The Young Actor You Need to Know—According to Rocky Horror’s Reeve Carney

Favorite Things   The Young Actor You Need to Know—According to Rocky Horror’s Reeve Carney
 
Broadway’s original Spider-Man tells Playbill.com the up-and-comer we need to look out for, plus the actors he learned the most from as he shares his 10 favorite theatregoing experiences.
Reeve Carney
Reeve Carney Monica Simoes

Reeve Carney, who created the title role in Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, will be seen later this month in the eagerly awaited Fox TV broadcast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again, a two-hour musical event and re-imagining of the classic 1975 cult film. Carney is cast as Riff Raff in the October 20 broadcast, which also boasts Laverne Cox, Tim Curry, Victoria Justice, Ryan McCartan, Christina Milian, Annaleigh Ashford, Adam Lambert, Staz Nair, Ben Vereen and Ivy Levan.

Here, the singing actor recalls the theatrical performances that most affected him as part of the audience.

Mark Rylance in Jerusalem

Mark Rylance in <i>Jerusalem</i>
Mark Rylance in Jerusalem Photo by Simon Annand

As many would probably say, Mark is one of the greatest actors of our time. A true pleasure to watch him do it live, just a stone's throw away.

Terrence Mann in Cats

Terrence Mann (center) in the original Broadway production of Cats.
Terrence Mann (center) in the original Broadway production of Cats. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

My first experience in the theatre, at the age of four... I walked away wanting to be Rum Tum Tugger... I have Terrence Mann to thank for that. Oh yeah, and I walked away with my first crush! On Victoria, the white cat. She signed my Playbill!

Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls

Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine in <i>Dreamgirls</i>
Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine in Dreamgirls Martha Swope

Didn’t have the chance to see it live, of course, but that’s about as good as it gets in terms of a vocal performance live in a theatrical setting. Wow!

Patrick Page in Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark and Casa Valentina

Patrick Page and Reeve Carney in Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.
Patrick Page and Reeve Carney in Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark. Jacob Cohl

It was a true joy and a privilege to be onstage with this genius of a man every night. He’s a real renegade of an actor... You never know what’s gonna be sent your way at his hand... And, it’s all incredible. His depth of preparation is equal parts intimidating and inspiring. I have learned so much from this man. Thank you, Patrick Page!

Elle McLemore in Bring It On The Musical

Taylor Louderman and Elle McLemore in <i>Bring It On: The Musical </i>
Taylor Louderman and Elle McLemore in Bring It On: The Musical Craig Schwartz

If you don’t know Elle yet, get on this train!! Another true comedic genius. And one of the kindest humans on earth. I continue to learn so much from her sense of comedy and timing, and everything that goes along with it. Her performance in Bring It On! was a revelation. Excited to continue to watch her career unfold.

The Normal Heart

The company of <i>The Normal Heart</i>
The company of The Normal Heart Joan Marcus

Cheyenne Jackson said it best... “One of the most electrifying nights I’ve ever spent in a theatre...” Everyone onstage made themselves fully available for the magic that arrives when a collective of artists does just that. It somehow felt as though we were watching a stream of memories brought to life on the stage, through the eyes of the rememberer... It was beautiful to watch.

Alan Cumming in the revival of Sam Mendes’ Cabaret

Alan Cumming and cast in <i>Cabaret</i>
Alan Cumming and cast in Cabaret Joan Marcus

I don’t think I know another performer more at ease with the semi-permeable fourth wall than Alan Cumming. Never had the chance to see Mr. Joel Grey (whom I love as well) perform it live, but being in the room with Alan as the Emcee... It’s as if you are given the permission to breathe... and to put all of your burdens for the day into his hands. Bravo!

David Cromer's production of Our Town

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David Cromer Timmy Blupe

While not technically on Broadway, to this day this production remains one of the most emotionally resonant theatrical works I have had the pleasure of experiencing live. And the journey by way of sense memory in the cooking of bacon at the emotional apex of the piece... Absolutely brilliant. Thank you, Ken Marks and Rick Miramontez for the ticket.

Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall

A scene from <i>Zarkana</i> at Radio City Music Hall.
A scene from Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall. Jeremy Daniel

While also not technically “Broadway,” I found myself moved to tears at certain points in this production... [It] reinforced for me the incomparable strength of bond in the marriage of song and dance... And the power of wordlessness...

Guys and Dolls at Hamilton Academy of Music (1997)

<i>Guys and Dolls</i>
Guys and Dolls

And, finally... I had the incredible privilege of studying musical theatre and jazz at the Hamilton Academy of Music in Los Angeles from 1997 to 2001 under the direction of Richard Schraier, among others... While Jazz Guitar was my major and focus, Schraier’s 1997 high school production of Guys and Dolls absolutely blew my mind, and was a catalyst in my intense desire to attend the Academy... reintroducing me to the power of theatre. Richard Schraier continues to teach privately. If you are a lover of musical theatre, you must look him up! You won't be disappointed.