Breakout Stars Ushering in a New Golden Age on Broadway: Mean Girls Star Kyle Selig
BroadwayBox teams up with photographer Curtis Brown to present "Ushering in a New Golden Age", an exclusive photo and interview series in which we spotlight the breakout stars from the 2018 Broadway season and style each like Broadway's original age. This illustrious crew of Tony nominees, Drama Desk nominees, and fan favorites was photographed at the beautiful Hudson Theatre (home to next season's new musical Head Over Heels). This week kicks off with Jimmy Award winner and The Book of Mormon alum Kyle Selig, who stars as Aaron Samuels—the ultimate high school hunk with a heart of gold—in the 12-time Tony-nominated hit Mean Girls.
1. Was there a big role in high school or college that gave you the confidence to pursue this?
My first role in high school, I was a Protean in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which still to this day is one of the most fun roles I’ve ever done. It wasn’t for a couple years after that I decided that this is what I want to do with my life, but I still think about that role—and how much fun I had doing it—in every show I do and try to bring that amount of fun to each role.
2. What has changed most in your life since taking on this role?
We’ve been doing this for almost a year now since the lab, and my day-to-day is still pretty concerned with Mean Girls. A big part of this for me was that I had to hit the gym a lot more—there’s some shirtless moments. So there are some things I really had to commit to in terms of eating well and working out, and it’s actually changed a lot about my life. I’m there every day. I’ve been really grateful for Mean Girls. Nothing gets you to the gym like taking your shirt off on Broadway.
3. This series is all about this Broadway season’s breakout performers. If you could time machine back and see any big Broadway icon’s breakout stage performance, whose would you want to go back and see?
I really admire Raúl Esparza. That’s the artist I’m trying to be and aspire to. I’d love to see him at my age, getting his first couple of jobs—I think it would be very informative.
4. What’s the most sentimental thing in your dressing room?
In my dressing room, I have taped up a couple things from all the shows I feel like led me here. There’s pictures of me and my friends from our Book of Mormon holiday party, something from October Sky (which I did in San Deigo), something from Joan of Arc (which I was doing when I got this job), and other things from Mean Girls in DC. It feels like a map of what led to this.
5. What’s been your biggest obstacle in reaching this point?
A lot of things came up early on, and things happened because I was young. I think I got a couple things a little sooner than I was ready for. Then not actually having the perspective that I was really young and getting frustrated with that idea that I was just beginning and wanted it all right away. It never really happens that way—everything is incremental. I think early on, that was the hardest part—I’m not going to have it all, all at once. Behind these breakout moments is years and years of people working hard and not getting the things they want.
6. You are originating the role of Aaron Samuels onstage. What advice would you give to future actors who will one day play Aaron in Mean Girls—be it on Broadway, on the road, or at their school?
People playing this role need to know that it’s not about being a cute boy. Aaron is about being someone who is attractive to people because he is kind and because he likes people who are themselves. How could he like somebody like Regina (who is superficial and plays all the games) and Cady (who knows nothing about these things), and how could he bounce between those two? The answer is they are both unabashedly themselves—different versions but true to who they are.
Photographed by Curtis Brown at The Hudson Theatre. Makeup by Claudia Eltabie & Liv Swenson from Rouge Makeup Salons, Hair by Austin Thornton, Styling by Kinsland Howell Alice in Kinsland Styling. Clothing courtesy of Starstruck Vintage Clothing.
Click here to see the entire "Ushering in a New Golden Age" series, and don't miss Kyle Selig melt hearts in Mean Girls at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre.