions onstage in front of the screened 2003 film.

Got the chance to chat up one of For The Record's mainstay performers Michael Thomas Grant, also known to TV audiences as Leif on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Michael!

BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY What character are you playing in LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE?

I play David, the Prime Minister of England, originally played by Hugh Grant in the movie.

What great songs from its incredible soundtrack do you get to perform?

I actually get to perform the original opening number written for For the Record by Audra Mae, which is a huge honor. The original songs in the show all use the Craig Armstrong love themes from the film, so they mesh with the rest of the show seamlessly.

How many times have you seen the film Love Actually?

BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY Sitting down and watching, I think maybe three times? But once a film enters the diaspora like Love Actually has, we've all collectively seen it a thousand times over through clips and references.

What was the first production For the Record cast you in? FOR THE RECORD: DEAR John Hughes at DBA in 2015?

It was actually a concert of MELON COLLIE & THE INFINITE SADNESS in 2014! The show was a rock opera based on the Smashing Pumpkins album of the same name. That was how I got the call to audition for DEAR John Hughes at DBA later that year.

Then you played The Geek in FOR THE RECORD: THE BRAT PACK for a combined four-year run in Miami and Los Angeles. What cosmic forces initially brought you together with For The Record?

I was working at a gelato bar in Los Feliz two weeks after I moved to L.A. (July 15th, 2012, the day I met my best friend) when someone told me that they did these really cool shows at a bar around the corner. So my first time walking into Rockwell was to sign up to audition with For BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY The Record. I don't know if anyone actually knew about that sign-up sheet, though, because the next year I went and put my info down: same sheet of paper. My name, another name, my name again. But, about six months later, I got a call to come in and audition for MELON COLLIE.

I've seen you in a number of Los Angeles theatre productions. Have you worked with any of this LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE cast before?

Oh totally! I've known Parissa Koo since before I moved to L.A., from The Glee Project Season 2 callbacks. James, Tomasina, Doug and I did DEAR John Hughes, and James, Parissa, Emily, and I were in the L.A. run of FTR: THE BRAT PACK together! It's a great mix of old and new friends.

After appearing in a number of Unauthorized Musical Parodies at the Rockwell, you put on your own one-man show there. Do you prefer performing as a scripted character or as Michael Thomas Grant?

The cheesy, terrible answer is "aren't we always doing both?"- which actually has a bit of truth in it. I think I like scripted characters though. There's something permissive and freeing in playing someone with a different sense of self.

BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY With all the killer singing and dancing I've seen you do live, was it a piece of cake to nail the songs and Mandy Moore's choreography on Zoey?

I think with a less personable Team Dance I wouldn't have learned as much so quickly. Mandy, Jeff Mortensen and Jillian Meyers adapted to how I learn movement really effectively, and I don't think it would've happened as easily otherwise.

Normally, in a FOR THE RECORD or UMPO stage production, how much rehearsal time do you get to perfect a dance or song?

We'd normally learn a dance in a day and have a couple weeks to let everything click. Songs come a little easier to me, but it's still good to have that time to massage them into the movement.

How much rehearsals do you get for each episode of Zoey? A lot less time than stage productions, right?

BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY A lot less, yeah. Songs would usually be set the episode prior and depending on how much we were changing a song, I'd probably get like an hour or so scheduled to check in with our vocal supervisor Charlie Alterman, and then we'd talk and text about it in the days before recording. Dance-wise, rehearsals varied a ton for solo numbers. Kap and I were in a lot of the bigger "Brogrammer" numbers too, so for those we got a bit more time to be able to keep up with our dancers. Never more than a few days of rehearsal, though.

What do you do to keep yourself in performance shape? Vocal warm-ups? Yoga sessions? Taekwondo?

Vocally I do some basic warm-ups, but it's a lot of old habits. Singing along to music throughout BWW Interview: For the Record, Michael Thomas Grant LOVES Performing ACTUALLY the day, rehearsing, karaoke, all that gives me opportunity to be mindful of my voice. I really connect to the emotional and physical stimulus of singing, so I make an effort to have it just live with me, if that makes sense. Physically, I do a lot of walking around town, and I have some friends in Burbank with a weight bench in a converted pig pen if I need to work out or something.

What's the status of the TV movie Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas?

It's coming out on the Roku Channel on December 1st!

What is in the near future for Michael Thomas Grant?

Outside of LOVE ACTUALLY, I'll be making some music, doing a bit of writing, taking time to do more visual art, all that. Collecting creative resources for the future, y'know?

Thank you again, Michael! I look forward to being wowed by you again in LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE.

For tickets to the live performances of LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE through December 31, 2021; log onto www.thewallis.org


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