Conrad Ricamora has starred on a hit TV show, in a Lincoln Center revival of The King and I and in Here Lies Love, Fatboy Slim and The Talking Heads’ David Byrne’s “poperetta” musical – in which the audience takes part – that played at New York’s Public Theater. (That’s where Hamilton played before moving to Broadway.)
The Santa Maria, California native now divides his time between New York and L.A. But he got his start here in Charlotte as a student at Queens University and – as you’ll read – at an open mic night at The Evening Muse.
You can listen to his gorgeous, new iTunes single, All of Me. You can also get to know his innermost thoughts – on important topics such as mayonnaise preference – by reading our insightful Q&A with the star here.
5 Ridiculous Questions with Conrad Ricamora
1. You studied at Queens University of Charlotte. We’d love to hear about it one day. But for now, what were your favorite watering holes when you were in undergrad? And did you sing in any?
I remember going to The Evening Muse and listening to all of the great bands that would play there. I had only just started singing and playing piano when I got to Queens and The Evening Muse had an open mic night. I remember going by myself and playing one song and then leaving immediately because I was terrified! Also, I came out in undergrad and spent many a night dancing the night away at Scorpios.
2. Many people know you as Oliver Hampton from ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. If you were to murder someone, how would you do it and not get caught?
Oh my God! I could never! But if I did, it would probably involve my Vitamix blender.
3. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is considered by many (including me) to be a modern classic. And you were in it! Did the cast and crew believe that all Southerners talk and think like Ricky Bobby? Did you introduce anyone to grits?
No. Adam McKay and Will Ferrell loved shooting in and around Charlotte and were just the most down-to-earth guys. Will and his family really loved the area. And no, I would never introduce anyone to grits because I hate them. Fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits, on the other hand – absolutely.
4. Mayo on sandwiches: Yes or no? (If “yes,” which brand?)
5. What’s your dream role?
I really want to do an Oscar Wilde play and [play] Tom in Glass Menagerie. I’m also a sucker for romantic comedies. I think Mindy Kaling is the new Nora Ephron, so anything written by her. [And anything by] Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
6. I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10. What number?
[That is close, but incorrect.]
Okay … we can’t be totally ridiculous. I’m too big a fan. Here are a few non-ridiculous questions.
7a. You played Ninoy Aquino in the 2013 Off-Broadway musical Here Lies Love, which 1) I adored, 2) had two runs at The Public Theater and 3) you won a Theater World Award and were nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. Supposedly, it’s the story of Imelda Marcos, but your character is the hero. What do you want people to know about Ninoy?
I want people to know that he knowingly gave his life for the freedom of his people. He knew he would be assassinated if he returned to the Philippines, but he did it anyway because he knew that Imelda Marcos would not give up her dictatorship if he stayed in America. There are heroes all over the world that have died for freedom and democracy, and he’s one that gets forgotten.
7b. What did you do to prepare for the role?
I read his letters that he wrote in prison and watched footage of him on a loop. And I stretched and worked out a lot! That show was so physically demanding.
7c. What’s your favorite song from the show? (Mine is When She Walked By.)
I really love Walk Like a Woman.
8. Back to ridiculous. What superstitious ritual did you have backstage each night?
I can’t tell you! I think that takes away some of the powers of the weird rituals I have if they are no longer private. But just know they are very grounding and centering for me.
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