One on One with Vincent Rodriguez III from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Photo by Joe Pugliese

Photo by Joe Pugliese

On Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, protagonist Rebecca Bunch abruptly packs up her life and moves from New York to West Covina, California in hopes of recapturing the happiness she found with her summer camp boyfriend Josh Chan. She makes the move after the universe gives her a series of signs, including a collection of butter ads, that West Covina is where she belongs.

Like Bunch, veteran Broadway actor Vincent Rodriguez III, who plays Josh Chan, seems to have had the universe conspiring to cast him on the show. His years of experience singing and dancing, as well as his warmth and positivity, made him the perfect guy to play Chan.

We recently talked to Rodriguez about his struggles to convince his father that acting was a “real job,” his use of Tupac’s “Thugz Mansion” in his audition for Chan and his thoughts on whether or not Rebecca and Josh should be together.

[To hear the audio version of this interview, click here.]

How did you get into acting?

I started doing plays in high school. That was the first time I was able to do anything. I began in high school theater, basically, because I wanted to do musicals at a younger age, but I didn’t have that outlet because the elementary school and junior high I went to didn’t have plays. I was involved in music at a really young age and that was my performing outlet. I also did martial arts as a kid because I thought I wanted to be an action movie star. As soon as I got to high school, I knew that they had a theatre program, so I was there so fast.

You had been wanting to do it for a long time. When you got to high school, did you immediately feel like this is what you wanted to do for a living?

I think at first it was just something I knew I was passionate about because I don’t think I was mature enough, or I didn’t have enough knowledge to know I could do this as a profession. I didn’t really have people saying, “You should do this professionally.”

There was always that blanket of “this is just for fun,” even though the more I performed in plays and musicals, the more I had the experience of singing or dancing in anything, it felt like way more than just a hobby. I actually have talked to my previous acting teachers and they tell me stories about how when they met my dad after a performance of something I did, they would, “You must be so proud of your son. He’s going to be a great actor someday. He’s on his way. This is what he’s going to do.”

My dad was like, “Oh, actually, no. This is just for fun for him. This is just something to pass the time before he goes to a four-year college. He’ll do business like me.” My dad was just so clueless. At this point, it was my second musical outside of my high school. It was odd to me that he didn’t see this as a sign of your son wants to do this. Your son takes singing lessons. Your son is in plays and does martial arts and is disciplined. This is all your son wants to do. It’s interesting that didn’t land on him. He has a very traditional background.

Do you think it was just that he couldn’t conceptualize it? Did it not occur to him that it might be something someone wanted to do for a living or did he just not see it with you?

I think it’s his upbringing because he has relatives in the Philippines who were professional singers. I met them before and I think they’re really nice and they’re obviously talented, but I don’t know. There was a disconnect. He didn’t embrace that from me. He didn’t think acting was a real job.

He wanted me to be someone who would take over for his business and be a business man. He saw me not using my smarts in a way that was serving my future, was not going to serve my bank account. The irony of it is now I’m running my own business. I act on television and I get paid very well. I have a business manager. I have a team of people who I work with. I get to do what I love to do, which is something that I don’t think he could relate to because I don’t think he was doing what he wanted to do. He was just doing what he had to do to help support his family. I also teach, so now I have that opportunity to be in my dad’s position where I’m working with students.

I want to really inspire them and give them the knowledge and the tools that I would have wanted to have at that age that I didn’t have. I was struggling to look for it when I was in Daly City looking for more training. Not just like I took dance at Westside School of Performing Arts. I belonged to a teen school theatre company. I just wanted more. I wanted more and I wanted to just be a part of this business and learn what it took to do that. It took me a long time to figure that out. Now when I teach, I try to not only give back to my students, but also get them to understand that you being in my class does not mean I’m training you to become a star or become the next Broadway sensation.

He wanted me to be someone who would take over for his business and be a business man … The irony of it is now I’m running my own business. I act on television and I get paid very well. I have a business manager. I have a team of people who I work with.

