The road to Broadway can be a bumpy ride, but Josh Lamon has proven that hard work and persistence can pay off. Obsessed with theater from an early age, success did not come easy and it took 10 years of ups and downs in NYC before Josh finally made his Broadway debut. Since then he has been non-stop with his roles on and off Broadway and television. His latest project is a comedy podcast titled Josh Swallows Broadway.
When did you know you wanted to be a performer?
I was lucky! I always knew. I think it all began with the Muppets. I was obsessed with them and would act out all the skits in front of the TV. My mom also used to take me to see a lot of theatre just cause it was something we both enjoyed a lot. And I just knew this was the only choice for me.
Did you always want to work on Broadway? What was your journey to get there like?
YES! It pretty much consumed all my thoughts when I was a kid. The journey was tough. I chose a harder path in the sense that I dropped out of school and had to learn the hard way about life and about trying to get an agent without a showcase. It took me 10 years in NYC before I booked a Broadway show.
What is something that surprises you about Broadway?
That it’s a job. Like a real job. The hours are insane and you sacrifice a lot in regards to not seeing family or friends and giving up every holiday. I always saw it with rose tinted glasses. Keep in mind, I am SO very grateful and not complaining. I just didn’t realize what the reality of this sort of work entailed.
You’ve recently been in some amazing shows like The Prom, Groundhog Day and Finding Neverland. Are there any highlights or favorite moments you can share with us?
SO MANY! With The Prom, I have never laughed so much in my entire life. We pinched ourselves everyday at that theatre. I’ve never experienced having a show family like that before.
Groundhog Day was super cool. It just blew me away. Also…that nerdy musical theatre kid in me fantasized for YEARS about being on a turn table (thanks, Les Miz). Little did I know I’d do a show with 5 turntables that moved every which way.
Neverland, I made some of my closest friends. It was also the first time I took a show from a little baby reading to workshopping it, out of town and then Broadway. It was so cool to actually create a role. They were so wonderful with wanting my input on what I thought the character of Cromer would do and say and behave. Diane [Paulus] and I just get along great and have a real love and trust with one another while we work. Always gonna be grateful for her.
In many ways, The Prom was a groundbreaking show. What was it like to participate in something that means so much to the LGBTQ community?
I am extraordinarily passionate about LGBTQ rights and history. It was a big reason of why I left Neverland to do the out of town. It is a story that is needed, that kids are experiencing all over the world and was also the funniest show I have been in.
The Prom and Groundhog Day were both fan favorites but unfortunately closed too soon. How do you handle the disappointment when working in this industry, and do you have any advice to offer aspiring actors?
Every closing has its ups and downs. I’m still mourning The Prom. It’s different for everyone. But the thing that I hold onto was something Matthew Warchus rallied us with when everything at Groundhog Day was going wrong during previews (mostly the set not working and Andy [Karl] tearing his ACL on press night, oy) was ‘Champions, Adjust!’. I live by that. We have chosen one of the craziest businesses and lives. We are champions. And a part of our job is to constantly adjust. So embrace it.
Can you tell us about the Josh Swallow Broadway podcast and how it came about?
I did some MC work for Prom’s press events and just loved it. I had a ball. I am also a believer in making your own work. I wanted to do a show where I could be completely authentic with who I am. I swear like a devil and have a twisted sense of humor. I didn’t want to edit that out. Nor do I want my guests to try and behave; I don’t want to be just another press circuit show. I wanted to show how marvelous show people are and why we rely on each other to get through the tough times and the golden ones.
Have you learned any juicy secrets from any of your guests that really surprised you?
Stephanie J. Block was arrested! Christian Borle gets pumped singing Moana! And Matthew Morrison taught me how to change his son’s diaper. What more do you need??
What other projects are on the horizon for you?
I co-conceived and wrote a musical parody of Murder She Wrote that was acquired by Hal Luftig’s office. The show is called Bloody Bloody Jessica Fletcher. We have our fingers crossed for an off-Broadway run!
I also started writing a new musical with Annaleigh Ashford and Craig Jessup (aka Breedlove)! I’m afraid to say much about it right now, but we are all really excited and loving our time creating together.
Besides that you can see me on The Blacklist on NBC and in the upcoming Billy Crystal/Tiffany Haddish film Here Today!