The buzziest new show on Broadway is Dear Evan Hansen, and DAYS alum Kevin Spirtas is one of its producers. This isn’t the first time the actor has taken a behind-the-scenes theater role, but he admits he was getting a little disenchanted with the business side of the business before the opportunity came along. “I have to do so much work to get people to come up to the table and offer the money to produce shows,” he explains. “They’re investing in my vision of the show, because that’s what a ‘money wrangler’ does. I would not necessarily ever get paid back for my time and energy, because the shows would close or they didn’t run long enough. I love theater, but I got to the point that I just didn’t want to produce it.”
A chance meeting with fellow St. Louis native Justin Paul, who, along with Benj Pasek, wrote the music and lyrics for Dear Evan Hansen, recharged his batteries, and then some. “They are this great duo and they had been really going at it,” Spirtas recalls. “I had heard about the story and I ran into Justin and he said, ‘Oh, my God: Stacey Mindich [Tony award-winning producer] just optioned it, we’re going to go to Arena Stage [in Washington, D.C.]!’ I said, ‘That’s really exciting!’ And he told me the story, and I said, ‘Let me know when you come to Broadway. That’ll pull me back.’ It’s the meaning of the show and the heart of the show, the wounded in all of us … it is just unbelievable. And the cast is extraordinary. And that’s sort of when I went, ‘Okay.’ So [fellow producers] Barbara Marks, Alan Marks, Scott Mauro and I pulled a team together called On Your Marks Group, and we are a four-partner entity and the show is now on Broadway.”
Spirtas is also working on a new series of his own called AFTER FOREVER that he pitched to former DAYS writer Michael Slade after running into the scribe at the gym. “I look at the canvas of what is out there in the world of performing and acting and presentation and storytelling and I don’t really see me up there; I don’t really see a lot of characters that I can easily step into,” Spirtas explains. So, the actor created a show that follows the life of a 50something gay man named Brian who has to rebuild his life after his husband has passed away. “We did a reading of it in March and more of the straight community said, ‘It’s not a gay story, it’s about loss,’ which is what I set out to do,” Spirtas relays. “It’s a really good series, and we’re doing eight episodes and we start filming in April 2017. Jennifer Pepperman [former executive producer of the ONE LIFE TO LIVE reboot] is the director. Mitchell Anderson [ex-Ross, PARTY OF FIVE] is involved. He is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Michael Urie [ex-Marc, UGLY BETTY] has come on board. So I’ll either make an extraordinary piece of art, or I’ll end up in the loony bin.”
Though the actor describes himself as “more bicoastal than I’ve ever been,” he has also traveled the globe doing his one-man song and dance show aboard cruise ships. “It’s really such a gift, and what’s extraordinary is that I am getting to see the world and I’m loving it,” he enthuses. “I travel to Australia and Sydney and China and Tokyo and Iceland, and it’s really amazing. I just have fun, and it’s a good way to kind of go away and get clarity. I love to sing. For me, it’s the most healing.”
He would also love to make a return trip to Salem. “The fans are great,” he smiles. “They tell me they miss me, and Chloe and Nancy are back, and I tell them I would like to come back if they want to have me back.”
Especially now that he’s once again living in Los Angeles. “I’m in a place where I’m surrounded by the sunshine, the space and the city and the people that I’m working with and am getting to know through the work,” he says. “I just kind of feel like I cracked open again. You have these high moments where an agent calls and says, ‘We have an audition for you, you’ve got to fly out to New York,’ and I hang up the phone and I go, ‘That one’s not going to work for me,’ or, ‘That one will work for me.’ When the agent calls and says, ‘It’s your role,’ you are flying! And I forgot that in New York, I just felt claustrophobic. I feel there is a great breadth of life happening out here, and it’s really my home. Now I’m back.”
To make a donation to fund AFTER FOREVER, go to www.thenewhollywood.org.
Spirtas worked on the Lifetime movie BACKSTABBED with Brittany Underwood (ex-Langston, OLTL) and Josie Davis (ex-Grace, Y&R), in which he played an unsavory character, to say the least. “We had a lot of fun,” he recalls. “Brittany and I have a mutual friend, Jason Tam [ex-Markko, OLTL]. Jason said, ‘Oh, my God, Kevin is the nicest guy in the world, you’re going to love him.’ So, Brittany is sitting there and I finished one of my scenes with her and Josie and I said, ‘Why are you laughing?’ She goes, ‘You are so oily and you are such a snake in this and Jason said you were the nicest guy and I just don’t really see how that’s happening.’ She’s so cute.”
Did You Know:
• His first soap role was on the prime-time soap RITUALS, the brainchild of DAYS’s Executive Producer Ken Corday that also starred Mary Beth Evans (Kayla, DAYS), Kin Shriner (Scott, GH) and Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, GH).
• Sharon Case (Sharon, Y&R) was his love interest in VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.
• Early in his career, he dropped the Spirtas off of his full name and went by Kevin Blair.
Just The Facts:
Birthday: July 29
Hails From: St. Louis, MO
On The List: Spirtas was nominated as Outstanding Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series in 2016 for his work as Dominic in WINTERTHORNE.
Greetings From Salem: “Patrika [Darbo, Nancy, DAYS] is still a dear, dear friend. We don’t talk all the time, but we just pick right back up from where we left off.”
Up Next: Spirtas will be working on “a psychological thriller film that a friend of mine wrote. It’s a funny, great role and of course, I will get killed in the middle of one of the speeches that I make, but it’s so perfect.”