On the evenings of November 14, 15, 21, and 22, 2014 Isaac Solomon performed the role of Link in Hairspray at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD. I had a chance to talk with Isaac about his theatre experiences.
Eric: What gave you the “initial push” to get involved with theater? Was it some event in your life that motivated you to step up on the stage or a family relative?
Isaac: My first time performing onstage came when I decided to participate in a summer theater camp, known as Creative Kids Camp. My older brother Aaron had first decided to take part in the camp, and I happily followed in his footsteps, not realizing at the time how much theater would come to mean to me.
How old were you when you were given your first part and what was it? Do you remember any lessons learned from your first experience?
I must have been around 6 when I got my first part at the Creative Kids Camp. I believe it was a supporting role, that of a good-hearted pirate captain, who sang to the protagonists about an ancient pirate who fell in love with a mermaid, but the two couldn’t make their relationship work with the species barrier between them.
What shows have you appeared in your career so far?
I started my acting career in a number of musicals written and performed at the Creative Kids Camp. My roles in these shows were mostly in the ensemble, as the camp counselors generally got to take the lead roles. Starting in the 7th grade I began performing in the Greenbelt Youth Musical, which took direction under Christopher Cherry, who also led the activities of the Creative Kids Camp. I performed in four Greenbelt Youth Musicals: Orlando Furioso (Rodomont), Homeward Bound (Telemachus), The Joy Gods Return (Dionysus), and Perseus and the Gorgon (Perseus). At my high school Eleanor Roosevelt, I have also been involved in many plays and musicals. I took part in three of the main stage musicals during my time at Roosevelt, starting with Aida (Mereb), followed by Grease (Sonny), and this past month I performed as the lead male in Hairspray (Link). Along with the main stage musicals at my school I have also performed as Mr.Green in Clue, Detective H.D. in Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit, and the Dad in Cheaper by the Dozen.
Do you have a favorite type of character that you like to play? Does it seem you are always typecast in all your roles?
I do not have a favorite type of character to play, as I enjoy taking on a variety of roles, which helps me experience a range of different feelings and emotions. I do prefer playing darker types of characters, as it allows me to learn about and express the type of character that my normal persona doesn’t usually display in real life. I’m not always typecast in my roles, in fact it has only happened on two occasions I’d say. I’ve been able to enjoy playing a wide range of characters.
Now that you are moving on from high school to college, what are your theater expectations when you are in college, and what lessons learned in high school are you bringing with you?
Moving into college I’m not completely sure what to expect. I hope to be able to involve myself with as much theater as I can along with my classes and the rest of my activities. I have learned that one does not always get what they wish for in the theater world, and that persistence is key.
Do you intend to major in theater at the college, and if not, have you decided on your major? How do you intend to use your previous theater credentials while in college to advance your academic career?
I’m not sure as of yet what I would like to do in college, I may major in theater, but I have to consider a lot of factors before I make that choice. I have also considered majoring in something else while having a minor in theater.
Who is your theater idol and why?
I currently wouldn’t say I have a theater idol. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to delve into the theater world and its members as much as I would like to. However, during the shows I’ve performed in I’ve met many amazing performers, and I admire many of them.
If you were allowed to perform one role on the stage – what role would it be? And why this role?
If I could take on any role, I’m not sure I’d be ready for one of this magnitude, but to be one of the characters in Buried Child would be a very meaningful experience I think. My father took me to see the show when I was very young, and I think the complete darkness enveloping the story had a particularly strong emotional impact on me compared to all the other shows I’ve seen, especially since I saw it at such a young age.
What skills do you still need to work on to make you better on stage than you are now?
I need to work on everything about my acting. I think everything can always be improved, because no one has used their skills in every show ever, and I think with every show the actor gains a little more knowledge and gets a little better.
What advice would would be other college-bound actors who are considering a career in the theater?
I would advise someone else entering their freshman year of college and is interested in theater to pursue it as far as they would like. College offers lots of great opportunities for those involved in the theater world. I think what all actors have to remember is that theater is a difficult realm to find success in, but it’s rewarding, nonetheless.