It’s Day 3 of our series of interviews with the astounding six-actor cast of Danny Casolaro Died For You before they depart the TimeLine stage on December 21. So far you can also read interviews with Kyle Hatley and Mark Richard. Now here’s Demetrios Troy, who appeared in TimeLine’s Blood and Gifts in 2013 and returns in this production as Thomas Vacarro, the cousin who encourages Danny as he pursues his quest.
1 — Tell us the story of when you first knew you wanted to become an actor Circa the early 1990s, in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs at an elementary school called St. Zachary’s, I was passed up for the role of the Lion in The Wizard of Oz. It was decided by our music teacher that all the roles would go to 8th graders.
Dressed in my sky blue button down dress shirt, dark navy blue pants and black dress shoes, I stood in front of the call board and took the news as best as I could. I tried to hide my disappointment, shuffling my feet to “home” room, but it was hard for me to suppress amongst the joyful elation of fellow students who were cast.
Six weeks later, I sat in my old school desk sneaking my hand underneath the lid to grab at some Skittles I had sneaked into school, listening to Sister Sara demonstrate the finer points of cursive handwriting, when I heard my name over the PA system. “Demetrios Troy report to the music room immediately.” My face contorted in confusion as I rose to the teasing “ohhhhhhhh’s” of my fellow students.
Walking down the quiet hallways flanked by blue lockers I flipped through the rolodex of mischievous antics I performed behind the back of my music teacher. She couldn’t have had anything on me. I was nothing but stealthy and tactful. Unsure of the circumstances I took a breath and entered the music room.
“Hi, Demetrios.” She said with a smile.
“Hi.” I said, unsure of how take her.
“As you know, we have The Wizard of Oz coming up in two weeks.”
Yes. I thought. A little miffed since I auditioned.
“Well, I need your help. Veronica who had been cast as the Lion has decided to drop out of the show because she doesn’t feel she can do it. Honestly she’s scared.”
“So, I wanted to know if you’d be willing to join the cast as our Lion.”
Instilled with business sense at a young age I answered her calmly and confidently.
“Sure. I can do that.”
“Great we have rehearsal tonight and out first performance is in two weeks. I’ll see you after to school.”
I left the music room elated and ran down the hallway to Sister Sara’s class hitting all the opened lockers in celebration. Which resulted in an after school detention.
The show ended up being very successful for an elementary school version of The Wizard of Oz. My mother made me a full Lion costume with a tail that could pull a tractor and I performed an exceptional impression of Bert Lahr. At least the best one a 10-year-old could pull off …
So did this experience solidify my choice to become an actor? Well … no. That moment wouldn’t come until high school when I chose to play Nathan Detroit [in Guys and Dolls] instead of playing baseball. This was the time when I knew that the arts would be a big part of my life.
It wasn’t the costume, the applause or the “glory” that made me realize this, but the moment I looked out and saw all those little kids’ faces smiling at me. They believed I was the Lion and it seemed to bring them joy. I made a difference in my own way and I have been chasing that desire ever since ….
2 — What has been your favorite or most unique audience reaction this show? “Are you really eating all that pasta?”
3 — What had you heard about Danny Casolaro or any of these conspiracy theories before working on this play? Nothing about Danny himself, but I did read about Iran/Contra.
4 — What has been your favorite moment working on this show so far? I’d have to say the process as a whole was a real joy because of the people who were brought together to make it possible.
5 — What’s it like backstage? I’m not sure what it’s like backstage during the show, since I hardly ever leave [the stage], but I think it consists of Jamie, Dennis and Phil running around like mad men. Before and after the show there’s plenty of locker room teasing and joking around. I mean … we are all focusing on getting into character ….
To read Demetrios’ biography, visit our website …