By Byrne Harrison
Confessions Image: Photo by Shirley Miranda-Rodriguez and Design by Somos Arte
Johnathan Cedano recently performed in James Earl Hardy's Confessions of Homo Thug Porn Star at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival. Confessions won the Best Short Play Award at the Festival. He will be reprising his role in the Fire Island production on August 13th.
I caught up with him to find out what it was like working with Hardy, who also directed Confessions, and playing a porn star.
You've been performing for several years with a variety of theatre companies. What has your best experience been so far?
I would have to say that my best experience so far was actually my second acting job in New York City. I was cast in a Doric Wilson play called Street Theater that was actually performed at the Eagle Bar on 28th street. That has been so far the most fun I've had while doing a show.
What is your theatrical background?
I started studying theater very young in the Dominican Republic and appeared in several productions over there. Then after moving over here, I enrolled in several acting schools. Currently I'm going to HB Studios in the Village.
Tell me a little something about Confessions of a Homo Thug Porn Star.
Confessions of a Homo Thug Porn Star is based on actual writing sessions between Tiger Tyson and James Earl Hardy. I believe the idea of a one-man show came up during one of these sessions and they decided to go with it. When you see the show you get the feel Tiger is speaking to an unseen interviewer.
I'll admit I'm more familiar with James Earl Hardy through his novels. What is it like working with him as a playwright/director?
Just like you, I was only familiar with his "B-Boy Blues" books. He gave me a lot of freedom, which was liberating and terrifying at the same time. I feel very honored that he along with Tiger chose me to play this part.
Was it intimidating playing Tiger Tyson?
To be honest with you, there were times I didn't think I was going to pull it off, but as I found common ground between Tiger and myself, I was able to understand him and what he does, and in the process understand myself and what I do. I wanted to meet Tiger before I saw any of his movies. I never seen one before and I was glad about that, because it gave me a chance of meeting the man before I saw the performer. I did meet with Tiger at James' place and spent a few moments with him that day, but after that I dove into interview footage to do the rest of my homework.
Tiger did come to see the show and really liked it. I have to tell you, though, having Tiger Tyson and James Earl Hardy in the audience front and center staring at you and hanging onto your every word was one of the most intimidating/exhilarating experiences I've ever had.
Do you have any words of advice for people who are thinking of a career in theatre?
Never give up. It may not happen right away or it may not happen like you planned, but it'll happen.
What else do you have planned for 2010?
Confessions in Fire Island. Also, there's a one-night-only production of Street Theater on June 18 at the LGBT Center, and I haven't checked but I believe a great musical I did called Peepshow Male (You notice a theme?) might be coming back in September and of course if they ask me back for Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo at BAAD (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance) I'll be doing that as well around the holidays.
Confessions of A Homo Thug Porn Star will be held at the Whyte Hall’s Brandon Fradd Theater in Fire Island Pines on Friday, August 13, 2010. Showtimes are 8:00pm and 10:00pm. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the theater the day of the performance.
For more about Johnathan and his upcoming projects, visit www.johnathancedano.com.