Actor Taye Diggs Shows Off His Acting Chops in Our Promos & Talks About His Theater Roles
Just ahead of the 2017 Tony Awards, we chatted with star of stage and screen, possessor of an infectious grin and undeniable charm, Taye Diggs to discuss the year in theater, his own past performances and what he’s working on now.
Taye also took the time to ham it up in front of our cameras. Catch his act in action.
What was your favorite theater production you saw this year?
Hamilton. It reminds me of RENT, something that’s changing theater. It has changed theater—and I’m really excited for what’s going to happen after Hamilton.
What are the standout performances?
I was very impressed with the Chicago cast of Hamilton. Wayne Brady murdered it.
What attracted you to the roles of Benjamin Coffin III, Billy Flynn, Fiyero and Hedwig?
The shows themselves. RENT I did because I had no idea what the project was, and I just wanted to do more theater. I had no idea what I was in for. Yeah, that was RENT [laughs], and I just took the character that they gave me. Billy Flynn in Chicago—that’s, like, a historical piece. I had never played it before, and it was another Broadway credit of a long-lasting show that is a part of the fiber of Broadway. Fiyero … Wicked was just in a world of its own. I think it’s a brilliant show. My baby’s mama [Idina Menzel] was in it, and I thought it would be cool to work with her.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is in a complete separate category unto itself. Hedwig was a life changing moment. I was just—in my personal life—at a kind of a low and looking for something to shift my energy, and then this role came and opened my eyes to a completely different way of working. I embraced all of my fears and truly submerged myself into this role, and I completely gave over to the spirit of acting—the forces—when I was in that role. It was all character and not me, which is something that I’ve never felt would happen, but it completely altered my outlook on acting and theater and just the arts in general. I’m very thankful for Hedwig.
How do you prepare for a theater role?
It depends on the role. If it’s theater, it has to do with my health and my body and my physical endurance. There usually isn’t as much to do as far as character work. That usually is in the writing or the blocking or the music. But for theater, you know, one of the major differences, as opposed to film, is that you can get away with not being in shape in TV and film, but in theater, you cannot. You have to be at a certain pitch physically. So that’s my prep for theater—making sure I can have my endurance, making sure the voice is in good shape.
What are you currently working on?
I’m on Empire now. I just did a pilot—I don’t know if that’s gonna get picked up—and I’m doing a couple of indie films and developing stuff for myself and my people.