Go Deeper

Philly Fringe Vital Stats: J. Michael DeAngelis

Posted August 24th, 2010

Name: J. Michael DeAngelis.

Age: 30.

Where do you live now? Springfield, PA.

Where were you born? Philadelphia, PA.

What’s your show title? Signs from God

What was the first thing you stole?
A pewter stamp that had my initials on it from Colonial Williamsburg. Even when thieving, I was a dork.

What’s your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Old, expensive scotch. In lieu of that, cheap, young scotch.

What was the last performance you saw?
Since I was one of last year’s winners, I was a guest at this year’s Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, where I got see all 14 finalists and help announce this year’s winners. It was a great day full of exciting theater.

What’s your favorite Philly intersection?
I spent a couple of happy years at the corner of Henry Ave and Jamestown St, just a few doors down from Fiesta Pizza and Dalessandro’s Steaks. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more dangerous than living just a few steps from a pizza place that is open late into the night. I’m still working it off.

After the jump: entertaining the children, a paintball accident, and rotting mussels.

What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
I hosted birthday parties at a mega-plex movie theater across the highway from Giants Stadium. I was vomited on, yelled at, cried on, I had soda thrown on me, cake dropped on me and whatever other indignation you can think of for one very long year. But the tips were great.

Who’s your favorite Phillies player?
Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander, starting pitcher in the 1915 World Series. They just don’t make ’em like they used to. Or give them as many names.

Do you have relatives more famous than you?
Until the day he died, my grandfather swore up and down that we were related to Abraham Lincoln. Which I thought was odd, because we’re Italian. In a real race to fame, it’s between me and my brother, Matt DeAngelis, front man for the band Enter the Rooms.

What’s your least favorite country, and why?
There’s no love lost between myself and the Principality of Sealand. Mostly because I’m just jealous that I didn’t have the idea to take over an abandoned platform in international waters and declare myself a sovereign stage first.

Do you own a gun? If so, have you fired it in anger?
I do not own a gun, but I once shot a dear friend of mine in the crotch with a paintball gun. The worst part is, the gun was capped—but I forgot to turn the safety on and the cap when flying right into his most sensitive area. Also, it was his bachelor party. I couldn’t forgive myself, but a few years later, he had a son, so I guess everything turned out okay.

Do you have pets?
If so, what are their names? I have one cat. Her name is Poco. I did not give her this name. Her previous owners got her in the Pocono mountains and thought it would be cute to scold her by saying “Poco, no!” It’s not.

If you’re not a full-time artist, what do you do for work?

When I’m not writing/acting/directing/producing, I work in the Career Services office at the University of Pennsylvania, where I very quietly try and convince all the business students to forget about their expensive degrees and take up a life in theater.

What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen on SEPTA?
A few years back, a take out container containing steamed muscles lay open in the stairway that lead down to the 30th Street trolley and MFL station. It laid there for weeks, maybe months, open and smelly and rotting. The smell was beyond repulsive and the mental image of it haunts me to this day. In fact, I feel sick just thinking about it.

Yuck. Signs from God runs September 16 through 18 at The Red Room at Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street, Society Hill. 8:00 pm, $15.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo of Michael DeAngelis (in black) and his co-author, Pete Barry (in blue), courtesy of Michael.