I definitely respect when the child of someone famous in entertainment uses a different name in order to avoid any expectations (good or bad) audiences might have of your work. But it’s a bit more difficult to get away with it these days when anyone can Google your name. Then again, when you do a lengthy interview with the New York Post about your stage name, well, it’s not like you’re trying to hide your famous pedigree all that much, right?
That’s the case for Sawyer Avery, who is the youngest son of directing icon Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, who is making his off-Broadway debut in Belgrade Trilogy at the 4th Street Theatre. As for why he dropped his last name for his performing name, he explains, “It was a very conscious decision. I wanted to tell my own story and have my own little journey and my own little adventure. Sometimes the last name can be a little bit distracting…”
Of course, Avery has no desire to completely distance himself from his famous father and mother. He points out, “No matter if I’m Sawyer Avery or Joe Schmidt or whatever my name is, my dad will always be a big part of my life… It is a big name and there will be a lot of noise around it. But as long as I stay focused, I can handle it.” Thankfully, they’ve always been supportive of his pursuits, and he adds, “They’ve always been very open to all my decisions, all my choices and I’m very thankful. It’s been a gift.”
Avery also has had more challenges than just overcoming the association with his father. He reveals, “I grew up with dyslexia. So when it comes to reading plays and analyzing plays, it’s always a little harder for me sometimes, so I feel accomplished when I analyze a play in a good way.” Acting has also added much to his life, and Avery praises what he’s learned from it, saying, “Acting teaches you how to be human because you learn how to talk, you learn how to walk, you learn how to communicate and so it’s just been a great thing for me to do to, you know, ground myself.”