After making his Broadway debut in Marvin’s Room last year, Jack DiFalco now tackles another complex role in the touching revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song. He plays David, an adopted teen who is wise beyond his years but incredibly funny, despite his troubled past. We chatted with Jack about his Broadway career and which Golden Girl he would love to work with.
Torch Song is your second Broadway play– what is it that drew you to this show?
I really like being part of shows that have an effect on society, that really matter for people to sway their opinion or change how people think. With what’s going on in the world right now I think it’s very important, especially for Torch Song to be watched by so many people because it brings people together and allows them to laugh together. Comedies especially, right now I think are very important because the world is very, very dark. It’s important for people to laugh and have a community to come to do so.
What is it like to work with Harvey Fierstein and has he given you any good advice?
Harvey Fierstein he is a very unique person. He is full of love and he is a mensch. Probably the best advice that he has ever given me was, “if you are not embarrassing yourself on stage, you are doing it wrong.” I actually didn’t figure out what he meant exactly until bringing the show to Broadway. After a couple of runs I was like oh, I get it, I see what he means.
Tell us about your character in Torch Song, David. What has he taught you about yourself?
David is really unique. Harvey has done this wonderful thing in the show, where as the characters get younger they get wiser. David, being the youngest character of the cast has to be the most intelligent and he knows it. He is a very dark person and yet he is a very happy person. It takes a lot of energy to bring him to life every night because he is always bouncing around and doing a lot of things– picking things up, putting them down, eating. He is constantly eating. One thing he has taught me would probably be that you got to have some rainy days to enjoy the sunny ones. I mean, he has had a hard life, and yet he finds the best in it. So it’s good to see the glass half full and half empty, it’s good to be optimistic.
You don’t appear in the first half of the show, so how do you keep yourself occupied backstage?
Oh, I am either playing chess or I am playing the drums. I got a drum set in my dressing room backstage that’s pretty much just annoying Mercedes Ruehl the entire time.
It must be fun to be to be on Broadway, but only have to work half the show.
Oh, glorious. I love that. I show up, I get time to relax and eat and play chess and hang with the understudies. Then I mosey around, get dressed, walk out on stage for an hour and a half. It’s a dream.
Do you have a favorite line in Torch Song?
Probably – I am going to quote this wrong but, “pain is like wearing a new ring or a pair of glasses. You get used to it, but it never goes away.” That’s Mercedes’ line.
You have had some brilliant co-stars in Torch Song and Marvin’s Room. Is there anyone else you would love to work with?
Oh, I would kill to work with Betty White. I know that sounds lame, but I loved Betty White ever since I was a little kid. Golden Girls is everything. She just seemed like the sweetest, nicest person ever, and to work with her would be a dream come true.
You seem to be very active on Instagram. Are there any other social media platforms that you like or is Instagram your favorite?
I love Instagram. Instagram is probably the best platform for me because I like to see little excerpts of people’s lives and I think you get the most of it, being able to see into somebody else’s world. They post pictures and stories and whatnot, and Twitter is kind of about words. Which for me, it seems like a bunch of people screaming into an abyss.
What advice would you give to an aspiring performer?
I would say find yourself before you try to find a character. Keep trying, keep persisting. The opportunity will come. Persist while everyone else is giving up, because that is the key component of succeeding in pretty much anything: persist and persist and persist.
If you weren’t a performer what would you be doing?
I love animals, so I would probably be doing something in the field of animals, helping animals, taking care of them, and probably fostering and training I think would be up my alley.
If you could switch places with anybody on Broadway right now and step into their role for a night, who would it be?
I would switch places with Barrett Wilbert Weed. So I would take her role in Mean Girls, and she could come over and play David. Barrett is a very good friend of mine. She is terrific. Very talented.
What is your favorite thing about New York City?
I think my favorite thing about New York is just that it’s so communal. It’s so easy to get around and there is always something to do. People are always there and are constantly looking after each other, so it’s a very communal city. You always see something new every day when you are walking around. Never gets old.