Actor and singer James Maslow, starring in the new “Sherlock Holmes” production opening Tuesday (and running through Nov. 29 at the Oriental Theatre), is thrilled to be back in a stage production for the first time since he was in theater school.
“Just being back on stage is such a lot of fun,” said Maslow in a recent phone conversation, taking a break from rehearsing his role as Dr. James Watson, opposite David Arquette’s portrayal of the title role in this reinterpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic literary characters.
‘SHERLOCK HOLMES’ When: Nov. 24-29 Where: Oriental Theater, 24 W. Randolph Tickets: $21- $87 Info: broadwayinchicago.com
“The first week of rehearsal, when I looked out at all the empty theater seats, I realized I hadn’t had that visualization in 10 years — not since I was in school. Now to be having that experience in a true professional setting, it almost made me giddy,” said the actor.
Without wanting to give away too much of the show, Maslow admitted “diehard Sherlock Holmes fans might not quite understand it, but I think people will get we’re doing our own thing. … Plus I think younger audiences, in particular, will really like it,” added Maslow, noting the reaction the show has received from audiences during earlier stagings in other markets.
When noted that he, at age 25, is likely the youngest actor to portray Dr. Watson professionally, Maslow agreed, but said, “That’s part of what intrigued me about this offer. … I love Sherlock Holmes and am a fan of all the movies, especially the more recent ones with Jude Law as Dr. Watson.
“I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to play one of those characters for the next five or 10 years, but that’s the nice part about the stage. With the theater, we can push the limits a bit,” explained Maslow, who noted his Watson is “fresh out of the military and who hasn’t been a very experienced doctor at this point.
“But I think that works well as a nice counterpoint to David [Arquette’s] Sherlock.”
Asked what he likes best about this new retelling of the “Sherlock Holmes” legend, Maslow quickly said, “The fact that it’s a little bit grittier than what people might expect. … I also like that David and I can do a bit of interjecting — even some ad libbing — which we can do along with the scripted lines.”
Along with this theatrical experience, Maslow has completed one film (“Wild For the Night”) due out early next year, plans to go into production on another movie early in 2016, as well is about to ink a deal for his first solo album.
The actor and singer is perhaps best known for playing James Diamond on Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush,” and being a member of the band of the same name. He also was the last male celebrity contestant/finalist on Season 18 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” an experience Maslow says he cherished.
“It was a real adventure. I mean, who gets into this industry and says, ‘I want to do the same thing over and over again.’ No, that’s not the case. We’re artists. We want to be creative. So when someone comes to you with a totally off-the-wall, different idea, you have to say, ‘Yes!'”
Maslow admitted ballroom dancing challenges muscles, “you never use, unless you’re doing that kind of dancing. It totally transforms your body. You have to retrain your body.
“That’s why you see Olympians and professional athletes on the show who can’t figure out why they can’t pick up the dancing moves right away. It’s something completely different.”