EXCLUSIVE: Interview with The Last Ship actor Troy Doherty
Troy Doherty is an accomplished actor, singer, songwriter and is recently known for appearing on the hit drama series The Last Ship, as well as Mike & Molly, Criminal Minds, Scorpion and the popular US show New Girl. Here Troy shares his journey from being a young singer in musical theatre to living his dream of becoming a TV and film actor with Mandy News.
Please give us an introduction to yourself and tell us what ignited your passion for acting?
I grew up singing. I always sang around the house. My parents would have parties and I would just sing in the other room and they would all listen to me. It was in my blood, I guess.
In third grade, my mom signed me up for an Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking-glass show at the regional theatre near my house in New Jersey. Then I did Grease a few years later and after that I was just hooked. I loved the feeling of performing. It was a bug and I had it!
So what were your steps towards turning your early experiences of theatre into a career?
After I did Grease, I auditioned for the Teen Travelling Troop at the Count Basie Theatre, with a woman called Yvonne Scudieri. I auditioned for her and the same day she called my parents and said, “he should get a manager and go to New York City because he’s really good.”
I did the Teen Travelling Troop with them and it was such fun. We would travel to old people’s homes and put on shows. After that I got a manager, went to New York, and one thing led to another. I was doing shows in Long Island, all over.
Then my voice started to change! I couldn’t really be on stage with my voice doing that. I really loved TV and film and wanted to get more involved in that. The only way to really do that six, seven, eight years ago was to go out to LA. My brother went to college, my dad got a job in Atlanta and my Mom and I moved to Los Angeles.
That’s a fantastic thing, to move across the US to follow a passion like that.
Yes, the support of my parents was a big deal. I can’t thank them enough.
I got an audition through my manager. I was excited when I got the email and saw it was for The Last Ship. I watched the show when it came out, so I was amped because I knew it had that military vibe which I thought was interesting. My uncle was in the navy and I had friends who were in the military, so I was excited.
I went into my audition with Gary Zuckerbrod and did the first two scenes, no problem. I went to do the third and final scene and he stops me about fifteen seconds in and says “hey, it’s all good. Let’s start again.” I was a little jarred, to say the least. So I composed myself, did it again and fifteen seconds in he stops me again saying, “just relax, we’re going to do this again.” That happened about ten, fifteen times, until he looked at me and said, “hey man, you’re perfect for this. I’m going to send you outside, I’m going to bring someone else in, you’re going to keep running it, we’re going to bring you back in and we’re going to get it.”
Now this should be reassuring for me, but in the moment I was extremely nervous because now this is the fifteenth audition! What am I doing wrong? I don’t know what’s going on. I go outside, run it a few times, go back in and do it twice and he was like, “Perfect! You’re good to go.”
About a week later, I was moving apartments and had to go down to a call-back. I went in, did the first two scenes perfectly and when it got to the third scene, I made eye contact with Gary and he nodded slightly. I did the scene and nailed it.
Afterwards, I saw him do a little fist pump to himself. About a week later, I got the call to say I was their choice. It was awesome.You’re a musician as well. How do you divide your time between the music and the acting?
It’s interesting. It seems harder than it is. I take acting classes, like I take piano, guitar and vocal lessons. It’s kind of equal in that way. When it comes to actually doing them, I can casually do music anywhere. I can sing or play piano when I want. I try to stick with music as one of my hobbies. That way if I come home from the set and I’m really tired, I can play my music.
It’s calming but it’s still working the other side of my brain. I’m still trying to work it out.
What else have you got coming up at the moment, Troy?
I have a movie coming out in the next six months. It’s an amalgamation of Superbad and 300. It’s a college comedy about The Odyssey and it’s really funny. It’s an indie film where we started with about 100 people and, as time’s gone on, it’s gone up to 400! Every time we show a trailer, someone says “I want to work on that!” The action is really good. I did all my own stunts, which I’m proud of but I don’t think my body is. That should be coming out in the next six months.
Other than that, I might be putting out some new music, maybe something for Christmas, and I’m writing all the time. I’ve written two pilots and I’m in the process of writing a few movies.
I write a sketch show with my roommate and we’re writing a few more for Instagram - @TroyDoherty – and I do my Music Monday.
What advice would you give for aspiring actors?
Well, my dad always tells me “if you want something to happen, no one is going to make it happen except for yourself,” which is great advice.
In this business, you need to have a job to get a job but I find that the time when you’re not working is actually when you’re working, because you’re putting the effort in to do the business, even when you’re not being paid. That’s when you shine.
It’s a business. It’s not just about being good at your craft. It’s about being an advertiser. You’re a product and you want to sell yourself in the best way possible.