Andre Royo, a scene stealer in seminal TV sequence like “The Wire” and “Empire” and the just lately Oscar-nominated movie “To Leslie,” is tackling his most difficult position thus far in Audible Theater’s revival of “Consuming in America,” which opens at Minetta Lane Theater on Sunday.
The 54-year-old Bronx native yearned to return to his roots in New York Metropolis theater however had no concept how arduous his first headlining Off-Broadway position would hit dwelling.
Written in 1986 by Eric Bogosian, the one-man play facilities on 12 inebriated males underneath the affect of every little thing from heroin to alcohol to energy.
Engaged on the play is deeply private for Royo, who’s at the moment celebrating a 12 months and a half of sobriety.
“Consuming has all the time been part of my life, like everyone else, like once we have fun we pop bottles, or we’re having a nasty day, you could have a drink. So I’m not gonna say it was all the time unhealthy. However at some extent, it bought forward of me,” Royo advised The Each day Information.
The previous Shark Bar waiter took his first swig of Bacardi in his early teenagers. He stated the isolation of COVID lockdowns had a devastating impact on him. “Once I bought enthusiastic about Dealer Joe’s promoting Meikakuna Japanese whiskey, I knew I had a significant issue.”
The sudden and surprising deaths of his shut pals, actors Michael Ok. Williams and Craig “muMs” Grant, compounded the depths of darkness and isolation he described as “emotional curler coaster rides.” Royo stated it led him to “get ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ for a minute,” referencing the 1995 Nicolas Cage film a few screenwriter who strikes to Sin Metropolis to drink himself to dying.
The actor didn’t search skilled assist for his consuming drawback, and doesn’t level to 1 particular occasion that led to his choice to go sober.
“For actual addicts and all that, there isn’t any all-time low, it’s a mixture of simply hits that you simply take … It simply got here a second in time once I simply needed to cease. I felt like I used to be going in a single route and one route solely. And I didn’t wish to go that method. I liked appearing method an excessive amount of to throw all of it away.”
When Royo advised Bogosian he needed to seek out his pleasure on the New York stage once more, the playwright urged he star in “Consuming In America.” He was hesitant at first to tackle such a “heavy carry.”
“However I stated to myself, ‘I’d moderately liquor and drink be part of my artwork than in my liver,’” he stated.
An alum of HB Studio and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, Royo’s earlier stage credit embody Off-off-Broadway productions of “The Tempest” and particular profit Broadway productions of “The 24 Hour Performs.” His most up-to-date theater efficiency was for LAByrinth Theater Firm’s “A View From 151st Avenue” in 2007.
“I assumed perhaps this may be my little method to take the entire stuff I’ve been by means of, all of the issues I’ve gone by means of with liquor, and use it,” he stated of his return to the stage. “One of many nice issues about being an actor is that you simply get to make use of all or many of the stuff that you simply undergo and you’ve got a spot to place it, so it doesn’t sit inside you and begin affecting you.”
“So I used to be like,’ I’m gonna step on stage and will probably be my method of claiming to alcohol, ‘Thanks for the great instances and f–k you for the unhealthy instances, liquor, say bravo,’ and remodel it into artwork.”