Move over Atticus Shaffer, there’s a new kid in town.
Meet Frank Dolce. Who after spending almost a year stealing scenes playing Michael, the titular character’s sidekick in the Tony Award winning musical Billy Elliot, can soon be seen in FOX’s newest comedy SONS OF TUCSON.
Revolving around the Gunderson family, Dolce plays know-it-all-middle-son Gary, who along with his older brother Brandon (Matthew Levy) and younger brother Robby (Benjamin Stockham) concoct a scheme to ‘hire’ a dad (Tyler Labine) when their real one is sent to prison.
“Frank was actually the first named mentioned,” explained executive producer Todd Holland of his young star. “In their interview to be hired, [Casting Directors] Nikki Vallo and Ken Miller said ‘We just came back from Broadway, saw Billy Elliot and Frank Dolce was amazing, he’d be great as Gary.’ It really was destiny.”
A destiny that Dolce is only too happy to be apart of.
“People would recognize me in Manhattan, but some people don’t even know where Broadway is,” said Dolce when asked if it was a difficult choice to move from the glitz and glamour of Broadway to, well, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. “I think television is definitely a step up for me, exposure wise.”
And if it’s exposure Dolce seeks, he certainly couldn’t have picked a better situation. Set to premiere on March 14 following a brand new episode of FAMILY GUY, FOX has been heavily promoting SONS OF TUCSON during that little reality show called AMERICAN IDOL in the hopes of replicating the kind of live-action-comedic success that has alluded the network since the days of MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. A show which Dolce should be intimately familiar with considering TUCSON was the brainchild of none other than MALCOLM’s oldest brother Justin Berfield (Reese), who at the ripe old age of twenty-two has quietly carved out a successful producing career as one half of J2Pictures.
And just what advice has Dolce, a relative Hollywood neophyte received from his veteran producer? Not as much as you might think.
“He’s a little shy sometimes,” said the actor of Berfield. “But he guest stars in one of the episodes and when he steps in front of the camera, he is so upbeat and has so much energy.”
An issue that doesn’t seem to plague the well-spoken thirteen-year-old actor, who not only has his ‘why-you-should-watch-my-show’ pitch down to an exact science (“There’s something for everyone! Tyler [Labine] appeals to the adults and teenagers and kids can relate to mine and Matthew and Benjamin’s characters”), but cleverly employs a Super Mario analogy to explain the differences between acting in theater and television.
“With so much singing and dancing, theater is more physically demanding. And if you make a mistake, the show must go on, you just have to keep going through the maze collecting as many points as you can,” shared Dolce. “Whereas with television, you know where all the coins are, so when you go back through the maze [to do another take] you get everything. That’s the great thing about the show, there is such benefit to be given that extra take.”
Even if we can’t actually fathom this kid needing one.
SONS OF TUCSON premieres on Sunday March 14 on FOX at 9:30PM (March 11 at 9:30PM on GlobalTV in Canada)