Spotlight Fresh talent, future faces
US May 1993
You could say Michael Cerveris's new year began, well, on
an off-note. His portrayal of Tommy in the La Jolla Playhouse production of the Who's rock
opera had drawn critical acclaim. Still, he was required to join the cattle all for the
role on Broadway and was about to stop the show - literally. "I got halfway through
'Sensation' and my voice just started to go, " the actor-singer says. "Then I
had to sing 'I'm Free' with no voice at all." Fortunately, Pete Townshend and others
who had been privy to his performance of the summer before knew there more than met the
ear. "Pete joked 'You gave a really horrible audition. It's perfect that the lead in
the show would be the worst.'"
Professional boners like this are not the norm for the Yale graduate. Following a few years of "off-off-off" Broadway showcases, the West Virginia-raised Cerveris was cast as an English rocker in the TV series Fame, Episodic work Quantum Leap, The Equalizer and 21 Jump Street ensued as well as roles in film and regional theater.
Now that musical-loving baby-boomers have arrived, Cerveris is poised to appear before packed houses when Tommy opens this month. "It seems like the perfect time for this. We have the first rock & roll president," he says, " I hope he comes. Or sends Chelsea at least. Maybe even Tipper." Talk about showstoppers.
--Bill Van Parys
Amazing Journey - Official Web
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