Micky Dolenz has a passion for offbeat roles: ‘It’s very difficult not to be typecast’

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It’s been 10 years since Micky Dolenz joined the Broadway cast of Aida, and it remains a stand-out on-stage memory in a life filled with them — principally because it allowed him to play against type as a villain. He’s had a similar offbeat opportunity with an on-going production of Mike Reiss’ Comedy Is Hard, in which Dolenz plays a much-older Jewish standup.

Dolenz has typically been asked to play roles not unlike the one he occupied on the Monkees’ show. It’s actually a happy-go-lucky persona that goes back to his days as a child-actor star of television’s Circus Boy. “I’d been doing screen tests since I was, like, 6,” Dolenz tells The Day, before deadpanning: “I have some prenatal work coming out on ultrasound.”

Dolenz’s first important theater work included the late-1970s London stage production of Harry Nilsson’s The Point. He was also part of a national tour of Grease, and played the lead in an early-1990s Canadian production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Elton John and Tim Rice’s reworking of Aida featured Dolenz as a touring member before and after his memorable 2004 stint on Broadway. Dolenz was tabbed to play the villain Zoser in this Tony-winning Verdi adaptation — and the moment still resonates, he says.

“It’s very difficult sometimes to break the mold and not to be typecast or to play yourself, which I hate doing,” added Dolenz. “I had these big solo numbers, and (was) wailing a B-flat.” He similarly relished a surprising role in the film remake of Halloween.

Dolenz’s run as the co-lead on Comedy is Hard, opposite Joyce DeWitt of Three’s Company fame, continues through Sunday, October 11, 2014 at Connecticut’s Ivoryton Playhouse. Reiss is an Emmy-award winning writer for The Simpsons whose previous credits include The Golden Girls and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

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