I’m training you to be open to these other parts of yourself that you can only express through singing, dancing, acting or through using your imagination and just tapping into these areas that you’re not used to tapping into that academics doesn’t really do. It’s just about self-discovery. That’s what I like to think my focus is when I’m teaching and it’s something that I would have love to have had when I was younger.

To go back a little, you did theatre in high school. You found out you were interested in it. Your dad wasn’t seeing it as a career path. What was next for you then? Did you just keep finding outlets to do it? What was your path at that point?

I went to a junior college for a semester. I picked the one that was furthest away from me because normally my dad would drive me to school and I wanted to not be near home. I wanted to feel like I was away. I took academic classes. I did not pass anything. I remember falling asleep during my English placement exam. I didn’t care.

It’s not where my head was. After a semester of that, I went to a closer junior college, and when I did that, I started focusing only on arts, so singing, dance and more singing, music appreciation, things like that. I realized that’s really what I wanted to be thinking about, and then I luckily got to be in a production of Guys and Dolls at a community theatre nearby.

The choreographer knew me from performing the teen company and she let me be her assistant choreographer. I was a featured dancer in the show, and she just took me under her wing. That led me to getting accepted into the Youth Conservatory A.C.T. Theater in San Francisco. Then on the way going there, I got my first little survival job at Starbucks.

It just all came together, and now I was working at Starbucks, and I was taking classes at A.C.T. and doing community theatre and wanting to get more training. I’d heard about PCPA, the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts, through two or three different people. That story is crazy. It’s a way longer story than I don’t think you have time for, but basically all the circumstances pointed to I should audition for this school. I did. My acting teacher at Youth Conservatory A.C.T. coached me for my audition, and I got in.

Then, when I got in, my dad drove me to the audition and the callbacks and helped to pay for school. It was run through junior college, so we were able to apply for financial aid. We didn’t spend a whole lot of money on my actual schooling, which was great, so there was no big student loan.

The student-teacher ratio was for every two students there was one teacher. We were working with professional actors and directors during the day as our teachers, but they would also direct and act in the shows at night, which we got to audition for. It’s this amazing combination of school and real-life experience. Then upon graduating in 2003 in May, I had some time off. I think maybe a week or two. Then I did summer company that summer. I did two musicals at PCPA. While I was there, I went to LA to audition for things because I’d heard you could do that. I didn’t really know you could or that that was an option.

Someone said, “You should look on Playbill.com.”

I’m like, “What’s Playbill.com?” I was completely green, just no clue.

She’s like, “Oh, it’s a website, but don’t worry. I’ll print out the audition notices for you.” She did, and one was for Mamma Mia, the national tour. One was for 42nd Street national tour. I went in for both. I got called back for both. The week of my birthday in August, weeks before summer company was going to end, I got a phone call from Binder Casting in New York asking me to join the first national tour of 42nd Street. I flipped out. I couldn’t believe it. I called my dad and I told him that I was going on tour. I didn’t ask him. I told him. I just did it.

Then after that, then it was the typical you move to New York. You don’t really know anyone. You sleep on couches. You have a bag on your back and you’re taking four modes of transportation. You don’t have any money and you’re just a vagabond. I did that. That was the typical beginning of New York.

Then obviously things went on an upswing for me. I just went through two or three-year period in New York where I didn’t stop working. I had a week or two weeks between jobs. I was constantly doing a musical every few months and just gigging, as they say. It was great. It was just this natural escalation.

Photo by Jessica Chou

Photo by Jessica Chou

My dad supported me in doing stuff, but he wasn’t the most vocally supportive. He didn’t really want me to be an actor, but I did, so I used his resistance as a test. That’s a part of where all that tenacity and perseverance came from because I knew I’d have to deal with that in the real world. Before I even got to the real world, I was dealing with it with my father. I think that helped shaped my ambition.

Do you think he officially accepted it when you went to New York?

That’s a good question. I’ll give you this example. It was about six, seven years into being in New York and I was visiting home. I was on a break from the national tour of Xanadu. I was about to go to Tokyo. I was chatting with him and my youngest sister, who’s a fashion designer in LA. She’d been having tough times in finding work as a fashion designer. He casually said like, “I wish you guys would get serious and get real jobs.”

I was so mad. I left the living room and marched over to my bag and I got my contract. I said, “Does this look like a fake job to you? This is a contract saying they’re going to pay me somewhere over a grand a week to do this show. I’ve been doing this show for a while now, and I’m the dance captain of the show. I cover the lead. I’m working legitimately. Thousands of people see me perform when I’m on.”

It was so weird to feel like, “Really? I have to prove this to you, that this is legit?” It felt crazy in my head. I’m telling you that to say he really didn’t get it. Then, up until when he passed away a few years ago, I found out he was actually, behind my back, bragging about me to the nurses in the hospital.

He’d say things like, “Oh, my gosh, you guys. My son’s coming. He’s coming from New York. He’s an actor. He travels all over the world. He’s in all these shows. He’s coming. He’s a singer. He’s a dancer. He does everything. My son is so talented, and you’re going to meet him. You’ll see. You’ll see.”

When I’d get there, he didn’t say any of those things to me. He’d just says, “I worry about you. When are you going to get a real job? Why can’t you be a nurse?”

I’m like, “Dad, you’re on your death bed. Can you just accept it? So many years. Come on, buddy. Come on.” It’s been a few years. I look back, and I go, “Oh man. That was a really bad, bad thing.”

I don’t know when he got it. I don’t know if he ever got it. I think he was just always a really concerned father. I get that and that’s why I could be mad at him, but I still understand what he was thinking. He was just worried about his son and I totally get that. It’s just too bad because there was so much joy I had in doing what I did and that he just didn’t bother to go out of his own box to understand what I did and really learn to appreciate it the way that I appreciated it. It was just this unfortunate disconnect between my dad and I that we never really resolved.

That is heartbreaking to never get to have that moment. And he passed away before Crazy Ex-Girlfriend happened, so he never got to see you on TV, which might have been a bigger platform for him to get it.

Yeah, I never got that far in my ambition while he was alive. I had to go through my own journey to arrive at even just the pursuit of television and film. It’s something I knew I’d always do, but I had this idea in my head that, “Oh, you’ll be on Broadway first, Vince. You’ll do a show, and then you’ll audition during the day. Then you’ll break out and do bit parts.” I had this map in my head, and that all just didn’t happen the way exactly I’d planned.

That’s life. You go for the gold. You work hard. You chase your dreams. You chase every day. You hear your nos, but you still go for it. Then you hope that one day it’ll add up to an awesome job or a great breakout opportunity. I got to live that. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to see it, but I like to think wherever he is, he’s like, “Wow! You did it. Good job, son.”

Still bragging about all the cool stuff that you’re doing up wherever he is.

Now he has way more to brag about because Filipinos are very proud. Filipinos who aren’t even related to me are bragging about me, and I’m like, “I’m not related to you.”

They’re like, “Doesn’t matter. You’re Filipino.”

I’m like, “Yeah, but you’re right that it’s still just as awesome, isn’t it? Yes, rejoice over this. This is a big deal.”

Photo by Scott Everett White / The CW

Photo by Scott Everett White / The CW

Let’s talk about how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came along, because Josh Chan seems like this perfect role for you, that you likely wouldn’t have imagined was going to exist. How did that come about?

Just auditions. There was a break down. I was doing Here Lies Love at the Public Theater in New York City at the time, which is an all-Filipino disco poperetta written by David Byrne from the Talking Heads and Fatboy Slim.

That is amazing. That sounds so great.

It was. It was so amazing and great that when they did it the first time, they sold out. It was the Hamilton of its time. It was at the Public and it sold out. You couldn’t get tickets to it. Celebrities would come see it. It was that kind of show. Then they did a remount of it a few months after it had closed and I became a part of that remount.

