In Part 1 in a series of interviews with the cast of Danny Boy at Unexpected Stage Company, meet Scott J. Strasbaugh.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them where you received your theater training and where they may have seen you before on the stage?
Scott: My name is Scott J. Strasbaugh; I’ve received my training in Theatre at Mesa College in Arizona and the basketball court (I had to learn how to act like I knew what I was doing). I’ve been on stage a lot in my life, most notably with The Rockettes in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, ‘Fidel’ in The Witches of Eastwick at Signature Theatre, ‘Mr. Pinky’ in Hairspray at Little Theatre of Alexandria, and ‘Curley Moe’ in Moonshine Murders for Stage Coach Theatre. I have been known to hit up many community theatres in the Northern VA area, too. What I am best known for, however, is the film Zoolander, where I played ‘Olaf’ the Finnish dwarf rock band singer of The Little Kingz. Also, I was in an episode of What Would You Do? on ABC with John Quinones.
Why did you want to get involved with this production of Danny Boy?
Because the story is so real to me. And a lot of people I know personally in the Little People community can relate. Also, anytime I can do my part in our community to let the average-size world get a better understanding of what we go through in our daily life; in hopes of letting all people of all sizes, shapes, races, and abilities live without fear, prejudice, and indifference, I will. Plus, it’s just a great script.
Had you ever been involved with the show before or heard about the show before?
No. I was a Danny Boy virgin.
Who are you playing in the show, and besides the obvious, how else do you relate to Danny?
I am playing The man, the myth, the legend: Danny. I’m a little person. So is Danny. I have the same trials and tribulations that ‘Danny’ has. He lives in me and in the lives of so many other Little People. He also hates the “M” word, like I, and hopes to squash the term out once and for all, someday soon.
What do you like and not like so much about Danny?
I admire his inner strength, even though sometimes you may not see it. To go through life like he has, and still keep going, takes a strength only few of us understand. What I don’t admire about him, and I can’t give this away, so you’ll have to see the show to get what I am referring to, but I wish he would have gone inside.
How will audiences relate to Danny?
Anyone who has been looked at, laughed at, pointed at, gawked at, pat on the head, been told as an adult, “How cute!” (in the teddy bear sense, not the “Wow, he’s hot!” sense”), and have had comedians refer to them in jokes, will relate. Anyone who is shy, and finds it challenging to take steps to better him/herself in life, will also relate.
What have been some of the challenges you have had preparing for your role and how has your director helped you resolve them?
I found Danny’s inability to stand up for himself (unless it’s to his few close friends), and inability to make the first move, challenging. Chris Goodrich, our Director, is one of the best Directors I’ve worked with to date. He has a way of letting you roll with your character’s punches in the way you think they would roll, then offers you other ways to look at things, to find the true meaning of your character. I know the community of Little People that are referred to in the play. I also drew on their experiences to bring “Danny” to life.
What scene in the entire show moves you the most?
Can’t tell you. But I will hint at the fact it deals with “Danny” making the wrong decision about someone he cares about a lot.
What do you want audiences to take away with them after seeing Danny Boy?
My phone number. Also, an understanding that Danny is a real person, with the same hopes and dreams that they have.
Danny Boy plays from October 16-26, 2014 at Unexpected Stage Company-performing at Randolph Road Theater-4010 Randolph Road, in Silver Spring, MD 20902. For tickets, call (800) 838-3006, or purchase them online.