Age and Hometown: 33; Dover-Sherborn, MA
Current Role: Kevin, a U.S. soldier who begins to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder while serving in Iraq in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
Soldier Boy: The youngest of three boys, Fleischer grew up idolizing Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird and hoped to play basketball at Hamilton College. “Then I realized I was only 5' 11" and couldn’t dunk,” he says with a laugh. Fleischer transferred to NYU his junior year to focus on acting and quickly realized he could channel his athleticism on stage. “I have way too much energy, so I would never be able to sit in an office environment without getting fired,” he jokes. After earning his masters from U.C. San Diego, Fleischer played soldiers on TV's Over There and Jericho as well as in off-Broadway's Streamers. “I think it’s that normal, 'Midwestern' look I have,” he says of his penchant for uniformed roles.
Zoo Life: Fleischer is heading into combat yet again in Bengal Tiger as a naive marine who pictures himself coming back a hero from the Iraq war. "He's not just a dumb soldier; the guys over there are real people in situations that are not conducive to normalcy.” Speaking of unusual circumstances, Fleischer’s character is haunted by the ghost of a tiger played by Robin Williams. “We’re like the Wu-Tang Clan,” he says of sharing the stage with the Oscar winner. Wait, what?! “They always described themselves as coming together like [popular cartoon robot] Voltron. This ensemble is like that. Robin just happens to be the head. He makes sure he fits in with the group and [says] he’s as lucky to be working with us as we are to be with him.”
Hoop Dreams: After Bengal Tiger ends its limited engagement this summer, Fleischer is dying to pull out those old basketball shorts for the chance to portray his idol in Broadway’s upcoming Larry Bird bio-play, Magic/Bird. “Larry is 6' 9", so I know there’s no way I can ever play the part,” he reluctantly admits, “but I’m just begging [the producers] to let me do the reading. Larry is the one person I would flip out if I ever met.” Fleischer even includes Bird's signature number 33 at the end of his program bio. In any case, he'll get the opportunity to tap into his competitive nature soon, away from the theater: “I can’t wait for the Broadway softball league to start this spring!”