One of the most challenging aspects of acting is the performance in front of a live audience. Some actors relish the challenge, many others prefer the ability to do another take. The supreme discipline that live productions require place a burden shared by the entire cast, but when you are one of the stars in a two-man play and onstage during the entire performance, there is no place to hide. Such were the demands of Louis Gerard Politan’s most recent role. Was he up for the challenge? You bet he was and he can’t wait to return to the role!
Louis was born and raised a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean in picturesque Deal, New Jersey. He has always had an interest in both the acting and production side of the performing arts and went to the University of Miami with a double major, in film, which comes as no surprise, but also pre-law. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, his cousin was Judge Nicholas Politan, the federal court judge who was known throughout the circuits as having the snappiest one-liners in the judicial court system. The judge passed away in 2012, but is still fondly remembered. Louis clerked for his cousin and was strongly considering a career in law, when the Judge suggested that the world had plenty of lawyers and that Louis should follow his passion for the arts. That he did.
Louis went to work with the Jesuits in the National Theatre Workshop for the Handicapped, a New York City-based repertory theater company and theater school, which provided training and performing space for writers and performers with disabilities. It was founded in 1977 by Father Rick Curry, S.J., who was born without a right hand and forearm. The company’s goals included training students in communication skills that would help them in professional theater and to enhance their opportunities in the workplace. Louis was interviewed for the job by famed late actor James Gandolfini, who was an active supporter of the group. During his two years with the Workshop, Louis did a variety of jobs, from media photography to grant writing. One of his most memorable experiences occurred when recently disabled veterans came to the Workshop’s facility in Belfast, Maine. The vets did not know one another and during the ten day experience, had to write about the day that they were injured. The stories and bonding that emerged will stay with Mr. Politan for the rest of his life.
Louis, intent on furthering his skills, traveled to Los Angeles and studied under world famous acting coach Julie Ariola. While on the west coast, he landed the plum part of Stanley in Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” performing with the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse in LA.
Back in New York, he performed in “You Can’t Take it With You.” The play originally premiered on Broadway in 1936. Louis played the role of Tony Kirby, made most famous by James Stewart in Frank Capra’s Oscar winning film adaptation of the romantic comedy.
Most recently, Mr. Politan performed to rave reviews in Arje Shaw’s off-Broadway play “Moolah.” The play was directed by Charles Messina, who is also the writer and producer of ‘The Wanderer: Dion DiMucci Story.’ Louis played the role of Sonny, who cuts hair by day and kills people by night, in this intense two man play. A demanding role to say the least, the actor pulled it off to great acclaim, making the troubled sociopathic character at turns frightening, awkward and unbelievable, even witty and charming. While he waits to hear whether “Moolah” will perform regionally or return for additional off-Broadway performances, he continues to cultivate an eight-episode drama/dark comedy series called “Dinner Talk” that he would like to produce for television. Set in a restaurant, it follows the stories of patrons whose lives intersect and then scatter in ways that keep the audience engaged and guessing.
Louis loves the stage and in addition to his acting, he also sings and dances. Look for him in “Moolah’ when the play returns to New York.