Friday Fiver: Joseph Demerly

Photo by Jonathan BoncekJoseph Demerly’s life has been theatre. Since he was a young boy, Demerly has been involved in all aspects of putting on a show. He carried that love into his professional life, and is now the Executive Director of Theatre Charleston, an alliance of local theatres with a mission “to promote awareness and visibility for live theatre in the Charleston area, and provide services that strengthen the operations of both the member theatres and performing arts organizations in general.” Demerly relocated here from Buffalo, where he was the managing director Kavinoky Theatre. One major aspect of his new career is overseeing the Unified Auditions, which will be held April 2. Theatre Charleston is partnering with the South Carolina Theatre Association to bring dozens of directors and producers to search for actors, designers and technicians. For more information on the auditions, click HERE.

What is one key piece of advice you would give to actors planning to attend unified auditions?

Auditioning can be scary and intimidating (at least it is for me!) Let your hair down, take a deep breath, and relax; have fun and show the directors that you’re confident in what you do. A flubbed line is a lot better than watching someone who isn’t confident. Be confident!

You moved to Charleston from Buffalo, NY. What is the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make living in the Lowcountry?

The bugs! I am not a fan of bugs. Oh, and those little lizards. And the frogs. I’m not a creepy-crawler kinda guy. Other than those things, the adjustment has been just great. The people down here are as nice as can be…and the weather isn’t too bad either (no snow!)

What is the favorite role you’ve played on stage? On a similar note, what is one role you have yet to play that you would love to?

I had the awesome opportunity to play Richard Loeb in “Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story” starring opposite its writer/composer, Stephen Dolginoff. Oddly enough, I played Nathan Leopold seven years earlier in “Never the Sinner.” As for roles that I haven’t done that I’d like to… Hmm. A role that I always wanted to play (and am now far too old to play) is The Writer in Tennessee Williams’s “Vieux Carre.” It is one of the last plays he wrote and, I believe, his most autobiographical; it’s beautiful.

How do you see the Charleston theater scene evolving over the next few years?

There is so much passion and a great deal of pride involved in anyone who produces or participates in live theater. Although I’ve only been in Charleston for eight months, I am pleasantly relieved that the theater scene is as large as it is here! My job as Executive Director for Theatre Charleston is to advocate for this area’s growing theater scene; I can only hope that it continues to grow and that those in the Lowcountry (and those who visit) will do themselves a favor and see a show! Bring your kids, invite your neighbors: the great thing about live theater is that it truly is participatory; the actors can HEAR you, too! I love everything about theater.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?

Now that “Downton Abbey” is over, it has to be cooking shows. I particularly like “Masterchef” and “Worst Cook in America”. You can occasionally catch me watching one of the “Housewives of…” on BRAVO but I won’t admit to that in person.


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