Published on July 8, 2013 via broadway.com
by Ryan Gilbert
Age & Hometown: 27; McKinney, TX
Current Role: Discovering Neverland and the gift of friendship as Boy, the wide-eyed and wistful orphan in the off-Broadway transfer of the Broadway.com Audience Choice Award-winning play Peter and the Starcatcher.
Don’t Be Shy: As with many actors, Ralph developed an early interest in theater, fueled by the sense of freedom he felt while performing rather than by a zeal for the spotlight. “I was a really, really shy kid,” he says, “and [plays] gave me a venue to not be shy. It forced me to be more open.” Even now, after going from understudy in the Broadway production of Peter to starring as Boy at New World Stages and guest-starring on TV’s Gossip Girl and The Good Wife, Ralph is earnestly nervous about his success as a professional actor. “I’m so much more outgoing than I was,” he says. “I’m still a bit of a loner and I need my space, but I don’t think anyone now would say I was shy. I have a hard time being career-minded, but I want to be able to survive as an actor and do work that I think is important and that says something.”
The Boy Who Crowed: Being cast as the boy who becomes Peter Pan is a dream come true for Ralph, even though the role remains something of a mystery. “I’ve lived with the play for more than a year, so it felt like going home,” he says of the off-Broadway transfer, “especially once we got into the rehearsal room and so many familiar faces were there. Knowing that allowed me to come up with new choices and to find my Boy. There are days when I get to the theater and can’t fathom how [the title character] gets to where he crows on top of a mountain of people—it’s overwhelming, the idea of it. But I plug myself into the journey of the play and find new magic every day.”
Reach for the Stars: As co-artistic director of his own theater company, Strangemen & Co., Ralph hopes to produce plays and keep tackling characters who reach for greatness. “I can’t wait to be an 80-year-old actor,” he quips. “I think I’ll be really good at that point!” In the meantime, he looks forward to summer days off at the beach (although tanning is out, “because I’m playing a 13-year-old boy who’s never seen the light of day,”) and hanging out with “the love of my life,” a rescue pit bull mix named Nikki. “I sound like a crazy dog person, but I can’t remember what my life was like before her,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve never been single for so long, but I’m OK with it because I come home every day to [a pet] who loves me no matter what.”
This article was originally posted here and has been included on this page as an archive of Jason Ralph’s interviews/articles.