Age and Hometown: 24; St. Paul, Minnesota
Current Role: Albert Narracott, who follows his beloved horse, Joey, onto the battlefields of World War I in Lincoln Center Theater's production of War Horse.
Fast Climb: The handsome, well-spoken Numrich (pronounced “Noom-rick”) has been precocious since childhood. Home-schooled with his older brother, Seth followed his dad into Twin Cities theater productions at age 11 before becoming the youngest person ever accepted to Juilliard's drama department at 16. “The first day I had ever been to New York was the day I moved into my dorm,” he recalls. Fortunately, Numrich thrived at Juilliard and made friends such as Caroline Fermin, a dance student who eventually became his girlfriend. “She's lovely,” he says with a shy laugh. “I live with her and her cat in Brooklyn. I'm almost a New Yorker now, after almost eight years!”
A Year With the Bard: Raised on Shakespeare, Numrich got the Broadway debut of a lifetime as Al Pacino's son-in-law Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice. “I used to watch from backstage every night just to see how he does what he does,” he says of Pacino. Meanwhile, the young actor had just starred as Romeo opposite his War Horse co-star Matt Doyle as Juliet in Private Romeo, a film set at an all-male military academy. “It was interesting to explore that text in a completely different way,” he says of Shakespeare’s tragedy, adding, “I've played a couple of gay characters onstage, and it's always been something I'm comfortable with. I grew up in a family and a culture that doesn't have stigmas about sexuality.”
Off to War: The puppets in War Horse get most of the publicity, but chestnut colt Joey would be nothing without Numrich's moving performance as Albert, a farm boy whose loyalty to his horse remains steadfast over seven years and the horrors of World War I. “It’s a big journey,” he says of the show, “and I just do my best to stay connected, physically and emotionally, to what Albert is going through.” The spontaneity of the actors portraying Joey helps, as does the surprisingly intimate atmosphere inside the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. “It feels like the audience is right there with us, and I love that,” Numrich says. “We’re asking them to believe in this world we’re creating, and when they come along on that ride with us, it’s extraordinary.”