Jimmy Brewer Lands 'Flamingo Kid' Lead

It doesn’t get much better than when you’re about to graduate from your acting program and suddenly get a starring role in a new musical premiering at a theater that has already sent two shows to Broadway. That’s what happened to Jimmy Brewer, who was in his final year at Carnegie Mellon University last year when he took an overnight Megabus from Pittsburgh to New York. “Despite a terrible snowstorm, I arrived just in time for the 10 a.m. audition,” he says. “But I felt good about the audition.”

Now he has the title role in the new Hartford Stage musical The Flamingo Kid, based on the 1983 film starring Matt Dillon as a teen with a talent for cards who falls under the spell of a gambler at a Long Island resort in the ’60s. Darko Tresnjak directs what will be his final show as artistic director of the theater. The musical runs May 9 to June 9.

Brewer, who was still a dozen years away from being born when the film came out, says he identifies with the Brooklyn-born character and the show’s setting. Brewer, who was born and raised on Long Island, knows the turf, though he had to learn some Jewish expressions like “mensch” and “no-goodnik.”

Lesli Margherita, who in the show plays opposite Marc Kudisch, says Brewer “has this really cool, throwback voice that makes him sound like a kind of crooner. Jimmy also has a kind of swagger to him — but with heart — that is so right for the role. He’s a real find.”

As for Margherita’s role, “I play the wife of the gambler whose spell Jimmy falls under. She’s this long-suffering upper-middle class Jewish housewife who is this Jackie O wannabe. The costumes by Linda Cho are fabulous and I have some great bathing suits and wraps. I love that period of clothing. Think The Marvel