Actor/Singer Wallace Smith was born in Mansfield, Ohio but was raised in Santa Monica, California. Smith has spent the past 10 years of his career performing and pursuing his stage/film career, landing him in New York City on Broadway. Smith’s Broadway credits include Simba in Disney’s The Lion King, HAIR, smash hit musical AMERICAN IDIOT from Grammy award winning rock band Green Day, the revival of GODSPELL, RAGTIME and now returning to the stage in the cult classic ROCKY on Broadway.
The Playbill Collector (TPC): What is your first memory of theater?
Wallace Smith (WS): I had no intentions in being in theater. I went to Santa Monica high and had a teacher who got me into theater. My first play was A RAISIN IN THE SUN and then it sprang into more high school musicals. In college I did a little bit of theater. I never thought “I want to be on Broadway”. It was more of something I fell in love with and grew into it.
TPC: What did you go to college for?
WS: I went to community college and wanted to transfer to UCLA to get a degree in Business Administration. School never really got off the ground for me though because I started booking gigs.
TPC: Who have been some big supporters through your career?
WS: First and foremost, my mom. I was born in Ohio but then moved to Santa Monica when I was three. If my mom had never moved to a place like California where I was able to get exposure, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Frank Ford, my teacher at Santa Monica high school is another big one. Also, my managers.
TPC: What was your first Broadway show?
WS: LION KING. I toured with LION KING for four years and then made my Broadway debut.
TPC: What are some of the coolest experiences you have had being in Broadway shows?
WS: Playing Simba when I first got to New York in one of the biggest shows in the entire world was a big deal. To actually be in New York and have a lead role in a hit show was incredible. I felt like I was getting off to a great start. GODSPELL was a big chapter in my career. I was able to play comedy and drama where people had not seen me play that before. People still come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed my performance in that show which is awesome.
TPC: You are currently in a the new show ROCKY. How many roles do you play in it?
WS: Apollo’s Manager is my main role and I also get to do some ensemble work.
TPC: For someone who has not seen the show, what’s exciting about it?
WS: It was an iconic movie. The show we present is truly the film up on stage. It’s a love story which is why the hashtag for the show is, love wins. If you are a person who has been an underdog you can relate because it is a story about that. It’s about two people who have nothing but find everything within each other. The set and stage are icing on the cake. You will get spectacle and great music but it’s still the story that everyone is coming to see.
TPC: How large is the cast?
WS: Over twenty people.
TPC: Is there a lot of choreography?
WS:The boxing is choreography. There are some dance numbers but mostly fight work.
TPC: What do you want audiences to know about this piece before they come see it?
WS: Broadway has never seen anything like this before. The show is very interactive. A lot of people feel a sense of ownership with the show because they can relate to it. Audiences feel like they hold a piece of it. For young people, the presentation that is being given is great. In a sense it’s a history piece for people. It’s a big part of American film and our hope is that it’s soon a big part of the American stage.
For more information: http://www.rockybroadway.com