A Bella Vista actor stars as an assistant in a Leslye Headland play, which is set to be the basis of an NBC sitcom.
As an actor, Kevin Meehan enjoys taking on characters with aspects unknown to him.
“I kind of like to see what’s different about it, what makes it different from what I’ve done before,” Meehan, of Sixth and South streets, said of what he looks for in a role. “I also like to see what’s different about what makes this person different from me.”
In his latest gig, he plays Nick in “Assistance” — the second in playwright Leslye Headland’s Seven Deadly Sins series that covers the themes of envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth and wrath, with pride supposedly in the works — through Feb. 3 at the Wilma Theater.
While he wasn’t originally impressed with the script, he changed his mind during his audition.
“I thought the play was much better when I heard it aloud, which is how it should be,” he said. “Shakespeare is not meant to be read, not to say this is Shakespeare, but it’s not meant to be read. It’s meant to be heard.”
His character is one of six assistants, who also include Jake Blouch, of 12th and Moore streets, and Michael Doherty, of 12th and Wharton streets, working for a demanding Manhattan boss, who is believed to be based loosely on Miramax Films co-founder Harvey Weinstein, a previous supervisor of the author.
“He’s a millennial,” Meehan said of Nick. “He’s a quintessential millennial in a failing job market. I think that says it best actually.”
Following, “Bachelorette,” the first in the seven-part series that also was released as a movie starring Kristen Dunst in September, this play, which is set to be a Will Ferrell-produced NBC comedy, portrays greed, but not the green kind.
“It’s not about money. It’s about the job. It’s the greed one has for themselves in a way,” Meehan said. “I didn’t read ‘Bachelorette’ or see it. That one is about gluttony, and I think it centers around anorexity, eating disorders. It’s really pertinent to now.”
The show, which premiered at Los Angeles’ IAMA Theatre Co. in 2008, is geared toward 20-somethings struggling toward career goals, but is educational for baby boomers as well.
“I think it’s important for them,” the 28-year-old said of the older generations. “I think it’s maybe more important. I think it’s more relatable for people in my demographic or age group. I think it’s more revealing for a older generation of something they don’t understand.”
The Northeast Philly native answered his first casting call as a student at Father Judge High School.
“I started on the technical side of things, and a friend had kind of pressured me into one of the plays for high school. And I just got kind of bit from the bug as they say,” Meehan said.
That was his sophomore year at the boys’ Catholic school, when he was an extra in a show at Nazareth Academy, a nearby girls’ Catholic school. He continued to participate in stage crew while performing onstage. He was the Tin Man in a Nazareth production of “The Wizard of Oz” and then his mother’s favorite, Fagin in “Oliver!” at his school.
“She raves about it still,” Meehan said.
When it came time for college, Meehan was not sure what he wanted to do.
“I was lucky to pursue something I really enjoyed as opposed to something I just excelled at,” he said of his time at Adelphi University in Long Island, N.Y.
After graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s in theater, he toured with the Boston-based Chamber Theatre Productions, for which he performed children’s short stories, and then had a residency at Media’s Hedgerow Theatre before returning to his hometown and landing in Fishtown in May ’08.
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