Broadway’s Alex Wyse on Sean Hayes’ diet, smiling at older women & ‘Summoning Sylvia’

Broadway’s Alex Wyse on Sean Hayes’ diet, smiling at older women & ‘Summoning Sylvia’

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Alex Wyse
Alex Wyse. Photo by Matt Rodin

Multi-hyphenate talent Alex Wyse is having quite the year. The gay horror comedy Summoning Sylvia, which he co-wrote and -directed, opened on March 31. Less than a month later was the opening night of Goodnight, Oscar, in which Wyse plays an over-enthusiastic production assistant opposite Sean Hayes as famous pianist and Hollywood personality Oscar Levant.

Wyse had been shooting an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel when he got word Goodnight, Oscar would be transferring to Broadway. It took several months of auditions for him to book the gig, but he was unswayed.

“Being an artist, I’m told ‘No’ often. It’s helped me trust that when I’m told ‘No’ it’s for a reason — because there’s another trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow,” Wyse told The Plain Dealer. “That a ‘No’ is leading me toward the ‘Yes’ that’s supposed to happen.”

As we kick off Pride month, Queerty caught up with Wyse amid another eight-show week to get the inside scoop on working with Sean Hayes and celebrate all he loves about being gay.

I play an enthusiastic (but somewhat inept) production assistant in Good Night, Oscar. Art imitates life — the one job nobody should ever hire me for is …

An actual Production Assistant. I was a PA on a short film once and was fired two hours into the first day. Also, the NYC Rat Czar.

Alex Wyse and Sean Hayes in 'Goodnight, Oscar.' Photo by Joan Marcus
Alex Wyse and Sean Hayes in ‘Goodnight, Oscar.’ Photo by Joan Marcus

Good Night, Oscar takes place in 1958 and features gorgeous, Tony-nominated designs by Rachel Hauk (set design) and Emilio Sosa (costume design). I wish we could bring back ________ from the era, but let’s leave __________ in the past…

I wish we could bring back the leading ladies from the era, but let’s leave the men in the past.

The one thing I was most surprised to learn about co-star Sean Hayes while working on the play was…

His co-hosts on Smartless would have you believe that his diet is terrible and he eats macaroni and cheese out of a trash can, but Sean works very hard to take care of himself! Plus, he takes extra good care of his coworkers, regularly spreading joy, positivity, creativity, and whatever trash can macaroni is left over that day.

Alex Wyse and Sean Hayes in 'Goodnight, Oscar.' Photo by Joan Marcus
Alex Wyse and Sean Hayes in ‘Goodnight, Oscar.’ Photo by Joan Marcus

Of all the cast members of our new comedic horror film Summoning Sylvia, I’d pick ___________ to save me from evil spirits…

Clearly, it would be Veanne Cox because she would counteract evil spirits by bringing them offerings of exotic berries and fine cheeses. She did something similar on our set. She would show up early and bring treats to pass around to the cast and crew while telling jokes and stories. She might have played something of an evil spirit in the film, but being on a set with Veanne is one of the more delightful experiences a person can have.

The gayest thing about me…

  1. My stack of piano/vocal scores.
  2. My collection of autumnal jackets.
  3. The way I warmly smile at women over 50.
  4. Speaking of 50, I can name all 50 states, and if you can name all 50 states, you’re gay.
  5. I’m friends with Carolee Carmello.
  6. I look both ways before crossing the street.
  7. I take my Gatorade without pulp.
  8. I have nieces and nephews.
  9. I recently thought, “Hm, should I get rollerblades?”
  10. I was in Wicked.

The queer theatermaker everybody should be paying attention to right now…

I’m a better artist for having been directed by Michael Arden [currently represented on Broadway as the director of Parade]. I’m completely inspired by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, who created the multimedia play Circle Jerk. I’m blown away by Ryan J. Haddad, who wrote and starred in Dark Disabled Stories. I’m deeply moved by L Morgan Lee, who was the heart of A Strange Loop. I’m also tolerant of Wesley Taylor, who, with me, created the digital series Indoor Boys and the feature film Summoning Sylvia.

Revive _____________ so I can star in it

Medea. Next question.

When I saw ________ onstage, I knew I wanted to be an actor...

Chip in Beauty and the Beast. I took one look at him and thought, how dare you. How dare you wear that goddamn teacup on your self-satisfied head and get rolled around a Broadway stage while I am relegated to sit in the audience? Actually, I want to change my previous answer. Revive Beauty and the Beast because I want to play Chip. How old is too old to play an eight-year-old piece of porcelain?


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