O’Malley delivers one of the show’s most memorable songs, “Turn It Off.”
Though the musical has given him the most notice to date, he was also featured in the Broadway cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and regional productions of Garry Marshall’s Happy Days The Musical.
O’Malley is proud of the work he does as a performer, but he glows when discussing his role as a co-founder of Broadway Impact, an organization that mobilizes the theater community to take action on behalf of marriage equality.
Broadway Impact is producing the play 8, conceived by Rory and edited by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black. 8 is based on the original transcript of the trial that overturned Prop 8 in California. Actors and activists, including such notables as, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, have performed the show across the country.
When O’Malley visits John W. Engeman Theater at Northport on May 11th for an installment in the popular Broadway Concert Series, Long Islanders can expect a range of tunes from his oeuvre, as well as from his wish list.
He recently spoke with TheImproper about life after Mormon, and his upcoming performance in the concert, which will also feature Anthony Crivello, Randy Graff, Alan H. Green and Tonya Pinkins.
The Improper: How is life after Mormon treating you?
O’Malley: It’s nice to have weekends again, I’ve been amazed at this phenomenon! I miss the show, I miss my cast who has been my family for almost five years. But it has been nice to be able to travel. I was even able to get to London to see the opening of Mormon there, and see my buddy Gavin Creel.
IM: What are you working on now?
O’Malley: I’ve been mostly traveling. I went to D.C., went to the Supreme Court for the marriage equality oral arguments. I got to go into the rooms and see the justices’ hearings and oral arguments. To be a part of that was big because I’ve been working with Broadway Impact for a long time. I finally got to go home for the first time in two years for more than overnight. I’ve only been home for two nights in two years, so it was wonderful to get to go home for a while.
IM: How does one’s life change after having been a Mormon? Will you now be typecast for the rest of your career?
O’Malley: (Laughs) We’ll see. If that were to happen, hopefully there would be more Mormon parts! I think that what’s changed for me is that I have an even greater appreciation for the Broadway community, and for being a part of it. I’ve just been amazed and in awe of how wonderful everyone is, and how fantastic your dream coming true can actually feel. There was no letdown whatsoever. It actually exceeded all of my expectations of originating a role on Broadway. So many doors have been opened to me, I’ve gotten to meet so many wonderful people. I’m very grateful for the entire experience.
IM: Mormon stars Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad got shows on NBC [The New Normal and 1600 Penn, respectively]. If NBC executives are smart, you’ll have one soon enough. What would you want your show on NBC to be about?
O’Malley: I love how there’s so many wonderful people from the Broadway community on that network. I guess I would have to add something about some Irish kid from the West side of Cleveland. Maybe we should solve crime in Cleveland, because my mom loves crime shows. “CSI: Cleveland.” We’ll have to make it an NBC show though, so “Law & Order: Cleveland.”
IM: Choose three words to describe your experience with 8.
O’Malley: I would say “moving,” “powerful,” and “history.”
IM: Who did you consider to be a role model when you were growing up?
O’Malley: I love Mandy Patinkin as an actor, and I guess I look up to him as an actor and as a voice. He has a strong voice for what’s right in the world, so I always appreciated him.
IM: Which songs will you perform for lucky Long Islanders on May 11th?
O’Malley: I think that’s still up for debate. I haven’t made a final list, but I think I’m going to be doing “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay”, which is one of my old standards, and maybe something from Spelling Bee.
“I’m Not That Smart” is fun. I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff I want to look through and look at what I haven’t done in a while. I’m excited to sing with all of these wonderful people, especially Tonya Pinkins. That night is going to be really cool.
IM: If you could take on a role in any Broadway show, what would it be?
O’Malley: I think I have to go with Mandy again and say George from Sunday in the Park with George. One day I’ll get to play that part. It’s got to be something from Sondheim. That’s my first love of musical theatre. And maybe later on in life, they’ll let me play Sweeney Todd once. One day…Talk about not being typecast from Mormon! Now that would be breaking the mold.
For more information about the Broadway Concert Series, or to purchase tickets, visit the Engeman Theater website.