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F*cking Men's Jeff Patrick Olson Is 360 Degrees Away from Ryan the Pornstar

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Sexy, attractive actor Jeff (Patrick) Olson is making waves at the Celebration Theatre in Joe DiPietro's F*cking Men as Ryan the pornstar. He's hot!! Olson is a recent transplant to LA from Chicago, where he did, among other plays, Charles Busch's Die, Mommie, Die!, but he is not just another pretty face seeking work in Hollywood. As I did my research I realized that he is not only an actor/model, but also a practicing anesthesiologist and a champion bodybuilder - Gay Games 2006 gold medal winner (see photo, left). "Is there anything this Renaissance man cannot do?" I pondered before my interview with him. I had little to worry as far as ego is concerned for I found him to be a sweet, warm guy, who is openly gay and totally honest about all aspects of his life - and with a tremendous sense of humor.

Q: Has acting always been in your blood? I understand you went to medical school.
JO: I was trying to pass the oral board exam in anesthesiology, and I thought, "Acting class will help me with that!" (laughs heartily) Knowing full well in the back of my brain that I really love it. As a kid I had done some performing here and there, but I went through a phase in the middle school years where I was really shy - got rejected a couple of times when I auditioned for - The Sound of Music - so I put myself into the pit and played clarinet. This was my ticket to getting up onstage and breaking more boundaries. That's what I'm all about - conquering fear and having fun.

Q: You've also sung with the Gay Men's Chorus in Chicago. What prompted that?
JO: I never sang before. I wanted to meet more people. I want to do more training with it, maybe Calvin Remsberg (director of Fucking Men) will be amenable to that. It's a great outlet.

Q: Why did you make a more urgent switch to the pursuit of acting professionally this year?
JO: During my day job in Chicago (anesthesiologist), I didn't feel I was able to fully commit.

Q: How long did you prepare for that?
JO: 12 years of medical schooling including residency. I'm close to $200,000 in debt. For the last 5 years, thankfully, I'd been doing this outpatient gig, allowing me the luxury of pursuing a lot more theatre. Otherwise, there were so many times in my hospital job, working 80-90 hours a week, that at the spur of the moment I had to cancel dinner plans. I had no life; I could not take classes. Although this gig allowed me to pursue my passion, I got bored and I didn't feel like I was really contributing to people's everyday health. It was monotony. I'm grateful for the training that I have, but I'd like to parlay that into something else, maybe doing some wellness stuff here.

Q: Did the wellness, health thing also come out of your bodybuilding? How did that get so intense?
JO: In your mid-thirties you kind of reward yourself, when you have a good job, with good eats and going out more often and having a little more than you should. That's all added calories. I looked at myself in pictures and didn't like what I saw. The Gay Games were coming to Chicago and I thought, "How easy is that!" So, eenie, meanie, minie, mo, I picked some guy that I wanted to look like... online. He was a trainer, so obviously knew what he was doing. Lo and behold he was also an actor, so it was really fun to talk business with him, learn about commercial stuff, and he had also lived in LA for a while. I knew I had to do the training, took a year out and worked with this guy, John Turk. I learned a lot about diet and to fully commit again.
I'll get naked and take off my shirt for a play, but have no aspirations about being a fitness model...I had an audition earlier for an ab machine; I probably won't get it, because my abs aren't where they could be.

Q: I wish I looked as great as you do. It's such hard work. I admire you for it!
JO: Thanks. (laughs)

Q: So, you won the bodybuilding competition and saw it as a way to help people (your patients)
feel better about themselves?
JO: Proven results always are marketable. Dr. Michael Rosen, if you ever watch Oprah!, was a sidekick of Dr. Oz, who was my chairman at the University of Chicago. He came up with this real age, kind of a gimmick, but it has a lot of truth in it... that your lifestyle basically dictates what your physical body age is compared to your chronological age. He had this book out and we were given that as a graduation present. (laughs) Dammit, he thought of it before I ever did! The idea works and it all comes full circle. Trying to be more fulfilled and more confident in your everyday life, doing things that are healthy - it will all lead to some transformation. 

Q: If I could just follow that, I'd be all set!
(He laughs)

Q: How did the audition for Fucking Men come about?
JO: Serendipitously, I've been submitting myself for a lot of stuff here in LA. I definitely wanted to do gay theatre here. Michael Shepperd (artistic director of the Celebration Theatre) is also a Chicagoan and knew some of my acting teachers there. It was a nice plug. I'm very happy to have gotten into this show. I didn't know the playwright and probably could have done a little bit more research. I didn't have a monologue prepared for the audition. I just shot a movie called Pooltime. I pieced together a little scene with bits and pieces from that script in which my character is searching for love - and it was perfect. They liked it, and I couldn't believe it when Jami Rudofsky who did the casting...I went back for the callback and she started pairing me up with other people and said, "Jeff, you're our Ryan!" And I said, "Are you basically saying that I have the part?" I think David (Pevsner) and I really knocked it out of the park. We had a lot of chemistry together.

Q: That's great! Tell me about that film Pooltime!
JO: It's a gay romantic comedy. There are a lot of interesting people involved like the producer Inge Jaklin, a former Miss Austria, who plays my mother. She is always trying to hook my character Virgil up with the lead guy, David. We had this ill-fated love affair, and it's stayed mostly friendship... they just need to light the spark, to get things going. Virgil is a party guy who's always searching for Mr. Right. Things haven't worked out for him but it's right in front of his face. (laughs)

Q: Who's your favorite actor?
JO: I love the stuff that Johnny Depp has chosen in his career path. I would also not like to be tied down to what other people want me to do. I've always fancied myself as a cross between Jack Tripper (John Ritter) and an action guy like Thomas Jane on Hung. Ritter was so brilliant with physical comedy.
Q: And a really genuine human being. We miss him!

Q: What about music? Who's your favorite singer?
JO: Funny, but I really love things with a melody, like old cocktail music or Broadway showtunes. I love Ann-Margret, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé now. I love music that tells a story and singers with impeccable technique. I do love Beyoncé too! It's interesting the fascination that gay men have with beautiful women. It's sort of empowering and with a ...sense of freedom. Women can parlay their sexuality but it's not offensive or a tool or a weapon. I think men should be freer to do that as well.

Q: What is your one goal as a performer? What would you want folks to say about you?
JO: He's truthful. I think acting is acting. I know LA has its pigeonholes. You tone it down on camera, but I want to do it all: Broadway, film TV, whatever... as long as the part is good.

Jeff Patrick Olson will undoubtedly be successful as an actor, because, like his idol John Ritter, he's just so damn genuine. He equated acting to medicine by saying, "Actors are an educated bunch; they're trained observers like doctors". Serious, yes, but don't let that fool you! There's also that light-spirited side that comes out of him rather frequently. For example, he's working on bringing the charity show Broadway Bares to LA - and to bringing stylized drag burlesque back into the spotlight. There are no limits to this fascinating man!

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