Bill Selby — Forbidden, Inspired, Crushin' It!

By Kimberly Dijkstra

Actor and director William “Bill” Selby started in theater at a young age. When he was 11 years old, his mother took him to an audition for the child’s role of Patrick in a production of “Auntie Mame” by the Melrose Community Players in his hometown in Massachusetts. He didn’t even know his mother intended for him to audition that day, but when he got there and the director handed him a piece of paper to fill out, the acting bug bit him.

“I knew right away that I wanted that part and I fought for that part,” Selby recalled. “The director told me years later ‘when you walked in the room, I knew you were going to be Patrick.”

Since then, he’s had a long career that has included Off-Broadway in New York, lots of regional theater, and tours that have taken him across the United States and the world.

In 2015, Selby played the masculine and comedic Luther Billis in “South Pacific” at Connecticut’s Ivoryton Playhouse, then one year later played Bernadette, a transgender woman, in a joint production of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” between Long Island’s Gateway Playhouse and Maine’s Ogunquit Playhouse.

“I was pretty proud of the fact that I successfully did both roles,” he said. “I played the tough guy one year and then at the other end of the spectrum I played a very effeminate woman.”

Both performances earned him a great deal of acclaim, including a nomination for “Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical” by the Connecticut Critics’ Circle and a number of rave reviews.

The Bernadette role was treat for him as an actor – not just to be able to do something completely different than he was used to and live it up in the experience, but to represent the transgender community as truthfully as possible. Instead of playing the role for laughs, as had been done before, the director and Selby agreed to portray Bernadette authentically.

“I got a lot of nice compliments from the transgender community saying ‘thank you for playing her as a real person and not as a cartoon,’” Selby said.

In order to be able to do that, he reached out to Eden Lane, a transgender woman and reporter who had interviewed him once for television in Denver. He asked her for advice.

“She was so open and gave me all kinds of information that really helped my performance,” Selby said.

“Forbidden Broadway” has been a big part of his life since 1985. The parody revue that started Off-Broadway nearly 40 years ago is a living entity that changes nearly every year. Each new edition spoofs different show tunes, both old and new. Selby fell in love with the show as a performer and has since directed 19 productions.

He was set to direct his 20th production at North Coast Repertory Theater in Solana Beach, CA, last March, when it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then postponed several times again.

“Luckily, they don’t want to give up on it,” Selby said, and shared that the new date has been set for April 2022. “I’m willing to wait!”

To push through the pandemic, Selby drew inspiration from elementary school. “I remember my third-grade teacher telling me, ‘Bill, you are a very creative person,’” he recalled. “So when theater stopped, I was sort of like, ‘oh boy, I’ve got to do something.’”

Last August, Selby participated in a

for “Stars In the House,” the daily web series hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley which raises money for The Actors Fund. He performed a bit of the “Les Mis” parody song “More Miserable,” singing that the key is too high to the tune of “Bring Him Home.”

He also did

with a group from “Priscilla” to raise money for the not-for-profit Ogunquit Playhouse and performed “I Will Survive” with costar Matthew Marks.

“There’s something beautiful about having a theatrical family. It’s very comforting,” Selby said. “You breathe that sigh of relief because you are once again with the people that you love.”

The pandemic has afforded Selby more time to spend with his partner of 16 years. Both interested in photography, they visit parts of NYC and New Jersey to take photos and have friendly competitions with each other.

Selby has also been funneling his creative energy into videos that he puts on YouTube.

“For me editing those videos is a very relaxing and enjoyable experience,” he said. “You have a lot of pieces of video to put together, so it’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

Selby is looking forward to seeing his theater family in person again and performing with some sense of normalcy.

“I do hope that with the vaccinations we can get a sense of theater as it was,” Selby said. “So much magic was created and we all miss that and we miss giving it to audiences.”

There’s no doubt audiences miss that too.

“You can feel the hunger from the public right now. They want to see theater again,” he said. “And I know we as actors and performers are just dying to get back up there.”

Actor Profiles - Most Recent Additions 2

Cait Crowley - Actor Profile

Cait is a New York City based actor, dancer and singer who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University.

New York, New York
View details
Carina Avila - Actor Profile

Meet Carina Avila got her start in Los Angeles working on TV and music videos. She is now focused on transferring her early success to the theatre.

New York, New York
View details
Lance E. Hayes - Actor Profile

Lance is currently a working actor out of New York City, and is loving every minute.

New York, New York
View details
Richard LaFleur - Actor Profile

Richard Lafleur is a Canadian born actor, singer, dancer, and aspiring writer.

Montreal, Quebec
View details
Eddie Gutierrez - actor profile

Eddie attended NYU for acting, training at the Stella Adler Studio and the Experimental Theatre Wing, and while he was there, he picked up a minor in Music, while also enrolling in the dance program at Peridance in Union Square.

Jason Simon - Actor Profile

At a petite 6'3", Jason Simon is a presence!

Monica Cioffi - Actor Profile

Get To Know Dancer / Actor Monica Cioffi backstage at The Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY

Gina Milo - Actor Profile

Gina is a Long Island born, actor/singer based in New York City. She most recently appeared as Martha Vail in the York Theater's Mufti production of Subways are for Sleeping and Tanya in Mason Street's production of Mamma

New York, New York
View details

Equity Theatres - Most Recent Additions

Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre

At it's heart, MET is committed to the art of story.  We claim the great stories of our heritage as the birthright for all people. We work to encourage the creation of new stories and new…

Kansas City, Missouri
View details
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

With a reputation for artistic excellence, innovation, diversity, and integrity, TheatreWorks is Silicon Valley’s leading professional nonprofit theatre company. TheatreWorks presents a…

Mountain View, California
View details
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

In 1978, two young New York actors, Howard Shalwitz and Roger Brady, had an idea for a new kind of theater that would shake up the nation. They selected Washington, DC as the place to launch…

Washington, District of Columbia
View details
Brooklyn Academy of Music

BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) is a multi-arts center located in Brooklyn, New York.  For more than 150 years, BAM has been the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas—engaging…

New York, New York
View details
Great River Shakespeare Fest

The Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota is the Minnesota’s largest professional Equity theater outside of the Twin Cities and has enjoyed unprecedented success since its…

Winona, Minnesota
View details
The Public Theatre

Every traveler knows that the best way to discover a great place is to travel off the beaten path, and listen to the locals. So, this season, point your car towards Lewiston and discover a…

Lewiston, Maine
View details
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, California, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (aka “The Wallis”) brings audiences world-class theater, dance and music,…

Beverly Hills, California
View details
Dallas Children's Theatre

Dallas Children's Theater is an outstanding venue for collaboration with local artists, designers, playwrights, and educators. Our directors and administrators are proud to contribute to the…

Dallas, Texas
View details
© 2022 Islip.TV LLC / The National VJ Network. All rights reserved.