I met Roy in 2010 while we were performing in Anything Goes,
at Allenberry Playhouse. Roy is getting ready to go on tour with Anything Goes next month, and I wanted to catch up with him before he leaves the city for 8 months. Meet Roy Flores:
When did you move to NYC?
I moved to the city in 2006. I was born and raised in a small island in the Philippines, called Capul, whose main method of transportation is motorcycle, and only gets electricity from 6 pm to midnight. I came to the US (San Diego, California) at the age of 16, and moved to the island of Manhattan at 21. I guess you can say I’m an island boy through and through.
What borough and neighborhood do you call home?
I live in Hell’s Kitchen at the moment. I really like it here. I like being able to walk out of my place and I am “in” the city. But the longest area I’ve lived in was Washington Heights. I felt really comfortable very at home up there.
What is one piece of advice you have for anyone thinking about moving here?
Have thick skin! This city can be harsh. If you are not strong enough, this city will swallow you whole and spit you right out and send you back to where you came from.
Also, make sure you come to the city with enough money to get you through 3 months, and have solid plans for a survival job.
Do you feel like a New Yorker?
Yes I do. I lived in the dorms my first two years in the city. So it’s safe to say that the umbrella of the school protected me for those 2 years. After I moved out, and lived in my own apartment, and it took me about a year to develop some Gotham swag. I adapt very quickly to my surroundings. I guess my background, or life experience, or whatever you want to call it, forced me to be that way.
Aside from acting, do you have a survival job?
When I don’t have the opportunity to act, I make rent by catering. I think it’s the easiest and the most flexible survival job an actor/artist can have. It can be a bit demeaning at times, but as long as you are willing to set your ego aside, it’s the easiest money you can make. And sometimes it can be fun to serve Bill Clinton his dinner (after you’ve been cleared by secret service.)
What is your favorite thing about living in the city?
The city is full of people from different corners of the world and different walks of life. Every day, new people come and/or move to the city. Every day there is a chance to meet and learn from people’s stories. I love that about the city!
What is your least favorite thing about living in the city?
The price of everything! Rent! MTA! It seems like there’s a fare hike every time I turn a corner! Ugh!
You put a single out entitled ‘Won’t Apologize’ on iTunes. What sparked your desire to start doing your own thing artistically?
Going into the theatre business, I was well aware that I’m going to have to conform to the standards that the business has already established and that this business is going to put me in a box that it has already set aside for people of my racial background. Most of the roles that are available for me don’t really fully reflect my capabilities and don’t really represent the kind of person that I am.
So while waiting for my next “Foreign-Exchange” or “Fresh-Off-the-Boat-thick-accented” gig to come, I decided to get into writing my own songs. I found that to be extremely liberating. It gave me the chance to step out of the box that the business has and is still trying to confine me in. I have a lot of things that I wanted to say; lots of things in my head and heart that I wanted to express – about my racial struggles, about my sexuality, about my childhood, about my relationships, about my value in this world. Music has always been a big part of my life. I saw music as the best opportunity to get my views heard.
What is your next theatrical endeavor?
Starting this October, I will be travelling around the country in the National Tour of the Cole Porter musical, “Anything Goes”, directed by Tony Award winner, Kathleen Marshall. I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about playing yet another “FOB Chinaman”. But, I do want to say that I’m very excited to get the chance to see how the other cities are like, and really grateful that I will have a performing job for 8 months!
What is the craziest/best/worst thing that has happened to you since you moved to NYC?
I think it has to be that time when the Filipino group I belonged to, Broadway Barkada, was invited to sing the Philippine National Anthem at a gathering in DC for Filipino Ambassadors and the US Ambassador to the Philippines. It was a gathering to raise funds to assist rebuilding efforts in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan. The whole time we were singing the Anthem, I kept thinking about myself as a child, growing up in that 7 mile Island of Capul. I would have never imagined that I would someday be standing and singing in front of esteemed dignitaries, in the capital of the world’s most powerful country. It was quite surreal to me. I couldn’t help but shed some tears after we finished singing.
For more about Roy, click HERE.
For the single Won’t Apologize, click HERE.