It’s no Disney story, but Michael Campayno’s Broadway journey is a pretty magical tale. While still in college, he was cast in The Sound of Music Live! and then went on to star in Wicked as Fiyero. Now he’s tackling his first original role as Rob Camilletti, Cher’s boyfriend in The Cher Show. We chatted with Michael about his career and what it’s like to get advice from Cher.
When did you first realize you want to pursue a career in theater?
I am the youngest of six kids and all of my brothers and sisters dabbled in theater. I always loved theater, but I never thought that I could really pursue it. I was a swimmer for ten to twelve years and I kind of had a High School Musical/Troy Bolton moment when I injured my shoulder. I started singing and acting and from there it just took off.
Before making your Broadway debut, you took a part in The Sound of Music Live!. How did that compare to a Broadway show, and what was the experience like?
The Sound of Music Live! was so fun, so scary, so crazy. Since it was the first kind of medium in that sense, it was really challenging because we spent the first month rehearsing as if we were going to go on a Broadway stage, and then the second half of it was on the sound stage, the actual set. We did the whole production in a big warehouse where they made planes in Long Island. It was so interesting because we really had to focus on how we were framed in the cameras. There were about seven different cameras, and they were a significant distance away from us. That was the challenging part, but so much fun. Actually, the most fun thing was when the music would start, it would come out of thin air like you wouldn’t even know where it was coming from. It actually felt like a real live musical moment.
The other interesting thing about The Sound of Music Live!, we worked so hard on it for about two months and then the day after it aired, it was just done. We finished the musical and the credits started rolling and we all cheered, we all celebrated together, and hugged each other and we were like, “oh, wait that’s it.” Literally it’s gone. So that was a part that kind of hurt my heart. I wanted to keep going and going and experience that with everyone else too. Such a fun part of a Broadway show is you keep finding things and you keep growing and every day is a new thing and new moments.
The advantage of The Sound of Music Live! is that it was filmed, so now you can rewatch it at any time.
I know and the other thing about that, we were so conscious of every single thing we were doing. It was hard to live in the moment in The Sound of Music Live! because even though there wasn’t an audience, which really helped – it helped us just focus on each other, we knew there was only one chance. So every single movement you made was being filmed, and that was going to be on TV in that live moment. It was crazy.
You also got to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
We actually weren’t supposed to do the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Carrie [Underwood] and the kids were supposed to do it, but I think she got a cold so Ariane