‘Dear Evan Hansen’ alum stars in producer Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix series
Q: How do you feel about the responsibility of starring in producer Ryan Murphy’s first series in his much-reported Netflix deal, “The Politician”?
A: The nice thing is that we made quite a family, particularly the younger cast members playing the students (in the first season, which traces central character Payton Hobart’s entry into politics). Whenever I’m sort of captaining a ship of any kind, whether in theater or in film, I try to make the communal aspect of it a real priority. I think that’s where the joy comes from – but certainly, I feel a lot of pressure, given the faith that Ryan has put in me.
Q: How much of the current political scene in America does “The Politician” incorporate?
A: I think Ryan has always been strangely physically ahead of the curve. He’s always thinking one step ahead in terms of the issues he includes in his projects, but more importantly, he was very conscious of making this particular story about a lot of the human things that transcend the very specific world of politics.
Certainly, this discusses things that are relevant today – sexual identity, gun control, women’s health – but I think that ultimately, this is a story that people who have no particular interest in politics can still connect to. (Murphy) very smartly uses politics as sort of the backdrop, rather than it being the meat and potatoes of the show.
Q: Being so used to immediate reactions to your stage work, including “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Book of Mormon,” how has it been for you to wait for months after the filming to see how “The Politician” is received?
A: I think the harder period was the wait between shooting the show and seeing the edit. You have so much control when you’re on the stage, and at the end of the day, the performance is yours …. whereas on camera, it gets curated after the fact, and you have to really trust the creators. But now having seen the episodes and fallen in love with them, it’s pretty much pure excitement for me.