David Merino leapt from NYU student to touring with the “RENT” as it celebrates its 20th Anniversary tour across America. Yes, he plans to return and finish school after the tour but can you imagine the excitement of it all!?! When he first showed up for the open call there were over 150 Angels ahead of him yet he shone through. Merino may not have a lot of different shows under his belt but we hope to see him with great roles again soon! He took some time from touring to speak with Equality365. Check it out below.
“Rent” is due at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre tomorrow evening February 21st, through the 26th! Don’t miss this 20th anniversary celebration of the phenomenal masterpiece of theatrical art we know as “RENT”. Get tickets here.
Earle Dutton: How does it feel to land your first part in “Rent”?
David Merino: It has been a dream of mine. I may be new to the professional gigs but not new to the Broadway scene. The fact that I am a part of it in a way is like the biggest dream come true, especially this show and this role.
ED: Isn’t this show almost the exact same age as you are?
DM: Yep, I am just a couple months older. I was born a couple months before it opened on Broadway. (Laughter) it is so crazy.
ED: When did you see it for the first time?
DM: I saw the movie in the fifth grade, I think. I fell in love with it immediately.
ED: What is your favorite part in the show?
DM: There is just something about being able to do “La Vie Boheme” every night that is so much fun! Everyone is just having a blast with each other.
ED: What is your favorite thing about Angel or being Angel?
DM: I just strive to be as much like Angel as possible. I consider myself to be very similar to her already. She just has this ability to approach every person as someone who deserves the most love and respect. I want to be as kind as she is all the time.
ED: You don’t throw dogs off of balconies or anything, do you?
DM: (Laughter) No, I did not pick up that part of her personality. It is the funniest thing when people tell me that they love the character but, ‘you killed a dog.’ People always forgive her though. They still love her even though she kills the dog, which just proves how absolutely good she is as a person. The fact that she just gets away with it is just amazing.
ED: How did you land the part?
DM: Well, I went to the open call. I went really early in the morning and there were like 155 people in front of me for this part. I was literally 155 on the alternates list. I obviously wasn’t seen that day. I was actually in the production of “Rent” at my school, NYU, at the time. I was performing in that about the same time as the open call. Apparently, someone from the casting agency came to see us perform at school. They sent me an email a couple of days later. They sent me an invite to come audition for this show. I did one audition and five call backs, and then I got the call that I landed the part. It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was amazing!
ED: How hard was it to wait to hear from them about the role?
DM: The limbo is probably one of the hardest parts as an actor. You are just fretting about every single thing you did in that room. You think about every interaction you had with everyone in that room. I just had so much time to over think everything I did. It was a hard time. You just question everything. I wasn’t ever really expecting to get the role. I was so happy that I actually made it that far.
ED: Do you have to go back to school after the tour or have you graduated already?
DM: I actually have to go back to school. I have a couple more credits before I graduate. I am definitely going to do it. It is so important to me. I love NYU and am happy to go back.
ED: What did your parents and family think when you landed this role?
DM: My dad is probably the shows biggest fan and stalker. He is obsessed with the show. It is just the sweetest thing. My mom loves it too. My dad is the one that follows the entire cast on every social media platform. He knows everything about the show.
ED: What was it like to perform in your big debut role in front of your parents?
DM: My big life goal is to be able to support my parents and give back to them everything they have given me. I want to make them proud. The fact that I was able to perform in front of them after everything they have done for me is huge. It was everything for me and for them. It was a dream come true for all of us.
ED: Do you have a dream role you would love to land?
DM: Wow, Angel was the dream role. It has always been my dream. I mean I would love to be in “Hamilton” as well. That would be amazing. That is a cool dream.
ED: Do you have a message for LGBTQ youth?
DM: Wow. That is a hard question. I think in this day and age that we really need to look to each other and stay together. We need to support each other. Our community is so special and unique. Join together and stay strong. Don’t let other people separate us and put us in boxes. We are powerful and wonderful!