Photos by Walter McBride
Bay Shore alum makes Broadway debut
BAY SHORE—Alumnus Michael Millan (’07) recently made his Broadway debut in “Escape to Margaritaville.” After starting on the Bay Shore stage in third grade, Millan now plays two characters in the ensemble of Jimmy Buffett’s musical at the Marquis Theatre.
The show revolves around a musician named Tully who lives a pretty carefree life on a small Caribbean island, performing at the run-down Margaritaville Hotel. One day, he falls for a visitor named Rachel, who before getting married, is on vacation with her best friend, Tammy.
Millan describes the musical as a “classic love story” that anyone from the “snobbiest theater snobs” to the “least-cultured Broadway haters” could enjoy. “I was lucky enough to have done the first workshop of the show two years ago and I was cast as Goon No. 1 and Jesus,” he added. “Both are really nice features in the show that I was able to really play with.”
Millan described Goon No. 1 as every “lax bro” he went to high school with, whose only concerns are hockey and chicks. “The second character is much more prominent,” he added. “Jesus (pronounced Hay Zeus) is one of the vacationers at the Margaritaville Hotel. He winds up liking it so much that he stays an extra week and eventually opens up his own wedding venue on the island. Throughout the show, the ongoing gag with him is that JD, an elderly patron that lives on the island, keeps calling my character Jesus (pronounced Gee Zus) while searching for his lost shaker of salt.”
When asked about making his Broadway debut, Millan said he feels as though he can put away at least some of the doubts he felt about his career choice. “I’ve spent a long time hustling and trying to get seen and noticed and had a really hard time for a while,” he explained. “What we do as actors can be so hard, and it’s impossible to not question yourself after the millionth door slams in your face, but making my debut has taught me a lot about having faith. Not faith as in a religion, but just faith and belief that you can really honestly do anything you put your mind to. The odds of making your Broadway debut in an original company with a character that you have developed from the beginning are nearly impossible, but clearly it happens. It has taught me how exciting and terrifying and funny life can honestly be sometimes.”
Millan moved to Bay Shore when he was in the first grade. The first time he appeared on stage was as Charlie Brown in the fifth-grade play. After getting some positive feedback, he began doing shows with the Lynn Clark Summertime Players, a summer troupe affiliated with the Bay Shore School District.
“When I moved to Bay Shore, I didn’t have a lot of friends, so my mom enrolled me in dance and would take me to see shows at our high school, and I was so blown away by the idea of getting that much attention that I had to do it,” Millan said. “I’ve had bite marks from ‘the bug’ ever since.”
Millan was very active in all things Bay Shore during high school. He was drum major of the marching band, student council president and homecoming king. His loyalties, however, were always with Bay Shore Drama Club. “They were like my second family,” he said. “I made lifelong friends there that I still talk to today. The drama program really helped shape me in a positive way.”
Besides his early acting days in Bay Shore and his current role on Broadway, Millan also spoke about a show, “Piece of My Heart,” which he was involved in from the inception. There was an Off-Broadway production at the Signature Theater, with Millan as the swing and dance captain of the show. “It was memorable for me because I had been with the show for so long, through so many readings and workshops, and really knew it inside out,” he said, adding that he eventually replaced one of the actors in the last two weeks of the show’s run.
Millan recently moved to the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. “It’s really nice being so close to work,” he said. “And I’m close to Penn Station, so I can go home whenever I want. I try to get there often. Now that we’re finally open and summer is coming, I’m looking forward to getting back to the island much more.”
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