When Nero/Pseudo had its first ever reading at WSC Avant Bard in May 2012, director Colin Hovde asked Bradley Foster Smith to play the role of Pontus. It was an inspired choice. Bradley is an accomplished actor, singer and musician and his interpretation of the role won him not only the admiration of the playwright, but also the writers of Nero/Pseudo's music: Jim Elkington and Jon Langford.
In fact, my collaborators loved Bradley so much that they'd ask about him regularly as the play wound through the development process and ever closer to casting the first production.
"He's a good lad," Langford said on a few occasions.
So all three of us are delighted that Bradley is playing Pontus in the world premiere.
Bradley is a company member of Keegan Theatre where he has performed in Golden Boy, The Crucible (2011 Ireland Tour), Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Twelve Angry Men, All My Sons, the Helen Hayes-nominated production of Cabaret, A Behanding in Spokane, and A Few Good Men. His appearance as Mr. Pippet in 1st Stage's Suite Surrender garnered him a 2013 Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
He has also appeared around the DC area in From Here To There and Inside Out (Imagination Stage); Scapin (Constellation Theatre); The Tempest (Prince George County Shakespeare in the Park); But Love Is My Middle Name! (2011 DC Fringe); Stage Door (TACT); and The Making of a Modern Folk Hero (2011 Source Festival). His regional theatre credits include Noises Off (Totem Pole Playhouse); A Christmas Carol, Romeo and Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew (North Carolina Shakespeare Festival); and numerous community and dinner theatre roles in his hometown of Johnson City, Tennessee.
Bradley already has a busy slate coming up, including A Midsummer Night's Dream with Prince George County Shakespeare in the Park) and Marie Antoinette at Woolly Mammoth. He kindly offered answers to the playwright's three questions about the Nero/Pseudo experience.
Who is your favorite person/god from antiquity?
I remember my father telling me the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth and of Daedalus and Icarus, and those made a deep impression, especially the flight of Icarus.
What's the strangest fact about the ancient world or glam rock that you've learned from this experience?
David Bowie suffers from an eye condition that makes his left iris incapable of contracting. It's perpetually dilated.
If you were Emperor for a day, what would be your first decree?
Before this millennium is out, we will land a centurion on Phoebus.
Nero/Pseudo previews open at The Shop at Fort Fringe on Friday, May 2. Find out more about the play at WSC Avant Bard. Tickets are now on sale.