15 Questions in 15 Minutes with Jared Zirilli

Over the past fifteen years, multi-talented stage and screen star Jared Zirilli has appeared on and off Broadway, in regional theater, and in 1st national tours around the country, with major roles in SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, Lysistrata Jones, The Jerusalem Syndrome, The Full Monty, We Will Rock You, Wicked, Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, and many, many more, and has co-starred and guest starred on a number of hit television series, including Blue Bloods on CBS, Law & Order: SVU and Blindspot on NBC, and Pan Am on ABC, and most recently, in a recurrent role on Hulu’s popular Wu Tang: An American Saga.

Jared Zirilli. Photo by Billy Bustamante.

Zirilli is now adding to his never-ending “fifteen minutes of fame” with his return (after a hiatus of several years) as a member of The Boy Band Project, with a Boy Band Brunch residency every other Saturday at City Winery NYC, covering the biggest hits of the guy groups of the ‘80s’ and beyond, and bringing his stellar vocals, high-energy moves, smoldering hot looks, and archetypal “Bad Boy” attitude to the fan-favorite show. In addition to performing, he is also an accomplished acting technique coach, specializing in monologues, scenes, and songs, college auditions, and professional audition prep.

In the midst of his ever-busy schedule, Jared graciously made time to take our rapid-fire Pop quiz, answering questions about his background and sharing his own personal favorites with our readers.

  1. What came first for you – acting, singing, or dancing?

Jared: Singing in church when I was little. It was the only thing that kept me engaged. And then I did Snoopy in a school play of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Jared Zirilli. Photo by Ray Costello.
  1. What’s your first creative memory, the one that made you realize you wanted to be in show biz?   

In high school, getting to do my first Stephen Sondheim musical. As a freshman, I did Sondheim’s Follies, and then in my sophomore year I did A Little Night Music. It was a very rare and unbelievable experience to be able to do Sondheim at that age, since the characters are older and the shows aren’t usually done in schools.

  1. Is there one character you’ve played on the stage or screen that’s your all-time favorite?

I got to create the role of a preacher fighting demons in Rain by Michael John LaChiusa in the world premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego. It was a bold new work with expressive music that I would do again any day of the week.

  1. Is there a dream role or show you’d like to play in the future?

On my bucket list I still have A Little Night Music; Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm is such a great character. I also like doing new work, originating roles that I can put my stamp on from the first. I’ve done that a lot in my career, and it’s fun to see where other actors later take the character.

  1. Which song do you most look forward to performing in the Boy Band Brunch?

The theme song from Titanic is unexpected to the audience and I pretend that I’m both Jack and Rose on the bow on the ship. I savor those comedic opportunities! 

Jared Zirilli, with Nathan Cockroft and Travis Nesbitt. Photo by Deb Miller.
  1. Which Boy Band type are you most like in real life – the Sensitive One, the Sporty One, the Boy Next Door, or the Bad Boy that you play?

The Sensitive One. I’m a Cancer, I wear my heart and my emotions on my sleeve. And I have two kids; I’m such a mush!

  1. Is there one move in the show that’s your favorite?

I think my favorite is when we’re ‘riding the pony’ in “The Right Stuff.” It looks like it’s out of an early ‘90s music video.

  1. What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve ever gotten from a fan?

Recently a fan made me a home-made friendship bracelet, with my name on it. That was really nice!

Jared Zirilli, with Nathan Cockroft and Travis Nesbitt. Photo by Ray Costello.
  1. Who, or what, has been the biggest inspiration in your career?

Liev Schreiber. I saw him on Broadway in Talk Radio in 2007. He was nominated for a Tony and he made me realize that I didn’t just want to do musical theater, but also plays and characters that are so emotional and meaningful.

  1. Is there a menu item or drink at City Winery that you would recommend to audience members?

Oh, yeah! I always order the Kale Caesar Salad; it’s healthy but it tastes really good. And I get the Kung Pao Cauliflower to go with it. City Winery makes vegetables taste great, and that way I don’t eat anything heavy before we go on.

  1. What three emotions do you feel when you’re on stage?

Joy. Humor. Commitment. I like to over-commit to the character, the fun, and the spirit.

  1. What three things do you always have in your dressing room?

A charger so my devices don’t go dead. Hair spray, to keep my hair from going flat. And deodorant, since the show is so active and makes me sweat.

Jared Zirilli. Photo by Justin Mortelliti.
  1. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Loving, ambitious, and spiritual.

  1. What do you do for fun when you’re not performing?

I’m a massive crazy wrestling fan, so I love to watch WWE professional wrestling, as I have since I was a kid. To do, I like gardening.

  1. What’s the best thing about being famous?

Getting to perform for a living! Getting to do, and to teach, what I love.

Many thanks, Jared, for sharing a fabulous 15 minutes with us and letting your fans get to know you a little better. It was great talking to you; looking forward to seeing you and the Boys again at your upcoming shows at City Winery!

The Boy Band Project. Photo by Ray Costello.

The Boy Band Project’s Boy Band Brunch plays Saturday, July 13, 2024 (and every other Saturday through January 25, 2025), at noon (doors open at 11:30 am), at City Winery, 25 Eleventh Avenue, NYC. For tickets (priced at $35, plus fees), go online. Please note that admission does not include brunch; there is no food/drink minimum.

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