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Stage Door: Two Hunks

Billy Magnusson as "Rapunzel's Prince"If you're looking forward to Into the Woods, you should familiarize yourself with one of its two Prince Charmings. The Observer has a great profile of rising star Billy Magnusson who is in a new play called "Sex With Strangers" with Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn. We heart him here at TFE from the moment we first noticed him in his eventually Tony nominated role in Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike (reviewed). He played Spike in all his shirtless Sigourney's- boy-toy glory. We'd also seen him as one of the dumbest jocks ever committed to film in Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress but either he hadn't yet perfected his sleight of hand with this 'type' or you had to be paying closer attention.

He was fun on The Leftovers a couple of weeks back, too, as a man who sold artificial look-alike corpses of your vanished loved ones. And if you've tried watching that show you'll know how surprising it is to call anyone "fun" within its creepy miserabilism. Frankly the show could use more gallows humor like it had during his intoxicating appearance.

I love this observation from the Observer profile:

On Screen and Stage Billy Magnusson often plays what I have started referring to as the Billy Magnusson Character: infectiously high energy, slightly drunk, and constantly hitting on an older woman. Oh, and he's got to take his top off. Just rip the thing off. Seriously like right now.

...What makes the Billy Magnussen Character so compelling is that he'll simultaneous play both to and against type.

I recommend that you familiarize yourself right quick with this Billy Magnussen Character. His Twitter and Instagram are fun too with cameos from co-stars of note like Kathy Bates & this one of Meryl Streep at the first sing-through of Into the Woods a year ago this month.

In other stage sex symbol news, how's this for shameless and thoroughly modern self-promotion....?

You almost never hear about actors from stage touring companies but a dancer named Mark MacKillop who played Riff in a recent West Side Story production, is selling a book compiling every photo taken of himself in hotel rooms on the road when he was lonely.

[NSFW photos after the jump...]

The book, available for pre-order is called "Rm XIV". He was not taking that masterpiece musical's advice to play it cool, boy, real cool.  Do you think Russ Tamblyn would approve?

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Reader Comments (12)

I first saw Magnussen in a soap opera -- god, talk about a genre that's dying -- and he played a good-hearted but somewhat dim character who would take off his top a lot. I'm glad it's the latter pattern that has kept going, because that was the only thing that was appealing about the character. Good to know that he had untapped talent, though to be fair, the writing, pacing and general standard of acting in a soap opera these days is so abysmal that it's hard for anyone to prove they have chops.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterF

Billy Magnusson. Will take notice.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

I too first saw Billy as Casey Hughes on As the World Turns and he did suffer from an always welcome shirt allergy. I'd love to say I saw a spark that set him apart like I did years earlier when Nathan Fillion was on One Life to Live or Ray Liotta on Another World but I didn't, he just seemed like a charming, competent very pretty actor. It's great though having seen him starting out watching him move steadily forward, hope he continues doing so well. He hasn't quite arrived though, he's not listed in the credits during the previews for Into the Woods.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Ha, yup, he was on a soap. He was the lovable Casey (best pal of soap's first gay supercouple, Nuke). So happy to see him get the success he's getting. He's off to a great start.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel

That instagram shot with Billy and Meryl is adorable. He's adorable. I'll happily be following his career; squarely in the Team Rapunzel's Prince.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Another fan who first saw him as Casey Hughes on "As the World Turns" -- and, admittedly, I was expecting his occasional co-star Eric Morris, who played Casey's former cellmate, Matt O'Conner, to become bigger, but it hasn't happened (yet). But so happy to see Magnussen's rise, and he is one of the few things about "Into The Woods" that I'm looking forward to.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Nathan Fillion as Joey on One Life To Live--sigh. That story in which he was seduced by Dorian, his mother's same-aged nemesis--classic.

Let us not disparage soaps or soap actors. There is a lot of great talent on these shows. I am still a veritable Howard Beale about the cancellation of All My Children and OLTL. It's a fine tradition of storytelling that is like no other.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Billy Magnussen was the best part of Vanya and has been on some great dramas recently. He was on Boardwalk Empire quickly as the Jimmy Darmady lookalike. He was fun on Leftovers and is good on The Divide. I cannot wait to see him Into the Woods but really Cinderella's prince is the better prince role and one of their duets sadly will be cut but I'm still ecited for how his career is going.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

P.S. Finn Witrock cut his teeth on soaps; he was on All My Children three years ago.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy -- our beloved Julianne Moore also started on soaps.

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

and The Turner.

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Nathan, I didn't watch As the World Turns, but I devoured soap media, and it is clear she played a very popular character. In fact, I think she played twins--two Juliannes! Sounds marvelous!

Peggy, The Turner was on The Doctors, which Retro TV is replaying--very cool.

My beloved Marsha Mason was on Love of Life.

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

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