In Spring 2016 we caught up with Josh Grisetti (B.F.A. '04) while he was overseas in Japan, starring in a new musical, Prince of Broadway, which was co-directed by 21-time Tony Award winner Harold Prince and five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman.
How did you find out about this job?
Hal (Harold Prince) saw me in an off Broadway show about seven years ago and sent me a letter afterwards saying, "I want to work with you someday." It took a few years before the call came in for Prince of Broadway, but let it be known that Hal Prince is, above all else, a man of his word.
What was your role?
Everyone in the 10-person cast played multiple iconic roles from Hal's productions over the years. I played George in She Loves Me, the Emcee in Cabaret, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened... and Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman, in addition to dozens of supporting bits throughout.
Was the show adapted in any way?
The show was designed for Broadway, where they hope to open in the 2016-2017 season. The only adaptation they made for the Japanese production was to translate Hal's narration from English into Japanese. The songs themselves were sung in English with subtitles.
How did the audience react to Prince of Broadway? Was it different from an American audience?
The audiences in Japan loved the show for several different reasons, but they are very, very different from American audiences. They tend to be very quiet, and don't laugh out loud often (if ever), and yet they demand a solid 3-minute curtain call to cheer when the show is over. Fascinating stuff. I won't say they're obsessed with Broadway, but they do love the art form and are unapologetic about it. I'm talking about lines of screaming fans and daily deliveries of gifts and letters. Having done Broadway and television in the U.S., I was shocked at the fandom in Japan. They put American super-fans to shame! Naturally, I had a blast.
Would you recommend doing international shows to aspiring performers?
I would, as long as it's with a reputable company. There are many less reputable companies on the international tour scene and I would not want to find myself helpless in a foreign land. But under the right conditions, it's a thrilling way to see the world and experience new cultures while doing what you love. I can't recommend that aspect of an international gig highly enough.
In addition to Grisetti's theatrical endeavors, he has recently published a book, God in My Head. It is available in both Kindle and paperback versions.