Age & Hometown: 32; Wallingford, PA
Current Role: Poking fun at Broadway offerings by impersonating Tony winners Stephen Sondheim, Matthew Broderick, Mandy Patinkin and more in the hilarious spoof musical revue Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking.
Geeking Out: Marcus Stevens is making his off-Broadway debut in a musical geared toward true fans of theater, and for Stevens, a self proclaimed “theater dork” who was cast from an open call, the show is a perfect fit. “I grew up with such an appreciation of musical theater,” Stevens admits. “I had a feeling on opening night, during the bows, where I thought to myself, ‘I’m actually living out a dream that I had from when I was a kid." As a child, Stevens immersed himself in community theater and credits the Upper Darby Summer Stage [outside Philadelphia] for cultivating his passion. “Listening to Forbidden Broadway and to all these cast albums, I thought, ‘This is so cool; this is so great,’” he says. “And now some other little theater dork like me is going to listen to the [Forbidden Broadway] CD with Marcus Stevens on it, which is humbling and amazing.”
Finishing the Hat: Aside from being a gifted mimic and performer, Stevens is also a writer. He received the 2005 Richard Rodgers Award for his musical Red. Another one of his works, intriguingly entitled Yo, Vikings!, is prepping for productions in Chicago, Fresno and Pittsburgh. “I wasn’t a partier in college, so I would spend time in my room, writing my musical,” he says with a laugh. When asked to compare acting and writing, Stevens borrows a line from Sondheim. “It’s very much that statement from Sunday in the Park with George when he says ‘Look, I made a hat where there never was a hat,’” he explains. “You go, ‘Oh my God, that didn’t exist and now it does.’ Acting is very immediate. Writing starts out being very solitary and when you get to see a production of something you’ve written, it’s like giving birth.” Does he have preference between the two? “They fulfill different needs,” he says. “Writing is a completely other creative process for me than acting. I think that I thrive on being able to do both.”
The Scene That Almost Wasn’t: Spoiler alert: Stevens and co-star Jenny Lee Stern stop the show with a jaw-dropping tribute to Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin and their Broadway musical An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. But Stevens says audiences almost missed out on the excellent sketch. “Jenny and I petitioned for it,” he says. “Gerard [Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway’s creator] wasn’t sure he wanted it. [Patti and Mandy] closed a while ago, not everyone saw it, and it was not as contemporary as other things in this show.” Stevens and Stern’s begging eventually paid off, because the scene stayed in (and good thing, too!). “My big parlor trick had always been that I do a great Mandy Patinkin,” he says. “I grew up idolizing him. I wanted to be Mandy Patinkin when I was a kid, and now I am. I really hope he comes to see the show.” Though Mandy hasn’t made it to the theater yet, another of Stevens’ famous characters has: “Doing Stephen Sondheim for Stephen Sondheim was a great experience,” the actor exclaims. “He was shaking with laughter the whole time and laughing at places where other people weren’t 'cause he got jokes other people weren’t getting. He was beaming.” Phew!