(CBS Local)– Will Roland has the tendency to be in the right place at the right time.
The NYU grad recently turned 30 years old and has already been in two major Broadway shows in “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Be More Chill.” Roland also has a recurring part on Showtime’s hit drama “Billions.” While Roland is on a professional hot streak now, things weren’t always this way with “Be More Chill.”
“Our whole show is a story of people believing in something that on the surface was not obviously a safe bet,” said Roland in an interview with CBS Local. “There is a conversation in theater and commercial theater about how to get younger audiences to the theater. This is how you do it, you listen to them and give them the content they are screaming for.”
“Be More Chill” is still around on Broadway today thanks to a gigantic number of streams and views of the show’s album on YouTube and Spotify. As Roland’s current show is starting to gain some major buzz, he already knows a thing or two about seeing a show blow up after his four years on “Dear Evan Hansen.”
“When I first auditioned for it, I had no major credits,” said Roland. “My biggest credit to that point was a regional theater production of show called ‘The Black Suits’, which was written by Joe Iconis, who wrote ‘Be More Chill’. He and I go way way back. Over the course of the development, the creative team got really excited about me as an actor. A lot of the stuff I did in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ came from me. That on its surface was not an obvious winner.'”
Roland’s part in “Dear Evan Hansen was a life-changer. He got to meet celebrities like Beyonce and more importantly landed his role on “Billions” after the show’s creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien saw him on Broadway.
“This is a teeny-tiny industry. Brian Koppelman and David Levien came to see ‘Dear Evan Hansen’,” said Roland. “It was a show that everyone wanted to see and they really loved me and called me to audition for that role. I was in the casting office for like a half an hour, which is a long time to be there and I saw not one other actor the whole time I was there. I read the scene a couple times and a few weeks later I was doing it on set.”
Roland’s one day part ended up turning into a recurring character on “Billions.” You can watch Roland Sundays at 9pm EST/PST and on Broadway in “Be More Chill.”