Zachary Levi on Starring in Broadway’s ‘She Loves Me’: “Honestly, the biggest challenge is just my own brain”
“My whole life, all I’ve ever wanted to do was be an actor and an entertainer and make people happy and also feel like I belonged” – Zachary Levi
After Zachary Levi‘s first Broadway show, First Date, closed after just five months, the Chuck star was unsure how his second on stage role in New York would go. However, Levi has received rave reviews for his role in She Loves Me, and has received Drama League, Drama Desk, and Tony Award nominations. In an interview with Playbill, Levi reveals that the entire of run of She Loves Me has been an intimidating experience for him.
Levi confesses that no matter how many performances he does, he still feels “way more insecure than I thought I was” performing on Broadway. He elaborates, “The whole journey’s been super crazy. I’ve gone through points in this where I felt really confident, and I’ve gone through some really heavy moments where I thought, ‘I’m crap in this show.’ Then for this to happen, it really smacks you in the face and says, ‘Listen to your people that love you and that are telling you you’re doing good work.”
However, Levi’s confidence issues didn’t stem from a lack of encouragement — in fact, he admits he has been blessed with copious praise. He says, “My parents were instilling things in me … aunts and uncles, friends, parents of friends. Doing community theatre for so long, you work with so many random people and whether they’re directors or actors or crew, [they all impact] you. All the patrons that came through theatres … would encourage me and would pull me aside and say, ‘This is what you do. Don’t stop doing this.'”
As he said earlier, the insecurity comes from within Levi when he’s confronted with such a talented cast and creative team. He explains, “Honestly, the biggest challenge is just my own brain. You know, when I stepped into this job, I stepped into an all-star team. And, it’s heady, the collective experience and the collective awards-ship—I don’t even know the word—so many Tonys and Tony nominations between everybody in this cast and crew. I mean, literally, [co-star] Nick Barasch is 17, and he has one more Broadway show than I do. So, it’s heady, you know, and I just didn’t want to come in and be the Hollywood guy making a turn onstage. I wanted people to believe that this is where I belong, on that stage, and that’s tough to get out of your own head and think people might not think that, especially when your leading lady is Laura Benanti! … It’s so heady, and so I just really hoped and wanted people to come to the show and like it and appreciate it.”
Of course, he admits that the Tony nomination goes a long way in making him feel better about his performances on stage. He says, “My whole life, all I’ve ever wanted to do was be an actor and an entertainer and make people happy and also feel like I belonged. I feel like [the Tony nomination] definitely helps me believe that a little bit more.”