"Bryce Pinkham, you have a guest," a stagehand announced through the speaker system at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where Pinkham stars as Monty Navarro in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
A casual Pinkham, still riding the Tony Awards wave — nominated opposite his Gent's Guide co-star Jefferson Mays for Best Leading Actor in a Musical — walked down from his third-floor dressing room to greet me.
In his dressing room is a picture (accompanying a newspaper clipping) of him and his father, David, in a California production of To Kill a Mockingbird, in which a much-younger Pinkham played Jem with his father as Bob Ewell, the town drunk and bad guy of the classic Harper Lee story. Pinkham went on to follow in his father's footsteps.
While in the first grade, he explained, "My parents were brought into a parent-teacher conference… I think the words the teacher used were, 'You might want to find Bryce an outlet for his reckless creativity.'"
His parents enrolled him in acting programs and summer camp, where he was cast in the ensemble of The Music Man and given the opportunity to share the stage with his father, who joined the production by happenstance.
"I had to miss a few days of tech because of a family vacation," Pinkham explained. "My dad did some acting in high school and knew that tech rehearsal was an important thing, so he came in to the talk to the director, and the director [asked], 'Will you read this for me?' Turns out he had lost an actor that day, so my dad ended up getting cast in the first show that I was ever in.
"I was saying to him recently, 'I'm so glad that I never felt pressure to do it in a professional-minded way when I was a kid.' It was always about doing it for fun. It was where the girls were during the summer. It was always the creative and social outlet for me, along with many other things. I played a lot of sports, I was in Boy Scouts — I was a very busy kid, so it was just one of the things I did."
Performing ignited passion, and now Pinkham finds himself entangled between two girls, Phoebe D'Ysquith (Tony nominee Lauren Worsham) and Sibella Hallward (Lisa O'Hare), in Gentleman's Guide. Although he's pegged as the serial-killing lady killer — also a dashing villain in his last Broadway endeavor, Ghost The Musical — Pinkham feels far from the type.
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