There are few actors who come along and completely obliterate the original meaning of the word, talent but when they do we are always blown away by their abilities to convince us that they truly are the character they are playing. One such actor who has redefined what it means to be talented is Timothy Omundson, star of the new ABC musical, Galavant.
Fans might recognize Omundson from his roles on Psych or Supernatural where he showed off his talent for acting but many fans didn’t know that Omundson also has an extreme talent for singing. The original musical, Galavant, has allowed Omundson to show off his other talents and has also becoming one of the most entertaining shows on television.
We spoke with Omundson about playing would-be villain, King Richard in the hit musical comedy and it was one of our favorite interviews to date.
BECCA ROSE: What can you tell our readers about what they can expect from the next few episodes of Galavant?
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: It’s hard to say because it gets even better. As great as those first two episodes were I am just so tickled by what we do in the next six episodes and where these characters go really surprises all of us. There is no way people are going to predict what happens with these characters. (King) Richard is very, very broad as you saw in the first two episodes but we pay for that broadness with a surprising amount of heart and that really comes through in the rest of the series. I hope people keep watching if they’ve already seen it because I think they are just going to love it even more.
BR: It was hilarious. I knew it was going to be funny but I wasn’t expecting to laugh that much. I really enjoyed it.
TO: That is great. We worked very hard to be funny.
BR: With musicals when you have to act and sing it seems like a lot more work. What is the most difficult part of filming a musical comedy?
TO: That first dance number, She’ll Be Mine, in the pilot, that took an entire day to shoot and it was just a few moments on screen. Not to mention the weeks of learning the song and working with a coach and days and days of choreography beforehand, the musical numbers are very complicated. In an upcoming episode I have a scene with a character you wouldn’t imagine and it takes place in several different parts of the castle and it took days to shoot. I have never worked harder in my life, I’ll tell you that. But it is an absolutely gratifying kind of work. It is so gratifying.
BR: It’s working very well so far and I had no idea that you were a singing so I was very surprised by that. Is that something you’ve always been interested in doing?
TO: Well I’ll let you in on a little secret, I am not really a singer. I did musicals in high school and I love them. I love musical theater but when I got to college I fancied myself a very serious classical actor. I was in a serious theater program and I stopped doing musical and would do Shakespeare but that didn’t take my love of music away. And as life went on, on TV I actually sang twice on Judging Amy and I had friends who were musicians and I sang with them occasionally. But it was in Psych: The Musical we really had to sing. We were in a recording studio with professionals, we weren’t screwing around and it brought back this love back to me of music and performing music and singing. My New Year’s resolution two years ago was to sing more and careful what you wish for because my first job after regular gig is not just a musical, it’s an Alan Menken musical. I very quickly ran to a vocal coach and started training, which I am still continuing to do even after the show.
BR: Well you’ve been doing a great job. It’s been working.
TO: I’ve had a couple of different coaches saying the same thing, “You have a lovely voice but you have no technique whatsoever,” so now its about putting in that work and I am lucky enough to have an actual talent to it. It’s not that I didn’t have respect for it before but when you go and see a show or musical theater and see these people working at that level I am amazed at people who can sing well because I know how difficult it is and the work that goes into it. I’m so excited for people to keep watching this show. I think they’re really going to be blown away by it.
BR: In your opinion, is King Richard truly a villain?
TO: I never play villains. Cain (Supernatural) isn’t a villain. He happens to be a murderous adult but everyone has their reasons and their backstory and we actually get to see in the episodes to come more of why (King) Richard is the way he is and that’s always ridiculously fun to play. Even Lassiter, who was a bit of an uptight jerk, after a season we really got to realize why he was this way and how this person’s life was in shambles and you get to understand their motivation and you judge them a little different.
BR: So we’ll see more of why King Richard is the way he is?
TO: Yes, you absolutely get to see why he is the way he is. I think that may even be one of my lines. That’s the Ricky Gervais episode.
BR: What makes this story so unique?
TO: Like anything it starts with the characters and the story. I think we have a really unique group of actors telling this really wonderful story. And I think in terms of the music it matters that they are original songs written for these characters, they’re not just cover tunes. Taking nothing away from the other musical shows on TV because I watch them and I love them but when you’re watching a character sing a song where they’re singing a cover song or they are a musical singing a song that’s very different than watching a character who breaks into song because words cannot simply express the emotion that’s in them. It is a very different visceral thing to watch and I think it takes it to a different level. I love Glee and I love Nashville.
BR: It would have been really cool to see you on an episode of Glee even though they’re in their last season.
TO: A friend of mine is one of the creators of that, I love it. What that show has done for music in popular culture in television is nothing short of astounding. They really laid the groundwork for people to accept singing on their television in primetime.