EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Lamar Richardson Discusses The First Steps of His Career, His Experience on FBI and Being a Producer for The Wiz Broadway Revival!

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We at Survived The Shows had the pleasure of chatting with Tony nominated producer and actor Lamar Richardson about the first steps of his career, his experience on FBI and New Amsterdam and his new role as producer in the 2024 Broadway Spring Revival of The Wiz. Check out the full interview in the video below!

We at Survived The Shows had the pleasure of chatting with Tony nominated producer and actor Lamar Richardson about the first steps of his career, his experience on FBI and New Amsterdam and his new role as producer in the 2024 Broadway Spring Revival of The WizCheck out the full interview in the video below!

How did the passion for acting come about in your life?

LAMAR RICHARDSON: I’ve always been a performer. I started very young doing plays in church and it was always something I did just as an artistic expression for an outlet. Anyway, it really wasn’t until I got to college – I went to Columbia in New York – that I really set out to pursue it professionally as a career path. And the rest has been history. That was a decade ago, and now here we are all this time later.

You mentioned several times how your acting career started thanks to an incredible performer: Phylicia Rashad. How was it like for you to to learn from her and to work with her also in her production of Mr Rainey’s Black Bottom?

It’s really interesting. We all know and love Felicia’s work, and at the time that we first met, we were working together on a reading of a screenplay that happened on my birthday in 2015. It’s funny because I was supposed to play the lead role in that reading, and basically it was a halfway House of Troubled teens, and she was the Dean of of Harvard Law School, and she sent one of her students to do community service there. So I was supposed to be the lead of this reading, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is my moment. I get to have all this FaceTime with Felicia Yadda yadda yadda’.

A week before it happened, I got recast in this much smaller role, and I was devastated. I thought that was the worst thing ever. But lo and behold, it was through me getting that smaller role that she saw what she needed to then cast me as Sylvester in Mr Rainey’s Black Bottom. And it was funny because I didn’t even audition for for the play. She just cast me. And working with her was truly an amazing opportunity. She’s such a generous, gracious, present director. She gives notes in private. She doesn’t make anyone feel like they don’t know what they’re doing and she’s just an an all the round amazing person and what you see is what you get. And she’s been a very formidable force in my career from that moment until now. I actually just saw her last week.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Lamar Richardson Discusses The First Steps of His Career, His Experience on FBI and Being a Producer for The Wiz Broadway Revival!

Speaking of dream roles instead, what’s your dream role of a lifetime and have you been able to, like, get one of your dream roles so far?

I’m always drawn towards characters that are like the underdog and even in Mr Rainey’s Sylvester was an underdog. He had a stutter and everyone underestimated him and it was my job to stand up for him and to find redemption. I think that as I moved through my career, I always gravitate towards towards those type of projects and those types of roles, and I would love ultimately to like win an Oscar or something for playing a character like that.

You know that he’s downtrodden, counted out by the masses and through some major change throughout the script, he’s able to be vindicated. And for me to be able to bring that to life, to be able to be a representation for a segment of that demographic, I feel like that’s the important work of an artist. You’re giving voice to something that matters, and for me it’s not about the vanity, it’s about doing meaningful work that lives on beyond me.

On television we had the chance to see you on one of the most popular drama series around, that is FBI. What drew you to this project? And can you tell us a bit about the character you played on that show?

In New York, there a lot of procedurals – Law and Order, Bull, FBI, New Amsterdam, Blue Bloods, etc. So, as an actor, there are certain shows that are a kind of a rite of passage. FBI had been on that list for a long time and I was really glad to have this opportunity on the original FBI. In my scene, I got to play alongside Zeeko Zaki, who’s the lead of the show. I was a young businessman on my way to work and basically I observed him being mugged. So I had to run up to him and make sure he was okay. It was really a cool experience, just filming it, getting to meet him, work alongside him, just an amazing opportunity.

It’s really cool to put me in that position alongside the leads of these series to show that I can hold my own as an actor. And I think that’s ultimately going to be super beneficial for my longterm career.

Is there anything that you can tease us about your role in the Blue Bloods Season 13 finale?

Aaron was running for for DA and she was doing a press conference where she was saying that she’s no longer running. And I’m one of the reporters grilling her and asking her why and what’s happened and then leaves on that cliffhanger, which would then probably be readdressed in the following season.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Lamar Richardson Discusses The First Steps of His Career, His Experience on FBI and Being a Producer for The Wiz Broadway Revival!

Besides you being a great actor, you’re also a producer in theater. What brought you to become a producer and embrace this new role?

I’ve spent a decade pursuing my acting career, and along the way many people have always told me I have the skills to be a producer as well. I was always very hesitant and opposed to the idea because I wanted to be strictly an actor. And it was really during the pandemic that I had this realization: The industry shut down, my work is literally tied to someone else’s yes and to auditioning and waiting and auditioning and waiting, and I finally had this ‘come to Jesus’ moment where I just realized that, at this point in my career, I really need to change things up a little bit because of the current climate.

You know, multi hyphenates are the new popular thing. I know I’m not a writer. I’m not a director. Fine, let me try this producing thing. So I said, ‘Okay, I’m in New York, Broadway’s here, Theater’s here, let me try my head at that’. I reached out to lead producers and I was given my first opportunity this past fall to make my debut as a co-producer on Death of a Salesman. And then it led to New York, New York, and now New York, NY has led to the Wiz. So it’s been a busy year.

Talking about your role as a producer for the Broadway revival of The Wiz. Tell us a bit about it.

It’s really exciting. It’s actually starting as a tour this fall in Baltimore, which is where the original production started, and it’s doing a a major tour across the US stopping in many cities like DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, LA before it lands on Broadway next spring. There’s a lot of heavy hitters involved in the cast and the creative team. So I’m really proud of it. We just announced recently that Deborah Cox is going to be involved, Way Brady’s going to be involved and it’s really timely and I think that everyone’s ready for it. I can feel the vibration in the industry, of the excitement around.

The interview with Lamar Richardson has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Get a look at the full interview in the video at the top of the article!

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