15 Questions in 15 Minutes with ‘Emojiland’ MIBSL Max Crumm

Pasadena native Max Crumm was catapulted to fame when he won the 2007 reality TV show Grease: You’re The One That I Want, which landed him the lead role of Danny Zuko in that year’s Broadway revival of Grease, alongside fellow winner Laura Osnes as Sandy. Since then, he has continued to expand his Warholian “15 minutes,” having returned to the Great White Way in the 2016 spoof Disaster!

Max Crumm. Photo by Michael Kushner.

In addition to his Broadway performances, Crumm has turned in memorable appearances in such popular Off-Broadway productions as The Evolution Of Mann (2018), in which he portrayed the lovable angst-ridden titular character, and with the New York Musical Festival (which, sadly, just announced its dissolution this year), including his featured role as Woody Harrelson in Matthew Mcconaughey Vs The Devil (2017).

Crumm can presently be seen back Off-Broadway in Emojiland, the transfer of the award-winning NYMF hit of 2018, which opened this past Sunday for a limited engagement at The Duke on 42nd Street. In it, he plays the hovering human emoji of Man in Business Suit Levitating (MIBSL).

The cast of Emojiland. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Following the opening celebration, Max took a few minutes to answer some quick questions about the show, his career, and, of course, his feelings about both!

  1. What’s the one main quality you share with your character from Emojiland?

Max: MIBSL is definitely a little bit mischievous. He and I have that quality in common!

  1. Which emoji do you use most often on social media?

The rainbow emoji!!!

  1. Is one picture worth a thousand words?

Yes? I dunno – depends on the picture!

  1. What’s your favorite book?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s absolutely a magically delicious adventure! Everyone needs to read it.

  1. What three emotions did you feel when you made your Broadway debut?

JOY! NERVOUSSSSS(ness). And exhaustion!

Laura Osnes, Max Crumm, and the cast of the 2007 Broadway revival of Grease. Photo by Joan Marcus.
  1. Would you rather be a greaser or a millennial?

Def a millennial; I like being me! Plus the social constructs were totally annoying back then. The outfits were hot though, for sure!

  1. What did you like best about playing a greaser? 

I loved the look. I find the greaser era totally romantic and sexy! The leather jackets were my favorite thing to wear. Martin Pakladinez made all the T-Birds custom fitting jackets and I miss that jacket every single day.

  1. What’s the worst disaster you’ve ever experienced?

One time I came home to my apartment, while living in Silverlake; I had just gotten my new puppy (now dog) Birdie. Anyway, I left the house for a little too long, returned home promptly to let her outside. However, she had already gone ALLLL over her crate and subsequently spread her #2 all over my apartment. EVERYWHERE.

Adam Pascal and Max Crumm in Disaster! Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
  1. Which one song have you most enjoyed performing?

I really, really loved performing “You’re My Best Friend” from Disaster! on Broadway. Dying in Adam Pascal’s arms every single night was a dream come true; I felt like Mimi from Rent.

  1. Is there a role, show, or song you haven’t done yet, but would like to do?

I have not yet had the opportunity to play Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors or The Baker in Into The Woods. Those are two of my favorite scores. “Suddenly Seymour”? “No More”? I’d love the chance to play with my interpretation of either of those roles!

  1. What always puts a smiley face on you?

Sleeeeeeep and my pup!

Max Crumm. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
  1. Has anything ever prompted you to react with the emoji you portray in the show?

Hahaha. Maybe a congrats on Emojiland text?

  1. What was your emotional reaction to the announcement of the discontinuation of NYMF?

TBH, I have mixed emotions about it!

  1. Is it better to have a full range of feelings, or just one, like an emoji?

Haha. Oh, I have a FULL range of emotions. All my friends and family will tell you that! Haha.

  1. What do you hope audiences feel when they see Emojiland?

I hope they feel HAPPINESS! This show is a fantasia of digital and ‘costumical’ eye candy! I hope we can provide an escape from the world for a bit. That’s why I love theater!

Thanks, Max, for taking the time out of your hectic schedule for a terrific talk with us – and with actual words, not just emojis! Wishing you and the show continued fame and success.

Emojiland plays through Thursday, March 19, 2020, at The Duke – 229 West 42nd Street, NYC. For tickets, call (646) 223-3010, or purchase them online.


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