Then I sang to Joan Rivers, which she was eight feet away from me. I sang to her face, to Joan Rivers and various other celebrities. Fred Savage. It was just amazing to see how many people would come see this show. That was the world I was in, and I didn’t realize the director of the new Spider-man franchise is in the audience, Marc Webb.

He ended up being one of the executive producers on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the director of the pilot of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

When I had been called back for the show, I got called back to read for him. He asked me, “I see you were in Here Lies Love. Were you on when I was there?”

I was like, “Yeah, I was.”

He was like, “Who were you?”

I was like, “I was the guy at the end who sang to the audience, but you didn’t recognize me because I had sunglasses and a blonde fall over my face.” It was a completely different character. It was just that connection was kismet.

He was like, “Ooh, that’s cool. That’s a nice coincidence.”

My audition for him for the show was me accompanying myself on guitar while singing and rapping to “Thugz Mansion” by Tupac Shakur, and the only reason why I knew that song was because I was going in for an understudy position for the Broadway company of Holler if Ya Hear Me, the Tupac Shakur musical. That was around the same time I went in for Here Lies Love.

As soon as I got into Here Lies Love, I wasn’t available for Holler if Ya Hear Me, but I still had this song that I learned for the audition. That was the song I used for my audition tape, which Rachel Bloom now says, “Ooh, when I saw that, Vince Rodriguez III’s audition tape for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, that was a turning point for me in terms of knowing this guy should play Josh.”

At least that’s how I remember it, unless I’m remembering incorrectly, which is totally possible. With all the articles that are out, I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a few of my facts incorrect. It was something like that where the world was conspiring in my favor for this role, it felt like. Even friends were reading sides with me because I was so nervous. I was reading so many different friends of mine just to make sure I was comfortable with the dialogue. It was a very easy scene, but I wanted it to feel very natural because it’s television and I’m used to theatre.

“Thugz Mansion” by Tupac Shakur … was the song I used for my audition tape, which Rachel Bloom now says, “Ooh, when I saw that, Vince Rodriguez III’s audition tape for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, that was a turning point for me in terms of knowing this guy should play Josh.”

One of my best friends, Olivia Oguma, we were on the steps of the Public between shows of Here Lies Love, and I had the guitar out because I was going over my audition song and whatever. I was getting ready for my final callback and she was reading it with me again. She said, “I don’t want to sound weird or whatever, and you know I love you. You’re my friend, but aside from that, I think you’re going to book this.”

I was like, “What? Nah. I mean, whatever. We’ll see. I don’t know.”

Then another friend of mine said the same thing. One of the cast members read another scene with me, a different scene. I never read with her for anything. At the end, she looked at me and was like, “You nailed that. I think you could book this job.”

I was like, “Ah, that’s very sweet of you. That’s so nice of you to say that. That’s comforting to me. It gives me confidence. Thank you.” I didn’t necessarily believe her.

Then, of course, that’s exactly what happened. It all worked out. They really liked how I understood this character and where the character was coming from and his background. Then, the show was a musical comedy and I have 13 years of professional musical theatre performance experience. They give me a song two days before I record it. I learn it. I record it. Then, two days before I actually have to film that song, I have the playback and I’m rehearsing singing along with my playback. Then we do a bunch of different versions of it, whether it’s dancing or it’s just singing or it’s to camera or whatever. It just feels like it’s the world I was in already.

The only difference is there’s cameras on me now and I have to be really clear in my head when we’re in fantasy or when we’re being more theatrical versus being very based in a grounded reality. I think that’s a very generalized way of putting it, but that’s how I see it. There’s shades in between, but those are the bold plot points in terms of how we have to tackle this material because it’s really funny. It’s also based in truth. It also has a dark undertone. We handle a lot of taboo subjects. We use a lot of adult humor. We’re spoofing genres. We’re spoofing music videos, but we’ve still got to perform it. That’s part of the joke, is that I think doing the genre helps sell the joke and sell what our point of view is about this person or what the circumstance is of the song.

