Q&A: Max Von Essen
Having had the unique perspective of being in TWO(!) different companies of Les Miz on Broadway, we knew we had to get this one on the podcast. The incredibly talented, ever-so-charming, and oh-so-wonderful Max Von Essen joins us for our supersized Les Miz Retrospective episode!
Name: Max von Essen
Where are you from? Well, I was born in Queens, NY, but by the time I was 5, I was living on Long Island, so I feel like a product of suburban Long Island.
Broadway credits: Jesus Christ Superstar (2000 revival), Dance of the Vampires, Les Miserables (closing company of the original run), Les Miserables (2006 revival) and Evita (2012 revival).
How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I was playing Jesus in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Connecticut and during the rehearsal process, I drove back into NYC to audition for the broadway revival because I knew they needed a Jesus understudy. When I was driving back to Connecticut I got the call and started to cry!
What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? Oh gosh, so hard to choose. Broadway Bares ranks very high for me, though… probably because I used to lie to my parents when I was younger, say I was staying at a friend’s place, and instead sneak out to see Broadway Bares. Oooops.
What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? Ever since I was a kid and had a few friends on Broadway, I was always fascinated how it seemed like one big family. I dreamed of being a part of it, and to be an adult now and a part of the community is unreal. It actually is like a family and that sense of community is what always drew me to it.
What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Art. I honestly know absolutely nothing about the art world, but I love finding artwork in the oddest of places, from street artists to vintage shops, and beginning my collection. I probably don’t own anything of real value yet, but the pieces are valuable to me because they speak to me. And that is what art is all about.
If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… Shirley Bassey
If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… Robbie Fairchild. He’s a new buddy of mine, we’ve been working on a new project together and he is a principal dancer with the NYC Ballet. I just want to know what it feels like to dance like that. It must be such a thrilling feeling. Like flying.
To be successful in this business, it takes… A very tough skin. You hear a lot of NO in this business. Constantly. But when the work comes, it is so thrilling and makes it all worth it. Just be prepared for the NO!
Tell us a secret. I have shoplifted.