My chat with Garrett Clayton about his hilarious performance in “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Clueless”
Garrett Clayton steals the show In The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Clueless which opened last weekend at the Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Feliz.
The young actor gained fame as the star of on Disney’s Teen Beach movie and its sequel and has gone on to have a recurring role on The Fosters, was in NBC’s Hairspray Live! and portrayed gay porn star Brent Corrigan in King Cobra, an independent drama that also starred James Franco and Christian Slater.
But no matter how busy he’s gotten with screen roles, Garrett has consistently returned to the stage.
Last year at Rockwell he played a student who may or may not be gay in The Last Breakfast Club, a brilliant musical parody so successful there’s talk of it being made into a film. (See my previous interview with Garrett about that production HERE).
In the Clueless parody, Garrett has dual roles. One is as a sweet stoner high school student named Travis and the other is Christian, an increasingly openly gay student who dates the female lead before accepting his true self.
Garrett, 27, goes all out as Christian as he shakes his booty, dances with a male audience member and at one point even tosses glitter into the air.
I chatted with Garrett after his opening night performance last weekend. Here is our conversation:
Q. I know you play two roles but it’s Christian who is a real blast in this show.
A. “It’s great. They let me run wild with it. Truly.”
Q. You really had the audience in the palm of your hand when you were in full flight as Christian. How did that feel as an actor to be getting that kind of response? When you go out on a limb like that sometimes it works, sometimes it might not.
A. “In this I do the stoner stereotype and I guess I do the fictional gay stereotype. It’s kind of making light of those things because everything’s always so serious. That’s what I love about the Rockwell. They just take these things and run with it. Fuck societal norms – excuse my language – let’s just have fun, be wacky. I get to throw glitter and I get to roll a joint on stage . It’s just all really fun.
Q. Did you have so much fun with your last show at Rockwell, The Breakfast Club parody, that you felt like you just had to come back?
A. I had done another show, Cruel Intentions, years ago here, before Breakfast Club. I even try and get a lot of my actor friends to do shows here as well because it feels like a playground. There’s no wrong answer in the room. It just feels like it’s a community and everyone’s here to have fun. It’s free of judgement, no bullshit. I just love it.
Q. You were also in Hairspray on NBC. You’re obviously very good at musicals.
A. I’ve done a lot of musical theater since I was 15. I enjoy the element of being live onstage and getting that energy from an audience. I love the energy they throw back at you. Like tonight the audience was rooting for Christian and it was fun. In the movie they glazed over Christian being gay and here it was just let him be what he wants to be. To play a character who has that kind of confidence is really fun.
Q. Didn’t Jonathan Bennett play that role in the movie?
A. You’re thinking of Mean Girls. We’re going to Google it right now (gets on phone). He’s Justin Walker.
Q. In the show, you pull a guy up onto the stage to dance with you and it’s Christian coming out to everyone. He was so perfect. Was that guy a plant or really an audience member?
A. Every night it’s a different audience member and the first two people I picked said no tonight. They were too nervous to get up. That’s why I yelled at the audience: “Would somebody dance with me?” There was terror in my eyes. If I can’t get someone up on stage then I’m fucked! (laughs). Sometimes you get people who won’t move but tonight the guy was just living with me and it was so much fun.
Q. There’s so much to do in LA from the Hollywood Bowl to movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Why should people come to the Rockwell to see this particular show?
A. Here it is more intimate and more interactive. I’m dancing with audience members. It’s community-based theater. It’s satire and we get to make fun and make light of a lot of serious topics.
Q. You’re always busy in movies or TV or on the stage. Loved you last year in God Looked Away with Al Pacino at Pasadena Playhouse. What’s next for you?
A. I just finished a movie called Peel starring Emile Hirsch – I got a pretty great role in that. I did a Nicolas Cage movie before that’s also being sold then another movie called Reach that’s about Teen Suicide.
But I just love being on stage and I’ll always do it.
The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Clueless runs at Rockwell Table and Stage through September 1. Click HERE for more information.