Lights, camera, action – somebody pinch me! A couple of weeks ago I had my first ever big time prime time network TV audition and…I GOT THE PART! Not an “extra”, a real live speaking part! (More later about my role, but remember what they say: “there are no small parts”) The show is entitled Detroit 1-8-7. It’s a drama about a Detroit homicide unit, and its been getting a ton of press lately. The show is scheduled to debut Tuesday, September 21st at 10:00 p.m. It’s the first prime-time television series to be fully produced right here in Detroit. Some of my “co-stars?” On the guys side: Michael Imperioli who played “Christopher”, James Gandolfini’s nephew on the “Sopranos”, and James McDaniel from “NYPD Blue”. And the ladies: Aisha Hinds (“True Blood”) and Erin Cummings (“Spartacus: Blood and Sand”).
And the Emmy Goes To…
My role?…A POLKA BAND LEADER AT A WEDDING! They had me play it straight but I was dying to break into a Lawrence Welk impression. (I’m pausing for a moment to give you a chance to stop laughing) Everybody okay? Okay…Obviously I can’t give away the plot but rest assured my 5 lines are delivered at a very critical part in the show. (“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”)
Highlights of My Prime-Time Television Debut…
- During my audition, I blew my lines twice before getting it right! Come on, I only had like five days to memorize them. But I guess I made a good impression. I will never forget getting that phone call saying I had been awarded the part. (Note to aspiring actors – wear a pair of “Depends” to your first audition)
- I got my own dressing room with air-conditioning and a private bathroom! And my name was posted on the door! HONEST! I couldn’t believe it. And I was given permission to keep the sign for a souvenir, which of course yours truly FORGOT TO TAKE! No worries, I embarked on a one-hour round trip journey BACK to downtown Detroit at 11:00 at night to retrieve it. (I hope an Emmy nomination for me will drive up the price of my dressing room sign on eBay).
- The day of the shoot was extraordinary. I was a sponge soaking up so many different experiences. My scene was shot on the Detroit Princess River Boat and lasted about 7 hours. And I actually got to sit in one of those director’s chairs, only mine said “Cast”.
- It was so great to hear the gratitude and high praise Detroit received from the cast and crew. I heard it first hand from Director Kevin Hooks and lead actor James McDaniel, just to name a few, who both gave our city and its people glowing marks for their hospitality. (More accolades for Motown can be found by reading Free Press columnist B.J. Hammerstein’s interviews with actors Michael Imperioli and Erin Cummings in this past Sunday’s Free Press). I was sure to thank everyone I could for bringing the much-needed work to Michigan.
- The free food was great!
- My love scenes went really well. (Okay, okay, okay, a guy can dream, can’t he?)
That’s a wrap…(Some final thoughts)
- So, will I make the transition from radio to TV/movie star as well as Dick Purtan? Time will only tell. Thank goodness I had D.P. as an acting mentor.
And the envelope please…
- There are just so many people to thank. First and foremost, to my agent Olga Denysenko from “Productions Plus – The Talent Shop”. Thank you for believing in me and working so hard on my behalf. I couldn’t have done it without you!
- And what would I do without my family? The sacrifices you’ve made and continue to make are…(THIS IS WHERE THE ORCHESTRA INTERRUPTS ME)…
Thanks everyone for allowing me to share this very exciting event in my life. Stay tuned! I hope there’s more to come! (Of course now I’ll have to be more selective about what roles I accept. And if you believe that, I’ve got an oil well in the Gulf I’d like to sell you).
All the best!