Mamma Mia! co-stars Christy Altomare and Zak Resnick
A few nights ago, Zak Resnick, a working actor in New York City, came to the edge of the stage with his Mamma Mia! co-star Christy Altomare during a scene, and it struck him: This is Broadway, and I’m in front of 1,500 people.
And Resnick, who's making his Broadway debut as Sky in the ABBA-based musical, is exactly where he wants to be. Unlike 90 percent of the other actors in his chosen profession, he doesn’t need to look for work anytime soon. He explains that contracturally he can’t even begin considering other options for six months because Mamma Mia! has a yearlong run at the Winter Garden Theatre.
The Richmond actor started at age 5 in the School of the Performing Arts in Richmond (SPARC) and went on to numerous stages throughout the region. Via Carnegie Mellon University and even American Idol, almost three years ago, he took off for the Great White Way.
He’s been busy since he left Richmond, and fortunate, he says, doing workshops, concerts, understudy roles and many readings of shows. And he got to sing at Carnegie Hall for a celebration of the New York Pops Orchestra. That talent bench included Angela Landsbury, Aaron Lazar, Kelli O’Hara and Tom Wopat.
Resnick recently completed an ABC Family movie with Wopat, entitled Elixir. It’s about a girl whose mother, Jane Seymour, and father, Wopat, are uncertain about the motivations of a suitor who seems to be a playboy. Seymour’s character finds a magical potion that returns her to her 20-year-old self. “So she can find out if this guy is for real,” says Resnick, who plays a DJ in the film. “They did a very good job of finding a girl who looked like a young Jane Seymour.”
This year he also appeared onstage in Disaster. a musical parody that mashed up the tropes of 1970s disaster movies and the period's Top 40 hits. “It was a floating casino where everything that could go wrong does go wrong," Resnick says. "The songs were 'Sky High,' 'Alone Again (Naturally),' 'Hot Stuff.' It was really fun."
Resnick auditioned for the role of Sky, Mamma Mia!'s groom-to-be. He was previously called in three or four times, but due to his own scheduling, he couldn’t join the cast. Like many actors, he’s subsidizing his career by working in a restaurant, and due to his calls to work, he was often switching shifts.
“I got the talk from the manager: ‘Do you want to keep working here or what?’ So this audition for Mamma Mia! came along at the right time.
Part of the challenge in the role is that Resnick's not wearing much for most of the show. His costume is a “glorified Speedo,” and wearing that little doesn't come naturally to the 6-foot-4 singer and songwriter, who says, “Usually, I’m the guy who wears his shirt at the pool.”
Backstage he’s preparing, sometimes physically, with push-ups or sit-ups.
Sky is not the limit for Resnick. He’s a working actor, eight shows a week, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Making it more enjoyable is that he knows Altomare from the smaller world of musicians. “We’re friends, which is great," he says, "because otherwise acting with her for a year would be tough.”