Even though he's now a New York City resident, John Campione can't seem to stay away from Texas. The Dallas actor starred in musicals at just about every theater before he left and has already returned to town once in Dallas Theater Center's Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical.
Now he's joining the national touring company of The Bridges of Madison County as Michael, the son of lonely housewife Francesca. Campione takes on the role in Houston at the Hobby Center Tuesday (January 26) through its run on Sunday, then continues to Dallas and other stops on the national tour.
As he preps to make his grand entrance, Campione took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.
Name: John Campione
Role in The Bridges of Madison County: Michael (Bud and Francesca's son)
Hometown: Mesquite, Texas
Where you currently reside: NYC. Washington Heights to be specific.
First theater role: Motel the tailor in Fiddler on the Roof, sporting the most awful, fake, glued-on red beard you ever saw (important note: I am most definitely not a redhead).
First stage show you ever saw: The first show I recall was a junior college production of Camelot, and I remember thinking, "Well, that looks fun, maybe I'll try it."
Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: I had a recital to give at the end of my classical music degree in voice, and the pieces that seemed to resonate the most, both with me as well as with my audience, were the two theater selections. Something clicked in my head that opera was never going to be my strongest suit, and it was then I started to realize my passion for theater, acting, and digging into a character.
Most challenging role you’ve played: Valentin in Kiss of the Spiderwoman. It was equally challenging dramatically and vocally, and sort of marks a turning point for me in terms of how I look at prep and character development. I learned a lot from that experience and would really love a crack at that role again in a few years.
Special skills: I play guitar, piano, and a couple others with varying levels of skill. I like to write and arrange music from time to time, and I love anything physical (i.e., obstacle course racing, cycling, climbing, archery, and I just tried trapeze for the first time a few days ago and LOVED it!).
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Keeping a straight face. Sometimes in the worst of situations.
Current pop culture obsession: All these FANTASTIC Marvel films! And in theater, the new Hamilton musical.
Last book you read: The Bridges of Madison County in prep for this tour. Currently reading Ron Chernow's fascinating, massive, and incredibly well researched biography of Alexander Hamilton (which inspired the show).
Favorite movie(s): I'm so terrible at picking favorites. Favorite film I've seen most recently was Spotlight (Oscar nom this year).
Favorite musician(s): Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz, Brad Paisley, and Journey, just to name a few.
Favorite song: "Back in Black," "Let It Be," "She's Got a Way," "Soldier" by Gavin DeGraw.
Dream role: Guy in Once, Tom Joad, John Wilkes Booth in Assassins.
Favorite play(s): A recent favorite read was Night Watch by Lucille Fletcher.
Favorite musical(s): Company and Hello Dolly!
Favorite actors/actresses: Oh these impossible choices ... Steve Carell, Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender.
Favorite food: Tex-Mex.
Must-see TV show(s): American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother.
Something most people don’t know about you: All 10 of my fingers are double jointed and I'm always happy to provide a demonstration.
Place in the world you’d most like to visit: Italy.
Pre-show warm-up: Various stretches from head to toe, quiet reading, and some pacing and emotional prep.
Favorite part about your current role: The way he kind of whips onstage, says his bit, and gets out of there (very much like a typical 16-year-old).
Most challenging part about your current project: With a longterm project like this one, I think the biggest challenge is always maintaining the quality and spontaneity of the work from start to finish, as well as staying healthy and consistent.
Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I can't think of anything I've been embarrassed by ON stage. It's live theater: Things happen, actors adapt, and I think that's what makes it so great. My most embarrassing moment is when I have missed an entrance because of a lack of focus. There is no excuse for it and you only have yourself to blame for letting your colleagues down. It's also not something I ever look back and laugh about; it always bugs me.
Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: Stunt driver.
Most memorable theater moment: I consider myself lucky that there have been too many to count in the last few years, but the first that comes to mind is performing "Don't Rain on My Parade," as part of Broadway Our Way at Uptown Players. Singing that song and the audience response was as thrilling and empowering as any single moment I have ever experienced onstage.