Kevin Fallon conducted a great interview with Max von Essen for The Daily Beast and I think you should read it.
Von Essen stars in the new Broadway show, An American in Paris, by all accounts a lush new show with a Gershwin score full of standards to die for. (Perhaps obviously, it’s based on the 1951 Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron picture, only with a new book by Craig Lucas.) Von Essen’s not new to the table — I still regret not being able to see him in Evita — but he’s one of those solid performers that you can always depend on. You may not instantly remember his name, but hardcore theatre-goers certainly do. Maybe that will change now.
Anyhow, from Fallon’s interview:
Interestingly enough, one of the first facts listed about von Essen on his Wikipedia page is that he is openly gay, something that he laughs about, but clearly doesn’t mind.
“If I don’t get a TV show next year because someone looks up my Wikipedia and it says ‘openly gay,’ then it’s worth the risk because I’ve had so many years being openly gay and proud of myself as a role model.”
“Especially for me on Broadway, of all places, I know people who are gay but living a bit of a lie in my own community,” he says. “And I’m thinking, ‘You’re on Broadway! You do musical theater! Of all places to hide yourself? Are you kidding? Enjoy. Be yourself.’”
Bravo, sir, bravo.
You can see von Essen in the hilarious web series Submissions Only. He has delightful comic timing — and he’s easy on the eyes. What’s not to love?