When you Goggle "Josh Young," it can scare the hell out of you.
It's a common name, but the entries that often come up first are those that detail Josh Young, a teenager acquitted in the beating death of his stepbrother.
A different Josh Young has come to town, and stars in the Pittsburgh CLO production of Evita, opening July 8 and running through July 13. Tickets range from $70.75-$10; for ticket information, call 412-456-6666 or visit pittsburghclo.org.
For those of have seen one of the 3,578 productions of Evita, take note that this is the "new" version in which Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hal Prince tinkled and twitched. (No Eva in her coffin for starters.)
And right spot, right place: The first time Young played Che was in 2010 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. “Lucky for me the producer of this production, the Broadway production, saw me do it and offered me this job,” he says.
The young man won a Tony nomination in 2012 for playing Judas in (yet) another revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. In October 2014, he stars in Amazing Grace, a musical about the life of John Newton, the man who wrote the amazing song. Young admits that he has been working on various incarnations of the show since 2009. Opening night is October 2014 in Chicago, but "there is not a Broadway opening date set yet," Young muses, aware that a critical massacre will be a less than graceful death,
Here he chats about his life pitfalls and pot smoking.
Do you know someone with your name beat the the life out of his brother?
I knew that. But it didn't freak me out the same way. I think it freaked out people who know me.
You're so young---pun intended---and in 2012 you won a Tony nomination for your Broadway debut, playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and a Theatre World Award for the same role. Would it have been better to win?
I had never been aware of what being nominated for a Tony means. I wasn't expecting to win because I had no frame of reference of the importance. I never thought winning is better than just being nominated. That may be because I was sick. I had brochitus and sinus infection for a month---two weeks before opening and two weeks after opening. I didn't I had a chance for anything.
Where were you when you finally found out about the nomination?
I slept in during the official announcements that Kristen Chenoweth did. I was asleep. When I woke up, there was 100 text messages on my cell phone. The first one was from my agent who simply said, "Atta boy!"
You played Judas, yet you are a Conservative Jew. Any inner conflict?
No. There are no Biblical references about his life growing up since he was tough to research. I decided to make his life and his stories as compelling as I could since I had no idea was or wasn't true. I had no idea what kind of young man he was, so I made him, a rabbinical student.
Like you did with Judas, you created a biography for Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
The audience wouldn't know because he appears on stage the way he appears in the script. I was given permission by the director and Andrew Lloyd Webber to "create," to "invent," who I thought Che should be. He has been completely reimagined for this production. He is now a working class citizen in Argentina, one of the descamisados. Look closely and see that I wear leather suspenders. I made Che work in a tannery. I needs to connect with the audience.
Shows like Jesus Christ Superstar are revived and revived and revived and revived. If a tour in announced and they want you because of marquee appeal, you're answer is . . .
I don't think I should do it. I would not feel I was going forward.
You were not the best student; you drive your parents crazy. Why?
I was getting into a lot of trouble at school. My parents sensed that I needed an outlet for my creativity. So they enrolled me into theater class. That was kind of it for me. From there on, you couldn’t keep me out of the theater. It was [pauses] fun. It kept me on the straight and narrow. I love doing more than anything else.”
What kind of a bad kid were you?
My parents found pot and pot paraphilia in my room. I don't remember much because i was smoking a lot of pot.
If you met Eva Peron today . . .
Would she look as good as she did when she was embalmed to always look great?
I'd ask her for a date