Five Actors to Watch This Season

PROMISING PLAYERS: Getting to know Nicolas Gamboa, Rae Gray, Adrian Aguilar, Kevin Douglas, and Lindsay Leopold

Actors Nicolas Gamboa, Rae Gray, Adrian Aguilar, Kevin Douglas, and Lindsay Leopold
From left: Nicolas Gamboa, Rae Gray, Adrian Aguilar, Kevin Douglas, and Lindsay Leopold
 

Nicolas Gamboa / 30 / Gold Coast
In The Beauty of the Father, opening 10/13 at Urban Theater, and Changes of Heart, opening 11/23 at Remy Bumppo
Gamboa, who once worked cleaning dog kennels in Miami, is starring in two productions this fall after garnering praise last summer in BoHo Theatre’s Icarus.
BIGGEST SACRIFICE: One early Chicago show required the actor to wear only a thong, held together with a string slimmer than a shoelace. “It was a little awkward.”
TRAINING VIA VHS: Gamboa learned how to “do” Elizabethan language, as well as act, by watching movie adaptations of his favorite Shakespeare play, Macbeth, starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

Rae Gray / 19 / Hyde Park
In The Real Thing, opening 9/13 at Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe
This U. of C. sophomore and fast-pitch softball enthusiast has had steady work as a Chicago actor since age four.
RECENT CHANGE: The natural blond dyed her hair brown for a part last year and has since begun getting more roles because, she says, “my hair matches my personality better.”
BACKSTAGE SECRET: She compiles a character study for each part in a guided journal, All About Me, from Urban Outfitters. “I fill out the questions as the character would answer them. Questions range from ‘Do you believe in God?’ to ‘Have you ever had sex on an airplane?’”

Adrian Aguilar / 26 / Rogers Park
In Follies, opening 10/4 at Chicago Shakespeare
Aguilar has developed a reputation for brutal honesty in a realm where feelings are often spared. Like his admission on Facebook this past spring that an ongoing project—Grease at American Theater Company—was a “mess” and a “nightmare.”
ON BEING OUTSPOKEN: “People are afraid to say what they think. Everybody makes fun of me for being a humbug and a jerk. But other actors don’t love everybody! I promise they don’t.”
WHAT MAKES HIM HUMBLE: Reading Mamet. “I know just about every word of Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Kevin Douglas / 36 / South Shore
In The Great Fire, opening 9/21 at Lookingglass
Besides acting, this Lookingglass company member performs stand-up as well as sketch comedy (with sketch partner Inda Craig-Galvan under the moniker kevINda).
QUOTE TO LIVE BY: “You can say anything as long as it’s funny.” —Richard Pryor
ACTING ADVICE HE CAN’T FORGET: A college theatre director told Douglas to never touch the stage furniture unless absolutely necessary. “Now I watch shows, and I can tell whether the actors’ contact with furniture is motivated or if they just don’t know what to do with their hands.”

Lindsay Leopold / 29 / Andersonville
In Spring Awakening, opening 11/27 at Theater Wit, presented by Griffin Theatre
It’s been a whirlwind year for this recent MFA grad from DePaul’s Theatre School, who picked up a Jeff Award nomination for her role in The Hypocrites’ Cabaret.
ADVICE TO ASPIRING ACTORS: It’s never stable. “There might be a week when I’ll have no auditions, and I’m convinced I’ll never book another gig, and then days when I’ll have four auditions and a show that night.”
CELEBRITY CRUSH: Jonathan Franzen. Showmances between actors are common, but not for Leopold. “I’ve never been into dating actors. I’ve always been more dazzled by writers.”

 

Photograph: Anna Knott

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