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The vibe of the show feels like a throwback to the queer theater-makers of the ‘90s—to the John Cameron Mitchells of the world. Is it nice on this occasion not to have to battle the legacy of what has gone before, as must inevitably have been the case with Les Miz?
You know, it does feel really good not to have the burden of other people’s expectations. People come to Les Miz expecting something whether I give it to them or not, whereas on this show, they will have no preconception of what a character should look like or sound like or if I landed a joke the way their favorite whoever did, or not [laughs].
But the Pittsburgh native can be found this summer within the intimate confines of London’s Soho Theatre, making his British stage debut in the local premiere of The View Up Stairs, the Max Vernon musical seen off-Broadway at the Culture Project early in 2017.
Mientus took time early one recent evening to chat to about finding himself among the singularly starry cast of an off-West End production that looks set to push this multi-hyphenate’s career ever forward.
There was a time when American theatrical properties were looked at with reluctance and skepticism. I think there was a loyalty to British writers that has passed: British audiences are interested in quality, and wherever that comes from they are down for it.
Shifting from stage to TV, how do you look back on your career-advancing role as Kyle in Smash?
But at the same time I feel grateful that it didn’t go on and on and on and that spoiler alert! I’ve gotten to do plays at the Mark Taper Forum and Les Miz on Broadway and create the Deaf West Spring Awakening and be in it, and now I’m here!But as I get older and more secure in my politics and my identity, I’m interested in participating in queer theater and queer history.When queer stories are written by queer people, how exciting is that!Folk is what I grew up with—the sort of laid-back Jeff Buckley vibe—so this is really well suited to what I can offer.Are you surprised by the volume of familiar Broadway titles on offer in London, from Come From Away and Waitress through to The Bridges of Madison County and 9 to 5, to name but a few?