Doorway 27 Rocker Bryan Wohlust Sings Show Tunes in The King and I
Followers of the local music scene will have no trouble recalling the echoes of West Palm Beach's Doorway 27. Embracing an eclectic sound that was alternative, indie, surfer, and mainstream all at once, the band had a far-reaching fan base. Although they have since parted ways, lead singer Bryan Wohlust marches on musically. He currently heads up Luxury of Company, a local supergroup comprised of members from other prominent South Florida bands-- including, but not limited to, Doorway 27, Fire Zuave, Noble Rocket, Luna Rex, El, Marlowe Grey, Nick Eberhardt, and B-Liminal.
Lately, Wohlust also donned a new hat... Or crown, depending on how you look at it. He's performing the lead role of the King in the Lake Worth Playhouse's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic romantic musical, The King and I. Reception has been exceptional so far for Wohlust, who is acting alongside his 5-year-old daughter Madison. She's playing the one of the royal children, which seems appropriate to us.
The play is running for its second week this weekend. Turns out Wohulst is a natural, he hasn't been shy about taking to the stage barefoot, bare-chested, and belting out show tunes. Who knew Wohlust had such a flair for Broadway? Maybe he's caught the acting bug? We talked to him to find out what brought up this change of direction.
Bryan Wohlust: I majored in performing arts in college, but fell into the music scene as my main passion. I had a friend who wanted to audition and said I should go. I haven't done anything acting-wise in five years and thought maybe it was time. I actually went to audition for a smaller role and one of my old directors was there and told me I was going to play the lead role of the King. It was intimidating, but I've definitely embraced the whole process.
How does performing a musical compare to performing your own music?
It's definitely a completely different animal. When I sing with Luxury of Company or Doorway 27, I'm emoting directly at the crowd, wanting them to feel and understand every word and note. With acting, you almost have to forget they're there in order to keep that fourth wall up, but yet convey the story and emotion in a different way.
Any actors who you look up to or try to emulate?
I have a laundry list of favorite actors. Currently, Alexander Skarsgard and Aaron Paul are probably on the top of the new blood list. Going back, I've always looked up to Harrison Ford if not just for the roles he played in the '70s and '80s, but also his personal story is pretty inspiring too.
What was the audience response like, opening weekend?
Fantastic, during and after the shows run last week. And it's been a full house for every one so far. I think the set and costume designers really set the bar for everyone on this thing. When you walk into the theater you get the feeling "you're not in Kansas anymore." Well, "Kansas" being Lake Worth, but you feel me
If this acting thing takes off, would you consider it as a career?
I have always wanted to act as a career but like music, it's hard to take off in South Florida only because the venue option is limited. I'm talking to an agent, so we'll see when we see.
What do you think old school Doorway 27 fans will make of this?
I think Doorway fans will get a kick out of seeing me in a different capacity. I actually had quite a few show up over the weekend and all we're seemingly impressed and had nice things to say.
But, you are still doing music right?
Yeah, the play wraps up on October 21, and then Luxury of Company will be playing for Moonfest on the 27. It's a bit of juggling, but I'm certainly not complaining. I wanted to release the LOC album as an LP but have written some new numbers and want to get them recorded and added on to the album. Time will tell, hopefully, early next year.
Bryan Wohlust in The King and I at the Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. Every Thursday through Sunday until October 21. Sunday matinees and dinner and show packages are available. Tickets cost $27 and up. Call 561-586-6410, or visit lakeworthplayhouse.com.
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