When Wesley Taylor takes the stage as part of Signature Theatre’s popular summer cabaret series this weekend, the theater veteran will chronical what he describes as “a self-indulgent timeline from an attention-starved youth to grown-up Wes.”
Aptly named “Finally a show about me,” with one performance Friday night and two scheduled for Saturday, Taylor will weave about 10 songs through hilarious stories of adolescence and the journey he took to become the man he is today.
“It’s going to be more storytelling interrupted by song than it will be a concert with banter,” Taylor said. “I’m showing video clips of me as a young tike; my ridiculous younger self starved for attention, and the show will morph into tales of my adolescence and coming out and my family life, and going to New York.”
And that means plenty of audition tales, which can often be some of the most fun stories to hear.
“There will be stories of fumbles and getting my PhD in show business along the way,” he said. “I haven’t done a solo show in about 10 years, but that was even more a duet show, so this is something very new to me.”
On Broadway, he originated the role of Franz in “Rock of Ages” and went on to play Lucas Beineke in “The Addams Family” and Sheldon Plankton in “Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical.”
His cabaret show will most likely include some songs from each, though he hints they might not be the songs he actually sang in those shows.
Taylor is no stranger to Signature audiences, having played the role of The Emcee in the 2015 production of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Cabaret.”
“At the beginning of my concert, I’m going to poke fun of myself at doing some bad press when I was there last time,” he said. “When I first got down there to do ‘Cabaret,’ I was so excited to do this iconic character and I wasn’t really understanding the weight of my words and the significance behind them.”
In one fateful interview, someone asked him what it was like to leave the high-intensity world of Broadway to do a show in D.C., and Taylor somewhat put his foot in his mouth.
“I was trying to say that these are the opportunities to help me grow and stretch my muscles, and get to play characters I may not be able to get to play in New York City,” he said. “What ended up in print was that I was indirectly calling D.C. a training wheels’ city. It was extremely condescending and arrogant and I just regret it. I’m obsesses with the D.C. area and constantly inspired by the art that gets produced down there.”
Despite what he considered “bad press,” the D.C. audiences never held it against him, and he came back to the area this past April performing in the Kennedy Center’s Broadway Center Stage production of The Who’s “Tommy,” playing Cousin Kevin.
“I wasn’t that familiar with ‘Tommy’ other than when I was 10 years old, my mother took me to the national tour when it came through Orlando, where I grew up,” he said. “I remember my mom covered my eyes and shielded me from all this salacious content on stage, which is really all I remembered.”
But he was thrilled to be offered the role and all his friends immediately told him how perfect the part would be for him.
“I don’t usually get attracted to leading men parts, I’m more attracted to the supporting players generally,” Taylor said. “I do have a darkness to me that people gravitate towards casting me in sinister or villainous roles. I’m 32, going on 33 in a few weeks, and I feel like I’m in the decade playing the parts I was meant to play.”
Elsewhere, Taylor just finished shooting the third season of his web series, “Indoor Boys,” and will begin editing for a fall release; he’ll be doing a lab of a new musical called “The Weatherman” at La Jolla; and he recently became engaged to fellow Broadway star Isaac Powell.
“Things are busy but great,” he said. And you can hear more about all of this in his show.