WESTWOOD —Sitting down with Hollywood character actor David Proval this week was not only a treat, but like a walk down memory lane. For as long as I have been watching movies and television, the handsome and talented star has been in my presence. The man has not slowed down in his creative efforts and he embodies every character he inhabits on stage and the screen. His recent stage project is in Henry Jaglom’s acclaimed “45 Minutes From Broadway” at the Edgemar Theater in Santa Monica. “Henry wrote the part of Larry with me in mind, he’s told me,” said Proval. Not only has the dashing actor made an impression on Jaglom and theater goers in “45 Minutes,” but his upcoming role in “Queen of the Lot” later in the spring will garner him Oscar buzz. In “Queen of the Lot,” Proval’s Caesar has successfully made Tanna Frederick’s Margie a star at a major studio and has convinced her to change her name to Maggie. What Proval does on the big screen in this film is a lot more than what Caesar accomplishes with his muse.
Proval fans have seen him on shows such as “Kojak,” “Felicity,” “The West Wing” and of course they remember him from his popular role on the HBO series “The Sopranos.”
“Tommy, the show [Sopranos] is airing now on A&E, so for a lot of people they are seeing it for the first time. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come up to me to say, I saw you on ”˜The Sopranos last night or I saw you get shot last night,” laughed David. “I try to not be so nonchalant about it, realizing that although I’ve had many projects since that role in 2004. And for many people who did not see it on HBO but are getting it for the first time on A&E, it’s fresh and happening now.” Richie Aprile in “The Sopranos” is a role the Brooklyn born star didn’t have to research. Though he’s coy on the question, it’s probable the handsome star has met many mobsters in his early years in the neighborhood.
“The Sopranos” is still considered HBO’s most successful series and fans worldwide continue being caught up in the life of Tony and his minions. Proval was one of the four finalists for the role that James Gandolfini won, but he made such an impression in his audition that they hired him in the second season for the pivotal and unforgettable role of Richie.
When any suggestion is made that the actor is sensational and perfectly cast as Larry Cooper in “45 Minutes,” a character that is so in love with the theater and Broadway and a man who truly loves his family. Proval like all the actors I’ve interviewed in the play quickly admits, “We all love each other, we are truly a family and Tommy, it’s pretty difficult to mess this stuff up. Henry [Jaglom] has done an amazing job writing and creating this play. It’s one of the best works I’ve ever seen and I’m blessed to be a part of the success of this play,” said David Proval. One of the things that makes the play so amazing is the chemistry Proval has with his leading lady, Harriet Schock who plays Larry’s girlfriend Sally Brooks. Schock tells Canyon News, “Audiences adore David from the moment he walks on stage. Every time he opens his mouth. How could they not?”
Harriet further explained, “Even though all the characters in the play are family except me and the fiancée, [Jimmy, actor David Garver] who is prospective family, I feel like David Proval and I are truly family. I met him when I first got to L.A. over 30 years ago. I played poker at his house every Friday night. We virtually knew each other as children. So working with him is a dream-come-true in many ways. Not only am I on stage with one of the best actors on the planet, but I’m playing opposite a long-time friend, a wild and free spirit and one of the most fun people I know,” said Schock. Proval admits “I’m not Larry, that’s for sure. But Larry has some qualities that I do embody.” When David Proval first read the script he had some preconceived ideas about Larry, but once he went into rehearsals with such a wonderful cast, which include, Julie Davis, Tanna Frederick, David Garver and Harriet Schock, he made alterations to his ideas and that’s what makes Proval such a giant in the industry.
Proval’s work in “Irene in Time” is also being raved about by critics. Norm is a pill-popping, out of control user of drugs and people, while the actor who portrays him is fully in the moment and in total control of all of his creative faculties, which are massive and abundant both on screen and off. We both agreed to work together one day on the screen. Proval is a man that anyone feels like they have known their entire life after sitting with him and talking for just moments. “45 Minutes from Broadway” leading lady Harriet Schock explains what makes David Proval so unique. “He’s so there every minute and he’s likely to do something entirely different on Friday from what he did on Thursday, of course, which keeps it constantly new and alive. In a long-running play like this, that’s really essential. I’m the luckiest person in the world to be in a play with these phenomenal actors. If you re-watch season two of ”˜The Sopranos,’ and then go see him in this play, you’ll feel like you’re living in parallel but different universes. How could that be the same actor? Well, it says, David Proval in the credits, so I guess it is,” said Schock.
The modest but incredibly generous performer is currently completing, “Repping,” “The Driver,” “Mafioso, II,” “City of Shoulders and Noses,” “Serial Buddies,” “Pete Smalls Is Dead,” “Baby O,” “The Deported” and of course the most anticipated film in 2010, “Queen of the Lot.” The prolific thespian who has over 100 credits starting out with his debut in the film “Mean Streets” in 1973 has come full circle. He now plays whatever role he wants, but he wants to play it all. With good looks, wonderful talent and graciousness as some of his many positive attributes, fans can expect the popular actor to be around for a long time.
David Proval can be seen in “45 Minutes From Broadway” at the Edgemar Theater in Santa Monica.
Photographs Courtesy: David Proval and David Proval and Harriet Schock in “45 Minutes From Broadway” by Rainbow Theatre Company