I think all my musical theatre training helps with that. Also, I’m working with brilliant people, and I’m constantly learning from them on set. I shadow people. I just talk to people, the crew, and ask them questions. I’m like, “How do you know this? What does ‘punching a script’ mean?”

“Oh, we’re punching up a joke in the script.”

I’m like, “Oh, cool! Term, LA, got it. Learn new stuff.” It’s neat. I feel like a kid in a candy store right now.

What is wonderful about your story of being cast on the show is there’s an interesting parallel between the way that you ended up on the show and Rachel Bloom’s character in the pilot episode, where she sees all of these signs that she’s supposed to go to West Covina. It almost seems like you had a real world version of that.

Huh! [Pause.] Oh, yeah. That’s a good point. Yeah, I didn’t think about that. Huh. Yeah, wow.

Photo by Scott Everett White / The CW

Photo by Scott Everett White / The CW

You can have that if you want for future interviews.

Yeah, I am Rebecca Bunch, except I didn’t chase a guy. I was already with my boyfriend, now husband, for a long time. My Josh Chan in my real life was this dream of just being more than an ensemble member in a musical in New York or in general theatre. Yeah, wow. Okay, cool.

Since you did mention your husband, you posted an Instagram photo of you guys on a ride at Disneyland. You mentioned that you proposed to him on a roller coaster.

I did. So basically, we just decided that we were going to do something. We’re not going to do anything traditional, so he proposed to me, and then I was like, “Okay, so now it’s my turn, and so he won’t know when or where.”

I was doing Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Jolla Playhouse and we got a free day at Disney. I was on the California Screamin’ roller coaster ride. We sat down. They checked the tightness of that thing that goes over your chest. I said, “Hey, Greg. Can I ask you something?”

He was like, “What?”

Then I just took out the box and opened it.

He just smiled, looked up at the sky, was like, “Ah, here?”

I was like, “Yeah. So?” He was like, “Yes, of course. Of course.” I don’t think I was close enough to kiss him because I was locked into the harness thing. He tried holding onto the box, but he was fumbling with it.

I was like, “Okay, you need to give me that ring right now. We’re about to go upside down.” Basically, that’s it.

That’s gutsy logistics with the handling of the ring moments before a roller coaster starts up.

I wasn’t fearful of it. I’d held onto sunglasses and stuff on a roller coaster ride. And it’s just totally awesome because I used to go to Disneyland every year when I was a kid. There was a time where my parents couldn’t afford it anymore. I remember they took me to Reno or Vegas. I don’t know why you’d take your kid to Vegas, but they did.

I was like, “What am I going to do in Vegas? This isn’t Disneyland. It’s going to suck.” Of course, we passed a big billboard full of Lance Burton and David Copperfield. Of course they took me to Lance Burton and David Copperfield’s show and since then I became a magician. That was how I became a magician. Had they not interrupted the Disneyland yearly trip, I would not have become a magician.

I’ve been doing magic since I was a freshman in high school, and that’s a joke in the show, in the pilot, because Josh does magic. That’s based on me because I told them I was a magician. I gave them a list of my special skills, and they’re like, “This is ridiculous. We’re going to use as many of these as we can.”

That’s what season two will actually have. You’ll see a lot of diversity in what Josh is able to do, whether he’s singing or not singing. A lot of it’s going to come out.

It was so wonderful as an adult, going back to Disneyland and not by myself or just with friends, but with my cast. Being cast in a Disney musical – the stage premier of The Hunchback of Notre Dame – is one of the biggest accomplishments of my professional career. I hold it that way in my heart, and then, to be there with my honey, my husband-to-be, was great.

Why not? I’m going to propose to him on a roller coaster ride in California Adventure. Take that, Instagram. I like having those memories. It’s fun to look. Facebook memories, you can always see what stuff happened on that day one or five of 10 years ago.

