Raúl Eduardo Esparza (born October 24, 1970) is an American stage and television actor, singer, and voice artist. He has received Tony nominations for his role as Philip Salon in the Boy George musical Taboo in 2004; Robert, an empty man devoid of connection in the musical comedy Company in 2006; a lazy and snarky man in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming; and an aggressive volatile movie producer in David Mamet‘s Speed the Plow. He played the role of Riff Raff on Broadway in the revival of The Rocky Horror Show and the role of Caractacus Potts in the Broadway musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Esparza has been nominated in all Tony categories for which an actor is eligible. He is widely regarded for his versatility on stage, having performed musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Boy George, and the Sherman Brothers and plays by Mamet, Pinter, William Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, and more. His film work includes Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty and Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take and his television credits include roles on Medium, Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He narrated the audiobook for Stephen King’s Under the Dome, as well as several others, and sings in concerts all over the country.
Esparza first drew attention with his performance in the 2000 Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show, which won him the Theatre World Award. Additional Broadway credits include Cabaret (2001), Taboo (2003), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2005) and Sondheim’s Company (2006). He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for his performance in the musical Taboo. His performance in Company earned him a second Tony nomination, this time for Best Actor in a Musical, as well as his second Drama Desk award. Beginning in November 2007, he appeared in Harold Pinter‘s play The Homecoming and was Tony-nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play. In 2008, he played Charlie Fox in the revival of David Mamet‘s Speed-the-Plow co-starring Jeremy Piven and Elisabeth Moss on Broadway. His performance in Speed-the-Plow earned him a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Play, making him the second performer (after Boyd Gaines) to be nominated in all four acting categories a performer is eligible for at the Tony’s, although he has yet to win one.
Esparza appeared in the musical Leap of Faith in the role of the “Reverend” Jonas Nightingale. He was involved in the workshop in 2008, the out-of-town tryout at the Ahmanson Theatre (Los Angeles) in 2010, and the Broadway production in 2012, for which he received a 2012 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
In a New York Times profile, Esparza came out as bisexual, and revealed that he had same-sex relationships. He married Michele, his high school girlfriend, in 1993,but they divorced in 2008.
Leap of Faith – [Musical, Original] Starring: Raúl Esparza [Jonas Nightingale] 2012
Arcadia – [Play, Revival] Performer: Raúl Esparza [Valentine Coverly] 2011
Speed-the-Plow – [Play, Revival] [Charlie Fox] 2008
The Homecoming – [Play, Revival] [Lenny] 2007
Company [Musical, Drama, Revival] [Robert] 2006
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – [Musical, Comedy, Original] [Caractacus Potts] 2005
Taboo – [Musical, Drama, Original] [Philip Sallon] 2003
The Rocky Horror Show – [Musical, Comedy, Revival] Riff Raff 2000
Cabaret – [Musical, Drama, Revival]
Master of Ceremonies – Replacement – (Sep 09, 2002 – Dec 31, 2002)
Master of Ceremonies – Replacement – (Oct 26, 2001 – Apr 28, 2002)
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From the February 20th, 2008 “Company” edition of “Great Performances” on PBS.