Josh Segarra is hoopin’ it up on Broadway… And, he could soon be kissin’ the rim all the way to the Tony Awards.
The 25-year-old Puerto Rican American actor/singer is making his Broadway debut in Lysistrata Jones, which opened this week at New York City’s Walter Kerr Theatre after a successful off-Broadway run.
The musical comedy—featuring plenty of hilarity, heart and hoops—is based on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a bawdy play from 411 B.C. about one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War by persuading the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace.
The sweet-voiced Segarra stars as Mick, a dim-witted college basketball player with the soul of a poet whose girlfriend refuses to “put out” until his team ends the school’s 30-year losing streak in the Lysistrata Jones.
“I get to play basketball and be on Broadway in a smart piece of theater that’s like nothing else out there,” Segarra tells Broadway.com about the role that’s allowing him to combine his love of sports and theater. “I could play him as a stereotype, but that’s my biggest fear. I don’t want people to think, ‘What a douchebag!’ I want audiences to say, ‘Aw, what a dufus. That’s funny. I get him and I know that kid.’”
But that isn’t the Longwood, Florida native’s only fear about starring in this sex (or lack thereof) comedy with of-the-moment jokes and lively song and dance numbers. He cringes at the thought of performing a nightly striptease scene set in a brothel.
“It’s terrifying,” says Segarra, who appeared as Hector Ruiz on the reboot of the ‘70s children’s series The Electric Company, laughing about having to strip down to his underwear on stage. “It never gets easy. The whole time I’m thinking, ‘I ate Chinese food last night. Do I look fat today?’ I don’t want anyone to think, ‘Oh, he was much cuter with his shirt on!’”
No matter how he looks shirtless, Segarra’s strong singing voice, agile dance moves and handsome good looks will surely win over audiences.
“I’ve never done regional theater, and I’m getting to make my Broadway debut as a principal, playing a pretty cool part.” he says. “I’m going to be the best I can be.”
So what’s Segarra’s ultimate hoop dream?
“To have a family and be able to get 10 scripts on my desk, pick one, fly out and shoot [a movie] and come back to see my kids,” he says.
But for now, he’s having a ball playin’ ball on Broadway.