When F. Michael Haynie first stepped on stage Tuesday night at the Gershwin Theatre in New York City, he wasnt nervous at all.
It was an overwhelming sense of normality. I felt really safe and comfortable, said Haynie, who made his Broadway debut in the role of Boq in Wicked this week.
It was a moment he will never forget. The full impact hit him at the end of the show as he waited for a curtain call. He realized he was about to hear his first Broadway ovation. In the audience of about 1,800 sat family and friends. He knew they would be clapping for him, but he didnt expect his cast members to do the same.
I will forever remember each person who was on stage with me that night, said Haynie, via telephone from Manhattan, hundreds of miles away from where grew up on Macon stages.
His father, Phil, was an artistic director in the mid-1980s at Macon Little Theatre, and his mother, Sylvia, is the drama director at Stratford Academy.
He did Macon proud, Sylvia Haynie said Wednesday after returning home from New York City. I cried a lot.
With the frenzy of the United Nations General Assembly in full swing, cabs were hard to come by.
I got real bold stepping out in the street saying, Ive got to get a cab. Ive got to get to my baby, she said.
That baby, the younger of her two boys, moved to the Big Apple after he graduated from Stratford in 2004. He got his drama degree from New York University in 2008 and started networking in the theater industry.
Workshops, readings and auditions enlarged his circle of contacts that led to jobs that launched his professional career.
F, as he has been nicknamed by his New York theater cronies, appeared in an off-Broadway revamped musical production of Carrie earlier this year. The original show was such an infamous flop that the new version was highly anticipated and drew some high-profile performers and directors.
The show didnt survive, but lasted long enough for Wicked director Joe Mantello to see Haynie perform. When Mantello needed a new Boq, he called Haynie.
Knowing Mantello and the other Wicked executives had confidence in his abilities, Haynies nerves were eased on his big night. Plus, he had a veteran cast out there with him.
Haynie said he was much more nervous opening Carrie and Dogfight, another off-Broadway show he was in this year. Audiences were seeing those shows for the very first time. Anticipation heightened as actors did not know how people would respond, when they would laugh or if they would applaud.
Actors thrive on the thrill of audience reaction that only live theater can provide, but Haynie also has a movie scheduled to be released Dec. 21.
Not Fade Away, premieres at the New York Film Festival Oct. 6. The film already is generating buzz as it marks the big-screen filmmaking debut of The Sopranos creator David Chase.
The Paramount musical tells the story of suburban New Jersey friends trying to form their own rock band.
It was a really fun part, said Haynie, who plays a keyboardist who also unsuccessfully tries his hand at bass.
He kept getting calls to come back for new scenes and to re-work others. A limousine carried him to the set, where he had his own trailer.
Its the second major motion picture for the Haynie family this year.
In May, Haynies older brother, J.P., played multiple aliens in Men in Black III. He spent an entire day on set working exclusively with stars Will Smith and Josh Brolin.
J.P. Haynie also is pursuing his theater career in New York, where hes been able to share in his brothers successes.
I have had a really fascinating year, F. Haynie said.
He had some incredible stage door experiences this week, he said.
A few nights ago, a child timidly asked for his autograph after the show. It startled Haynie that the boy was so nervous he wouldnt look him in the eye.
It made me laugh because, I was like, Im just F. Im just this kid who ordered a pizza last night and watched a movie with my girlfriend. ... I drink coffee and ride the subway. Im just a normal person that has a job that happens to really cool and really, really fun.
Haynie said he strives to enjoy himself at every performance, whether its before 10, 100, 300 or nearly 1,900 people eight times a week for Wicked. It really is the thing that dreams are made of getting to do this job, he said, and I cant wait for whats next.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.