Zachary Levi on His Broadway Return in ‘She Loves Me’

Zachary Levi in 'She Loves Me' on Broadway

“As much as I’d like to feel like I can compete with the Brad Pitts of the world, that’s like Adonis-y, leading-man stuff and I’m just a little goofier than that” – Zachary Levi

Chuck star Zachary Levi previously made his Broadway debut in the short-lived musical First Date in 2013. However, the revival of the musical She Loves Me, which opened last week and stars Levi, has received much better reviews that Levi’s first foray on Broadway, might be the actor’s first chance to really grab Broadway stardom. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Levi spoke about his Broadway return and what he likes best about acting on stage.

Levi points out that the worlds of television and Broadway aren’t all that far apart. He jokes, “I knew that people who win Tony Awards have a hard time getting arrested in Hollywood, but if you could get on some schmucko sitcom in L.A., Broadway comes a-knocking, saying, ‘Hey, come and be in our show.'” However, Levi later adds that he doesn’t want people to view him as a television actor who is crashing Broadway, remarking, “I don’t want people walking away going, ‘You know, for a Hollywood guy, not bad.’ I would hope that people walk away going, ‘I didn’t even think about it.'”

She Loves Me  is based on the 1927 play Parfumerie by Miklós László, which was previously adapted as non-musical films starring James Stewart (1940’s The Shop Around the Corner) and Tom Hanks (1998’s You Got Mail). Levi calls both actors “major influences,” explaining, “I’ve always kind of found myself fitting into the Everyman role. As much as I’d like to feel like I can compete with the Brad Pitts of the world, that’s like Adonis-y, leading-man stuff and I’m just a little goofier than that, I guess.”

Despite spending much of his career away from the stage, Levi says he’s also felt comfortable with acting for theater. He says, “I joke that half of my acting influences are cartoons… If you’re a spazzy kid who likes to crack wise and sing and dance around like an idiot, that’s your home.” In fact, Levi nearly made his Broadway debut in 2007 in Young Frankenstein despite what he calls a “C-plus” audition. He recalls, “I start stomping my foot in time to the music so they can’t see me shaking.” However, though he was hired he left the musical when Chuck was picked up. Curiously, Levi landed the role in She Loves Me after How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor backed out.

Levi is happy to return to Broadway, and he sees it as another piece of a career that has included TV, film, animation, and theater. He says, “There are so many things I still want to do. I feel like I’ve been really, really blessed that I’ve been able to check off so many boxes and maybe that will be my legacy … to do a little bit of everything.”

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