For some time now, I have wanted to occasionally devote my blog to looking at young talent, the up and comers of the theatre world. I like to think I know talent when I see it and in the case of young Jack DiFalco, I believe I am spot on about his future in the performing industry. Jack DiFalco is 19 years old and hails from Stormville, New York. I first encountered his acting abilities a few years ago when I saw him in the Trinity Players (of Poughkeepsie) production of In the Heights. A terrific production in its own right, Mr. DiFalco played “Graffiti Pete” and, though it was a small role, he jumped out of the chorus as a great dancer, and exuded a charisma and energy that drew the attention of the audience. In March of 2014, I had the pleasure of seeing Jack again at The Rhinebeck Center for the Performing Arts, this time as “Private Downey”, one of the two soldiers on trial in Aaron Sorkin’s riveting drama A Few Good Men. The acting range of someone so young was astounding, infusing his character with complexity, variety, and an endearing quality as well.
Jack knew at a young age that he wanted to be a performer, and during this of these aforementioned shows, he decided he wasn’t going to sit around and wait for things to happen. He took the bull by the horns, found himself a manager, began going on auditions, and secured his first major gig with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Colorado, playing the role of the ferociously animalistic Roger in a stage adaptation of Lord of the Flies directed by Anthony Powell. He was in Colorado for the two-month run, then he returned to New York City where he has remained quite busy. He appeared in a student film titled Naranja and in a music video of the Aoife O’Donovan song “Beekeeper.”
I decided to catch up with Jack and talk to him about his perceptions of the professional world, having been fully immersed in it for just a little over a year. This was the first time I talked to Jack in person, so it was a pleasure to find out that his talent is matched with a friendly, accessible demeanor, buoyed by enthusiasm and a deep respect for the craft of acting.
MR: Why acting? Why is this what you chose to do with your life?
JD: I wanted to try this my whole life, but there just were not that many opportunities for kids where I lived. One day, I just decided to do it.
MR: Is there anything that particularly motivates you?
JD: Well…the people who told me that I couldn’t do this are the ones who drove me the most.
MR: Because you wanted to prove them wrong?
JD: No, because I wanted to prove myself right!
MR: Jack, you have been acting professionally now for a little over a year. What are some things that have surprised you about the business?
JD: I didn’t expect to make so many friends and connections in the audition room. This is a great place to network and also see what everyone else has to offer. I was also surprised by the fact that not everyone is as professional in auditions as you would think they might be. There are people who are there who are clearly focused and devoted to the craft, and others who are too busy checking their cell phones for texts and emails.
MR: Jack, is there anyone in the performing industry who inspires you?
JD: A performer named Matthew Gumley has become a good friend. He has taught me a lot about the business and performing. He does what he loves and he’s so knowledgeable with music and the arts. He’s also ridiculously talented. (Gumley grew up on Broadway, appearing in Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, The Addams Family, and Elf).
MR: If you could go back a year or two and offer advice to the younger version of yourself, what would you say?
JD: Just wait. I never expected to be working so quickly on the projects I am now, or meeting the people that I get to meet. Also, I heard a quote recently that I think should be shared with any young, aspiring performer: “Everyone is just a kid from somewhere.”
MR: As a kid from “somewhere”, what do you feel you have to offer the world of performing?
JD: My background and my experience.
MR: What is your greatest strength?
JD: My helpfulness. I am always trying to help people and I always help young people who want to get into the business. If they need to know the steps to take, I help them with that.
MR: What is your biggest weakness?
JD: I’m getting better at it, but I sometimes get anxious. Auditions can cause anxiety, but I am learning how to cope with that.
Apparently audition anxiety isn’t holding him back too much. Jack’s next project could be, by far, his most exciting to date. He will be making his Off-Broadway debut in The New Group’s premiere of Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur. Jack is excited for the opportunity to work with director Scott Elliott on this piece that was described by Ben Brantley as “a savage and utterly gripping drama.” Jack’s resolve and determination have certainly paid off in just a year. I stand by, waiting with bated breath, as I anticipate his career to launch into the stratosphere.
MR: What’s next for you, Jack?
JD: I don’t know. I’m prepared for whatever comes my way. Any day is a good day when I get to do what I love.