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Dalia M. Cohen
Editor

Gal Yosepov on conquering New York stages

Having a massive success with his first big show
Gal Yosepov (courtesy)
Gal Yosepov (courtesy)

The first time Gal stepped on stage as Baron Tuzenbach, everything changed for him. With only two weeks of preparation and rehearsals, the show opened and the Israeli actor (our very own) nailed the performance! He received praise and applause for his riveting performance as a young soldier who falls deeply in love with one of the Prozorov sisters, even though, given his behaviour, you might think he was looking for something else. Speaking from New York, Yosepov talks about the experience of climbing the ladder of success on the New York stage and what he has learned along the way.

What has stood out to you about the way Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow has been received?

I was not expecting it at all; the amount of love and support it’s received is enormous and it’s amazing. Almost every actor and theatre enthusiast knows and loves the original play (Three Sisters) written by Anton Chekhov, and so when I read this absolutely hilarious adaptation, I knew before even finishing the script, that we got something good in our hands. It’s a version of the story that’s told in modern language, with a slight disturbing and fun twist on how the family sees life in the Russian countryside. It’s a story that can touch so many hearts, and so many different people, and different ages as well.

You’ve been building your career in the US and your name’s been making lots of buzz back home, from Moscow(x6) to playing Einstein. How did your career up until that first big show prepare you for everything that followed?

I’ve done quite a lot of theatre before that, working on Shakespeare plays, on sketch comedy shows and Christmas themed shows that turned out to be quite a success as well, and I’ve done them so often and each time with a different group of people and a different script, different characters, that you get used to the pace and motion of it all, and the collaboration aspect of it all.

Following that, you found yourself playing 25 years old Albert Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. And that show turned to be a hit as well. Tell me about that experience.

 

Getting that role was absolutely surreal! It’s a play written by one of my favorite writers and comedians, Steve Martin, and the material was absolutely (as expected) golden. I did a series of auditions for that role not thinking for one moment that I would actually land the part since I was also working simultaneously on another show. When I was told I got it I was actually scared, rather than excited. It was such a different role nothing like I’ve done before that. It was the first time doing a character that is really based on or inspired by a real person. It was a big responsibility. Of course, I’ve read as much as I could find about him and implemented everything I found right into the performance. But at the same time, because the story was different, it was important for me to do it differently. It was a conversation also with the production team and the director, that we wanted to be inspired by his life, but at the same time, we never wanted to try to imitate him. It was really important to bring a new person to life, an Einstein who lives in the world of Steve Martin.

And the accent?


That was too precious to abandon. That was part of who he was, his roots, his heritage, how they spoke around the house, and thankfully it wasn’t pure German accent, but a mix of that and Yiddish. Which is somewhat close to what an Israeli accent.

If that wasn’t enough, there was another big name show in that mix: 12 Angry Men. All back to back. How did you make that work? and how did it feel to have three hit shows one after the other?

Believe it or not, but I wasn’t particularly familiar with the play when I got the part, and so I treated it as just another role to the resume. Then I did my research, watched the classic film adaptation, and it slowly started sinking in that I booked this once in a lifetime role, and I started getting more and more nervous after I got through role, whereas I’m usually nervous before an audition. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows the story, pretty much every age group since it’s such a cult classic. It felt a bit overwhelming at times juggling all these shows back to back, but they were all such iconic incredible stories to work on, that you can only be grateful to have the opportunity to work on them.

Can you share any upcoming projects or goals you are particularly excited about?


There are projects on the way, yes. Reuniting with previous directors and collaborators on upcoming productions planned out for the year to come. Quite a few Shakespeare plays as well. Can’t really announce anything officially before the theatre company does, but it’s coming soon.

About the Author
Dalia Cohen has worked in magazines such as Newsweek, Fortune and Women's Health in her editorial career. She is actively involved in many NGOs and writes articles on topics such as politics, health and technology. She is also actively working on antisemitism and women's rights.
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