You sit down at the Broadway performance of Rent and learn that the principal actor who plays Roger is out. With some trepidation, you turn the Playbill page until you find the name of the understudy. You breath a sigh of relief because it is Will Chase. You saw him tour as Chris in Miss Saigon, and he gave nothing but a stellar performance. He made Chris his own, and you know the instant Rent begins he will bring the role of Roger to new heights. It is guaranteed. To borrow a phrase from Will's wife, it is called "the X factor". It is that something special that can't quite be described about someone's performance or a performance in general. You see, it is that X factor that applies to Will Chase. If you open up a Playbill and see Will Chase, you can expect a performance that will be captivating, honest and riveting.
Family, relationships, and his art are all important to Will. He embraces the message of Rent - "no day but today". While the past cannot be changed, it does provide the building blocks that made Will the success he is today.
Will grew up in Frankfort, Kentucky and attended Oberlin Conservatory, where he was a percussionist studying to be a conductor. A brush with acting was all it took. He ended up in lead roles in most of the summer stock shows. After he graduated, he went to Chicago with the philosophy that "in acting you have to know that you are worth something". That philosophy was reinforced quickly as he was cast in Miss Saigon as the understudy for the role of Chris. He later took over the lead and recently did again on July 20, replacing Matt Bogart in the Broadway production.
He is quick to recognize the importance of friends, family, and his wife, all of whom have provided an important support structure as he established himself to be the versatile and accomplished actor he is today.
Rent marked Will's Broadway debut. Other credits include Chris in Miss Saigon (Second National Tour), Black Patent Leather Shoes ... (Jeff Award nomination - Best Actor), Mame, Assassins, Electra, Son of Fire (Jeff nomination - Best Actor), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow: A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Trask & Fenn (Jeff nomination - Best Actor).
I met up with Will at a restaurant in New York before a performance of Rent.