It’s fun to just look back and see how far you’ve come. That’s part of why I wanted to make that post because it was an important week. It was an important weekend. It was our one-year anniversary. It was fun. It was great.

That’s such a wonderful story. Listening to you tell it, one thing you and Josh Chan clearly have in common is you have a very positive vibe. Josh is always upbeat and positive, even when dealing with some really sad stuff.

Thank you. That’s very sweet of you.

Josh is a little blinded, but not by his kindness or positive outlook on life, because that’s not the problem. I feel like Josh and I are the same in that way. It’s just that Josh hasn’t grown up in other ways and that’s what’s holding him back.

Rebecca is enabling him to stay that way. But Rebecca’s never tried to make Josh do anything Josh hasn’t wanted to do. Josh’s aspirations are not so much bigger. He doesn’t want to go to the moon.

I think that’s where Josh and I differ are I’m very ambitious. Josh is not as ambitious. He values things that I think are very temporary for his age and where he’s at in his life. He’s not as worldly as I think he could be. I strive to be more open to ideas, and places, and things. The last five years of my life, I’ve definitely been going through a process where I’m opening up and becoming … It’s growing up. It’s becoming an adult and accepting that you are able to create your reality and to create who you want to be.

That’s where I’m at. I think a struggle for many artists is to find authenticity in that. Who am I? What do I want to create? What am I passionate about? What are my beliefs? As I get older, I feel like I’m much closer to being able to identify all those things. Josh is just on a slower track than that. In that way, I think we’re just very different. I still adore Josh. He’s a very sweet man. He needs to read more books, and probably get out more.

That’s a good way to put it. It’s not the activities he does or that he likes having a good time. It’s that he hasn’t found a path or a direction in his life to channel those into something more productive or adult.

What is the drive for anyone to do that for themselves? You have to be unhappy with something and see something is wrong in order to change it. He doesn’t see anything wrong with his life. Once he starts wanting more than what he has, I think he’ll start to see he can’t just do what he’s been doing. He has to do something else, because if you keep doing what you’ve always been doing expecting a different result, now you’re just insane. Our show does tackle such subjects, luckily.

I think Josh falls into that category. In season two, you’ll see him go through that. We’re going to definitely touch on Josh’s self-awareness. You’ll see how he can be pretty blind to what’s around him and, I don’t know, not closed off, but it’s like those horses that have those blinders on that only see what’s in front of them. They can’t see outside of that. Josh has definitely a case of that.

Do you think Josh and Rebecca should be together? Are they a good couple? Because the last episode of last season played with that idea, showing you the beauty of their relationship before ending with a scene showing there are still big problems.

I think Josh and Rebecca should definitely be friends and I think what the show is exploring is what happens when these two people are together. Whether or not they end up together in the end, I don’t know. I don’t think they should be together in the state that they’re in now, but if they could grow up, maybe there’s hope.

I don’t know if that’s really an answer. As they are now, no, I don’t think they should end up being together. I do think that they need each other in a way, and that’s why they are gravitating towards each other. It’s just taking them a while, as things are in life. It takes time to let things simmer and to reflect on them.

I think Josh and Rebecca should definitely be friends and I think what the show is exploring is what happens when these two people are together. Whether or not they end up together in the end, I don’t know. I don’t think they should be together in the state that they’re in now, but if they could grow up, maybe there’s hope.

Josh is only so mature right now. He’s going to learn a lot in season two, as you see at the end of season one where he finds out about Rebecca. Josh can be distracted by certain other things. He has a little bit of squirrel syndrome in season two. “Squirrel!” He’s very easily distracted. You’ll get to see that, and you’ll get to see how it messes up his life and how to make it great. Ultimately, it’s not really the best for him. I do think they have something to gain by being together, and that’s why they’re attracted to each other, so that I totally get.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I don’t know if people know that I’m a teacher. That’s something. I’m becoming more of an advocate for education because it’s something I find myself gravitating towards when I’m in between jobs. It’s something I had been doing between jobs since I graduated PCPA. When I got that tour, the 42nd Street tour, I had a layoff, and which means basically the tour isn’t booked, so they send everyone home, and they can do whatever they want. I would go back and teach at PCPA, and they did pay me. I’d go back once or twice a year to PCPA, and that expanded.

