Dallas — Josh Young made a splash when he landed on Broadway. He received a 2012 Tony nomination as Best Actor in a Featured Role for his portrayal of Judas in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar and also won a 2012 Theatre World Award for the same role. Not bad for his Broadway debut. Young makes his way to Dallas April 15 to play another rebel-type character, Che, in the national tour of another Webber production, Evita. He's been with the tour for six months, and while he was soaking up a few rays on the tour's stop in Naples, Fla., Young took a few minutes to chat with TheaterJones about rethinking the role of Che and snagging that Tony nomination.
TheaterJones: What's new in this production of Evita?
Josh Young: The biggest difference is my character, Che. Unlike other productions, my character is an everyday working-class citizen rather than a revolutionary leader. Che translates into "hey, buddy," which is what he called everyone. Changing the character to be a working-class citizen is how I believe the role was originally construed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
What can people expect from this tour of Evita?
We have, all around, one of the best casts I have ever heard or seen for this show. If nothing else, people should come to the show and shut their eyes and have the most musically fulfilling night of their lives. The choreography also is amazing, and we have a fantastic lighting design. It's just a really great tour. If you've never seen Evita, it's one of the best productions of it, and if you have seen it, our production is a great change. Plus our Eva (Caroline Bowman) is fantastic—we have just all-around amazing singing, dancing and actors.
You're playing another revolutionary type...how did you approach this role versus your role as Judas in the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar?
They both break the fourth wall, but that's really where the similarity ends. I did this role (Che) before. The producers of the tour saw me do it in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2010, so I had to completely throw that character out and make up a new character and make it three-dimensional. I approached Che as if I was making up any other character. One of the things I looked at was my costumes and saw that I was wearing a lot of leather, so I made up a back story that he worked in a tannery and took it from there.
What did it mean to you to receive a Tony nomination for your Broadway debut?
At the time, I didn't really think that was going to happen because I had some health issues, so I was stunned and shocked because I was out for a couple of weeks with bronchitis. It meant a lot that the nominators came back to see me. What it means is that in this industry, to have something like that on your résumé is like a kind of job security. It also helps to have it preceding your name to help sell the show you're in and to help you get the next show.
When did you first know you wanted to sing?
I've been singing my entire life. I guess I knew I wanted to do it to make a living when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life when I was 16 or 17. My favorite thing to do was to be in the school musicals, and people always told me I should be on Broadway, so I auditioned for colleges, and here I am.
Are you the only artist in your family?
No, my mother's side of the family has a lot of visual artists and musicality in it. My mother would probably have been an actress if her mother had been as supportive as mine has been.
What's on your list of dream roles?
I really want to do new works instead of revisiting established roles. One role I have always wanted to do is Billy Bigelow in Carousel, but other than that, I really want to play new parts.
What's next for you?
I'm opening a new show in August in Chicago called Amazing Grace.
What's the most rebellious thing Josh Young has ever done?
I always had a problem with authority growing up. I went to a school where shirts were supposed to always be tucked in, and I always went around with my shirt untucked. But that's about as rebellious I've been.