IN THE SPIRIT OF SHOW BUSINESS - KEVIN SPIRTAS
By Esther Lynn
St. Louis native, Kevin Blair Spirtas began his career as a song and dance man on stage at Six Flags over Mid-America in 1980. The show's finale, "One Step," made teenage Kevin a star in his hometown. When he was 18, he headed to New York, where he was cast in A Chorus Line. It was touring around the country with Chorus Line that took Kevin to Los Angeles. Once he realized there was such an opportunity in TV and film, that was it. Lots has happened for Kevin since those days. In fact, "Days" was one of the many things that happened since moving to California.
If the face or the name is familiar, chances are you watch daytime television dramas or B-type cult horror movies. Kevin Spirtas is probably best known and recognized for his recurring role on the soap Days of Our Lives. In the summer of 1997, he was cast as Salem's resident bad boy doctor, Craig Wesley. He has performed on the daytime drama, on and off, for seven-and-a-half years. Since Dr. Wesley has not met an untimely end, it is possible that Spirtas may turn up in Salem again.
Prior to joining DOOL, Kevin starred as Hollywood agent Tim Burke in the syndicated mini-soap opera, "Valley of the Dolls," based on Jacqueline Susann's best-selling novel. He also appeared as Tom Gallagher in the late-night series, "Rituals." On television, he has had guest starring roles in shows such as Facts of Life, Married With Children, Silk Stalkings, Quantum Leap, Pamela Anderson's V.I.P., and Friends. In addition, he was cast in Showtime's "Dark Love" and the television movie "A Match Made in Heaven" (opposite Olympia Dukakis).
Then there's his film career. Maybe you saw him - sometimes billed as Kevin Blair, Kein Spirtas and, at other times, as Kevin Spirtas (he has been using the name Kevin Spirtas exclusively since 1995) - in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (yes, there really were more than a dozen "Parts" in that film series), The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Bloodstone: Subspecies II-III-IV or Horror High (do we see a theme going on here?). Stephen King's Apt Pupil, with Sir Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro, and Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and Colin Farrell, are also on Kevin's resume.
Although he was an integral part of the award-winning Broadway hit, The Boy From Oz, the good news/bad news is that as the star's standby, Spirtas never once had the chance to fill in for the amazingly healthy Hugh Jackman. During the almost one year run of the musical, Hugh, portraying flamboyant Australian singer/songwriter Peter Allen, never missed a performance. On the road to OZ, Kevin also understudied for Gregg Connell in his role as Jarrod Emick, and covered roles for four other actors. He actually did perform in the musical, but not in a principal capacity.
In 1996 Spirtas received the Dramalogue Critics Award for his portrayal of Nick Brenner in Chuck Ranberg's critically acclaimed comedy "End of the World Party" at the Los Angeles Celebration Theater. On Broadway, Spirtas portrayed the roles of Mike Costa in "A Chorus Line" and Warren Sheffield in "Meet Me in St. Louis."
Over the past eight months, Kevin has spent quite a bit of time in Las Vegas. Rehearsals for Hairspray, in which Kevin played the role of Corny Collins with Tony-winners Harvey Fierstein and Dick Latessa, began in late December of 2005. The show opened at the Luxor on February 15 and, unfortunately, closed on June 11. In July, Kevin performed with an ensemble cast in two sold-out performances of Broadway Curtain Calls at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Apparently the talented entertainer, who currently makes his home in Los Angeles, hasn?t had enough of our fair city, and we haven?t had near enough of him. As a result, Kevin will be back in September (with John Boswell on piano), and again in April of 2007, to perform his well-reviewed one-man show, Night and Days.
In Night and Days, Kevin croons ballads and sings and dances his way through some standards, including, not surprisingly, Cole Porter's Night and Day. As a young man in New York, Spirtas was cast as a replacement in the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. This leads him into his lively and feel-good rendition of that musical's "I Can Do That," and in this one-man tour de force, he proves that he can. Also covered are some more favorites from the movies and Broadway, including I?ve Never Been In Love Before from "Guys and Dolls," Somewhere from "West Side Story," If Ever I Would Leave You from "Camelot," Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera, There is Nothing Like a Dame from South Pacific, The Rain In Spain from My Fair Lady and in a tribute to the late Jerry Orbach, All I Care About Is Love from "Chicago." In this presentation, Spirtas finally gets to perform some numbers from The Boy From Oz, among them Everything Old Is New Again, Love Don?t Need a Reason, Once Before I Go and I Go to Rio.
In one segment of this revue, Spirtas earns points and laughs by mocking both his roles in slasher sequels and his DOOL television character, a doctor with a ridiculously complicated personal life. This is cleverly done with special lyrics set to a melody "borrowed" from Les Mis for a song called Les Days (of Our Lives). You don?t have to be a soap fan to enjoy this number, written for Kevin by the talented Kirby Tepper. It's a hoot!
One critic wrote of Spirtas' act, "Here's a guy who's big on charm and cheer...(with a voice that's) bright and clear and he can belt and croon. Kevin is very much an entertainer who sounds super-happy to be performing and sharing his chattery patter about his career path. He's especially upbeat and down to earth in a show bizzy kind of way."
If you see this show and love it, lucky you. A Night and Days CD is now available and a DVD will be available this summer.
Kevin Spirtas in Night and Days
2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. In Sun City Summerlin
Wednesday, September 20 7pm
$13 for Sun City residents, $15 for non-residents
Call (702) 240-1301
Tickets are available only at theater box office
Charleston Heights Arts Center
800 S. Brush Street
Sunday, April 29, 2007 3 pm
$10 in advance, $15 at the door (On sale after Sept. 5)
(Chances are tickets will be Sold Out weeks before the show, so don?t delay)
To purchase tickets, call (702) 229-6383