I would teach for my old high school teacher and a music director I used to work with in high school and speak to certain clubs or classes at my old high school. I realized I had this drive to share what I know because I remember being young. I was a walking sponge, but I didn’t feel like people were taking advantage of the fact that I was a sponge.

They weren’t enriching my brain and challenging me in a way that I thought would serve me as an adult. That path of thought in my brain makes me want to be the answer to that question or the solution to that problem. So I go back and teach high school and junior high kids or college kids and speak to them about the business and how to find their place.

I don’t know if you want to say “make it,” but how to work and thrive in this business. Then, not necessarily in this business, because I know a lot of people who do theatre often don’t choose the performing arts. Sometimes they go on the back end and they become producers or casting directors or executives, art directors, set designers, props, lights, camera crews and things like that.

Some people just need outs when they’re too young to understand who they are and what spot is right for them in the world. That’s how I see performing arts, and so that’s something I’m very passionate about when I teach. It’s one of the things I keep in mind when I’m on break, because I do like to teach and go back to where I’m from and share what I know.

That’s a really great goal, especially since it seems like didn’t have someone like that when you were younger. It’s nice that you’re offering that to the next generation so they have someone that maybe would have been helpful for you when you were starting out.

That’s the thing, though. It’s not that I didn’t have anyone. I mean, I had my drama teacher, Miss Bishop, in high school. She inspired all of us. Because of her, we did direct our own plays. We were always thinking outside the box and throwing ourselves into these scenes and just open to discovery. We learned that from her.

Then you only get so far in your own self-development you’ve got to go beyond that. You want to find another teacher and have them build upon, build more in your brain and in your art. I just felt like, when I was younger, there were other questions I had, things pertaining to the profession, that weren’t as accessible to me because the teachers that were teaching me were not working actors in New York or whatever.

When I got to PCPA, they were working actors, but for that time that they were there, they were our resident actors. Only so often would they go away to work and come back. I love that idea of go work in this business, work in this field, but then go back and then teach what you learned.

Okay, now go away again. Okay, now come back. I love hearing how drama teachers and music teachers are now going away on these conferences or retreats to work to see Broadway shows and talk to Broadway stars and Broadway creators, Broadway creative teams, and asking them questions about how the business is changing and how the art form’s changing.

Then they get to teach that to their kids. I love that idea. I want to be one of those pioneers who come back to teach what they know after sitting in the pool of show business, and because when I was younger, I had some good mentors for sure, but I wanted more. That’s really what I’m pushing for because the people who were my mentors then and who aided me, I don’t forget who they are. I am here because of them.

What does the future hold for you?

Photo by Jessica Chou

Photo by Jessica Chou

I think I would love to span Broadway and television, film and commercials. I’ve always dreamed to just be a working actor. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to tell stories that I’m passionate about and that thrill me and that I think are important. I think I will be directing. I mean, I see myself directing television. I don’t know if I’ll be directing films. Who knows? My brain, because of all the dance captaining I did and my dancing I did, I have this brain that sees overall picture. I see the shots in my head when I read scripts now. That’s where my imagination goes.

That’s something I think I’m going to be developing in the back of my head as I keep acting because I love acting. I don’t think I’ll ever stop acting ever. I definitely think my interests will expand as they mature and as the business changes. I see myself being a performer. I’m always going to be a singer and I’ll dance ’til I’m dead. I’m always going to want to tell stories and be part of this business. I’ll want to direct these stories. Also, I’ll want to educate, so I’ll definitely be spending time traveling and teaching others. That’s where I see myself.

Interviewed by Joel Murphy. Season two of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend starts this Friday, October 21 at 9 pm. For more information on Vincent Rodriguez III, visit his website. Check back Wednesday for an audio version of this interview.

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