Currently running through Sunday, December 30th, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest continues to illuminate audiences at the Everyman Theatre. From its superb set design to splendidly designed costumes, the tour-de-farce showcases some of the best acting talent in Baltimore. Everyman resident actor Danny Gavigan, who plays Algernon, recently chatted with Baltimore OUTloud.
Growing up in Columbia, Maryland, Gavigan always had a talent for entertaining others. “It wasn’t like an epiphany all the sudden, but more it was something that was just always there from a young age. In home movies, when I was about eight or nine years old, I’d always be hamming it up for the camera. I have five sisters, and I was right in the middle. It was the 90s and shows like In Living Color were on, and I was in such awe of Jim Carrey. I used to love doing impressions. I was also a huge ‘Saturday Night Live’ fan and used to love watching Mike Myers and Phil Hartman. I always wanted to make my sisters laugh.”
It was while Gavigan was in his junior year of high school that he finally built up his courage to really pursue acting. “I credit a lot to my mentor, Sally Livingston, who passed away a few years ago. I still say a little mantra to her before every performance. She was the first adult to see a talent in me and showed me how to really approach script analysis, character development, and physicality. She put me in a lot of high school plays, and I was very fortunate.”
Gavigan went on to take acting classes at UMBC, as well as Harford Community College and the Community College of Baltimore County. “I actually studied at The Groundlings in Los Angeles and took some improv classes out there, which was really fun. I’m very lucky that we have such a huge theatre community in this region – DC and Baltimore were where I really got my feet wet and honed my personal craft as an actor. I was able to learn what my range was and focus on my approach and process, from doing very classical theatre to contemporary shows. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of excellent directors, both young and old, who have pushed me to find my own way as an actor.”
This is currently Gavigan’s fifth season as a company member, and sixth working at Everyman Theatre. Now in his 13th show, Gavigan found it staggering that the years have started to fly by at Everyman. “I wouldn’t be half the actor I am today if it wasn’t for the past six seasons here.”
Currently starring as Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest, Gavigan welcomes the opportunity to bring some of those comedic skills back to the forefront. The character is a charming, imaginative (if a bit cynical) bachelor in his late 20s. “Algernon is definitely a bit of a Ben Stiller, who’s an inspiration for me as I bring this character to life,” Gavigan relates. “So many talented people that inspire me when I’m working and tweaking things. It was in tech rehearsal that I added the ‘Blue Steel’ expressions from Zoolander into this character. My Algernon is a marriage of Zoolander and Oscar Wilde meets Austin Powers. There’s a lot of Mike Meyers in this production, and I think that came out of the infusion of the Tom Jones music and the risqué flamboyance we’ve pursued in this production.” Gavigan added, “The director turned to me at one point and said, ‘We’re putting you in an Oscar Wilde wig,’ and as soon as he said that this whole creative world just opened up to me. Some people actually say that Wilde was the first iconic celebrity in his day. Algernon has all the great lines, and in many ways our director and I saw the character as a conduit in which Oscar Wilde saw himself – living a double life and having this sharp wit while doing so.”
For more info on the current performance, visit Everymantheatre.org.
- Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.