Frankie J. Alvarez

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Frankie J. Alvarez
Photograph of Frankie J. Alvarez
Alvarez at the HBO Latinos in TV Panel & Spotlight on March 15, 2014.
Born Francisco Javier Alvarez[1]
Miami, Florida[2]
Education Florida State University[3]
Juilliard School[2]
Occupation Actor
Voice actor

Francisco "Frankie" Javier Alvarez is a Cuban-American stage, film, and voice-over actor, known for his role as Agustín Lanuez in the HBO series Looking, and its subsequent series finale television film, Looking: The Movie.

Early life[edit]

Alvarez's parents are originally from Cuba, his father from Havana, and his mother from Artemisa.[2][4] He is first-generation American and was born and raised in Miami, Florida.[2][4][5][6] Alvarez grew up with the arts in his family: his grandmother was an opera singer in Cuba, while his father played music in a band in Puerto Rico, his mother was a ballerina,[2][7] and his three sisters all performed in the Miami City Ballet.[8] Spanish was his first language, and he did not learn English until he was 7 or 8 years old, stating that he started learning English from watching baseball.[4] While growing up, he attended an all-boys Jesuit prep school.[8] Alvarez originally enrolled at Florida State University as a Creative Writing major, but applied to the fine arts program after a positive experience in the School of Theatre.[9] He then graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts[3] and moved to New York City, and was encouraged by a friend to apply to Juilliard School.[7] He used a bilingual version of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet for his callback and was accepted into the program and received the Raul Julia Memorial Scholarship.[8] He graduated from Juilliard in 2010 with a Master of Fine Arts.[3][8]

Acting career[edit]

Stage[edit]

While attending Juilliard, Alvarez trained at the Chautauqua Theater Company, appearing as Bernard in Death of a Salesman and Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2008.[10] [11] Alvarez portrayed the titular character in Brain Trust Production's The Tragedie of Cardenio at the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival, for which he won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play.[12] After graduating from school, Alvarez performed in regional theater, landing his first professional acting role in a national tour production of Ramona Quimby, based on the popular children's book series.[4][7] He continued to perform in regional theater, cast in a production of Julius Caesar as Lucius and Metellus Cimber and in Measure for Measure as Claudio for the 2011 Oregon Shakespeare Festival.[13][14] His performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival resulted in his recruitment to Asolo Repertory Theatre, where he received praise for his lead role of Hamlet in the theatre's production of Hamlet: Prince of Cuba, a Spanish and English-language adaptation of the Shakespeare play reset in 19th century Havana.[6][15] The play was translated into Spanish by Nilo Cruz and Alvarez studied the play for almost a year and learned to perform it in both Spanish and English.[6] He later performed in the Actors Theatre of Louisville's 2013 production of The Whipping Man, where he portrayed Caleb, a wounded Jewish Confederate soldier in the American Civil War.[7] The play received positive reviews, and Alvarez received praise for his "nuanced and empathetic" performance.[16] He and friend Gabriel Ebert collaborated on the musical Those Lost Boys, about the one-night-only 10 year reunion of a rockstar band, which was developed and premiered at the 2013 Ars Nova All New Talent Fest and headlined the Ars Nova All New Talent Fest again in 2014.[17][18]

Television[edit]

Alvarez appeared as a recurring minor role on the NBC television show Smash[19] before landing his first major television role was the 2014 HBO series Looking as the main character Agustín, alongside co-stars Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett.[8] The show focuses on the lives of three young gay men living in San Francisco.[8] Alvarez originally auditioned for the role of recurring character Richie Ventura (played by Raúl Castillo), the love interest for Groff's character, Patrick, performing in a casting session over Skype. He was later asked to submit auditions for the role of Agustín. Within the week of his show at Actors Theatre of Louisville closing, he flew out for a second audition and was cast as Agustín.[8] According to Alvarez, the character of Agustín was originally intended to be Venezuelan, rather than Cuban, spoke with an accent, and would be "figuring out his green card situation."[9] Alvarez spoke with series creator Michael Lannan and the character was changed to a highly educated native U.S. citizen of Cuban descent, using some of Alvarez's personal traits, producing a portrayal of bicultural Latin-Americans that Alvarez felt was not seen as frequently in media.[9] His performance garnered him praise from critics and a nomination for Best Supporting Actor by the Imagen Foundation Awards in 2014.[8][20][21]

Audio book narration[edit]

Alvarez is also an audiobook narrator, appearing on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's audio recording of Measure for Measure, and narrating audiobook works such as Héctor Tobar's The Barbarian Nurseries, Justin Torres's We the Animals, and Sebastian Rotella's Triple Crossing.

Accolades[edit]

While attending Juilliard, Alvarez was the recipient of the prestigious Raul Julia Memorial Scholarship.[8] In 2010, his performance in The Tragedie of Cardenio by Ben Bartolone earned him the Midtown International Theatre Festival's award for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play".[12] His performance as Agustín in Looking also earned him a nomination for the Imagen Foundation Award's "Best Supporting Actor" in 2014.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Alvarez met his wife, Leah Walsh, as a first year student while both attended Juilliard, his wife a second year student.[2][4] They married in May 2013.[4] Walsh is also an actress and the couple live together in Astoria, Queens in New York City.[2][4]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Aphasia Austin Short film

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Smash Actor #6 3 episodes
2014–2015 Looking Agustín Lanuez Series regular; 16 episodes
2015 Madam Secretary Zach Episode: "The Time Is at Hand"
2015 The Good Wife Steven Mund Episode: "Loser Edit"
2015 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Javier Rojas Episode: Parents' Nightmare
2016 Looking: The Movie Agustín Lanuez TV film
2016 Blue Bloods Father Phillip Episode "Confessions"
2017 Blindspot Julian Milliken Episode: "Fix My Present Havoc"

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck Chautauqua Theater Company
2008 Death of a Salesman Bernard Chautauqua Theater Company
2010 The Tragedie of Cardenio Cardenio Midtown International Theatre Festival
2011 Julius Caesar Lucius/Metellus Cimber Oregon Shakespeare Festival
2011 Measure for Measure Claudio Oregon Shakespeare Festival
2012 Hamlet: Prince of Cuba (Hamlet: Príncipe de Cuba) Hamlet Asolo Repertory Theatre
2013 The Whipping Man Caleb Actors Theatre of Louisville
2016 Bathing in the Moonlight Taviano McCarter Theatre

Audio books[edit]

Title Author Publication year Role
We the Animals Justin Torres 2011 Narrator
The Barbarian Nurseries Héctor Tobar 2011 Narrator
Triple Crossing Sebastian Rotella 2011 Narrator
Measure for Measure William Shakespeare (Oregon Shakespeare Festival production) 2012 Claudio

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ MOGUL Contributor. "Moguls of the World: Frankie J. Alvarez, Super-Hot HBO Star". MOGUL. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Monell, Ray (January 27, 2015). "Frankie J. Alvarez talks to Viva about his troubled character on HBO's 'Looking'". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Alum Frankie J. Alvarez is Looking in HBO's New Series". Florida State University School of Theater. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Introducing: HBO's Looking Star Frankie J. Alvarez". People.com. January 17, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ Handelman, Jay (April 27, 2012). "¿Ser o no Ser?: 'Hamlet' asks its big questions in Spanish at Asolo Rep". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Benson, Shellie Terry (April 21, 2012). "Frankie J. Alvarez Brings a Fiery Hamlet to Life". Patch Media. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Brown, Emma A. (January 8, 2014). "Discovery: Frankie J. Alvarez". Interview. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Reyes, Raul A. (January 9, 2015). "Frankie J. Alvarez From HBO's 'Looking': Loving the Acting Life". NBC News. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Erazo, Vanessa (January 22, 2014). "Frankie J Alvarez of HBO's 'Looking' on Playing a Latino Character That Doesn't Have an Accent". Remezcla.com. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ Plyler, Robert W. (August 9, 2008). "Bard's play is final CTC production of season". Observer. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ Plyler, Robert W. (August 11, 2008). "Chautauqua Company Is Energetic, Athletic In 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'". The Post-Journal. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Midtown International Theatre Festival Announces Award Winners". BroadwayWorld.com. September 10, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ Shaltz, Justin (June 26, 2011). "Julius Caesar". Shaltz Shakespeare Reviews. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  14. ^ Handelman, Jay (July 23, 2011). "Behind the Scenes: Drawing inspiration from Oregon Shakespeare Festival". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ Handelman, Jay (March 24, 2012). "REVIEW: Gripping 'Hamlet' seen through fresh eyes with Cuban setting". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  16. ^ Keane, Erin (January 11, 2013). "Review: Raw Truths, Compelling Performances in 'The Whipping Man'". WFPL. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Ars Nova's ANT Fest Kicks Off Tonight with THOSE LOST BOYS". BroadwayWorld.com. June 3, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  18. ^ Bowgen, Phillipe (August 7, 2014). "Stars of HBO's "Looking" and "Girls" Will Headline at Ars Nova". Playbill. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Jonathan Groff HBO Series About Gay Men Set in San Francisco Gets Series Order". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  20. ^ Nussbaum, Emily (January 20, 2014). "Boys' Town". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  21. ^ Gold, Michael (January 16, 2014). "HBO's 'Looking' provides genuine, honest look at gay life". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 

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