Local actor John Manzelli is a regular on the hit TV show “Magic City.” He’s also now at the helm of City Theatre, which brings its popular “Summer Shorts Festival” to Miami for its 17th season. ovalpike.com chatted with Manzelli about what it’s like to be on one of TV’s hottest hits and also what audiences can expect at Summer Shorts, which debuts tomorrow night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
Q: What can we expect from Summer Shorts this year?
You’ll be seeing nine short pieces, one that is as short as nine minutes long. Everything will have a comedic slant to it. This doesn’t mean there won’t be drama and pathos, but we’re going to have fun this year.
Q: Give us a few examples.
We have a play by Israel Horovitz that isn’t about Mideast politics, as you might expect, but is a funny and charming theatrical piece called “The Audition Play.” We have a very smart comedy called “The Britneys” about what happens at a book club, and we also have a play called “The Man from Mars,” about an alien with a rare and unusual talent that causes people to have delightful little orgasms. It’s just silly. And there’s also a musical number, so there’s a little bit of everything.
Q: Last year Jai Rodriguez, of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” starred in Summer Shorts. Are you going back to your original ensemble format this year?
When you have a performer like Jai it only makes sense to run the show through him. This year we’ve gone back to the ensemble format and we’ll be showcasing returning actors including Stephen Trovillion, Irene Adjan, Beth Dimon, and we’ve also got Katherine Wright, who is a quirky girl from New York that we’re bringing in. And we’ve also got Todd Allen Durkin, who appears on “Magic City” with me.
Q: Speaking of Magic City, what is it like being in a hit TV show?
It’s fantastic! For a local actor to get a recurring role on a TV show is incredible. Also, there are so many local actors who have gotten an opportunity to be on the show. My friend (and former ‘Summer Shorts’ veteran) Gregg Weiner is on it too. We act as advisors to the star characters. We spend every minute on the set together, so we are living the dream.
The Summer Shorts Festival runs June 1-17. Tickets are $35.
More info: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts