Alum goes to Hollywood!

Pat Tanzillo, Class of 1981, has made the stage his home. Although he’s been featured in both television (All My Children, General Hospital, ER, Knots Landing, Alice) and motion pictures (Jagged Edge, The Warriors, Damien: Omen 2) nothing, according to Pat, beats the stage. “Every night is different. Every performance is different. You learn to listen as an actor because something could change in a second. Al Pacino calls doing a play ‘Life on the Wire.’”

After spending two summers during high school studying acting at the Goodman Theatre downtown, Pat moved to Los Angeles to take his chances. “I really learned how show business works. You hear, ‘You’re too tall’ or ‘You’re too short’ and while you don’t get the part more often than you do, I learned early on that studying your craft and being ready is the most important thing.” After working in small parts on the stage, Pat started his own theatre production company, ROJO, named after his children Rosalie and Joey. “I would read plays all the time, find one I liked, hire a director and work with actors I knew from class or met somewhere. Los Angeles is now a theatre town and as an actor it’s the best training you can ask for as far as working on your voice, emotions and communication with people.”

Pat has had many successful reviews for numerous plays, most notably by the L.A. Weekly, for portraying an FBI agent in the play, “The Deal,” for which he was nominated as Best Actor. Pat often refers to the words of Broadway director Arvin Brown in describing his love for the theatre: “I love the theatre because it’s a contact sport: Actor to Actor, Actor to Audience, and best of all Audience to Actor. What other medium in our passive society asks you to reach out at least part-way for your entertainment? The Actor may not come to you unless he knows you want him; the relationship is short, intense, and if you’re both lucky, might reveal just a corner of the human soul.”

Pat learned early on that acting on the stage is a “very tough business with a lot of ups and downs” but that “the satisfaction you receive after a great show is a RUSH and that type of feeling doesn’t come from any other medium, like movies or television. It’s electric!”

Between stage gigs, however, Pat is not opposed to doing television or movies. The last we heard, Pat was called by a casting director for a new movie being directed by Clint Eastwood. Good luck, Pat!