The Playbill for the revival of It’s Only a Play, Terrence McNally’s hilarious satire of the New York theater scene, reads like a Who’s Who of the world it’s parodying: Matthew Broderick is the earnest playwright, Nathan Lane is an old pal, Stockard Channing is the diva star, Meghan Mullally is the newbie producer, F. Murray Abraham is the prickly critic, and Rupert Grint is the British import. Among these applause-commanding stars is an unknown actor, Micah Stock, making his Broadway debut as Gus, a struggling, unknown actor hoping to make his own Broadway debut someday soon. It’s all very meta but for 25-year-old Stock, he couldn’t be more delighted of the outcome. “I was a coat check boy once,” he admits. “And it filled me with an incredible amount of tension. It really is a high-stress job.”
While it’s hard to imagine that his first starring role along so many A-list actors is less stressful than taking overcoats, it’s safe to say it’s the most gratifying. Prior to playing Gus, Stock spent the past few years after graduating from SUNY Purchase Conservatory adding regional theater parts and extra work on Law & Order: SVU to his still-growing list of acting credits. Those parts were supplemented by the assortment of “odd jobs” that manage to keep a struggling actor afloat.
It wasn’t until he was cast in McNally’s Off-Broadway debut of And Away We Go that Stock got noticed. “That play provided a showcase for me,” Stock says, explaining that it required him to play six different parts. Plus, McNally and his husband Thomas Kirdahy became fans, as well as Lane.
Micah Stock (left), with Mulally, Grint & Lane | Photo by Joan Marcus
Now, a year later, Stock finds himself stealing scenes from Lane, one of his stage idols. His character not only insists on calling everyone “doll” or “honey,” along with taking a selfie with a group far more rich and famous than he is to many laughs from the audience, but he also getting his moment to shine.
“I like to think of Gus as the triangle in the jazz band, which is important but maybe not the centerpiece,” Stock says. And that triangle moment comes when he starts belting —like a bleating moose — “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, one of the many current productions skewered in the show.
While the fate of Gus is left to the audience's imagination, Stock is filling up his own schedule. In addition to his current role, he’s also workshopping a new play at Ars Nova just a few blocks west. Yet, he even remains reservedly optimistic.
“Who knows, the show may close, and I may very well being doing those jobs again,” Stock says as if channeling the worst possible outcome of McNally’s play within a play. “But hopefully not as much.”
It's Only a Play is currently playing through March 29.