Erny Rosales is fast making a name for himself as the go-to character actor in Rogue Valley semi-professional theater, most recently as the faux-foreign cuckolded husband in "The Foreigner" at Camelot Theatre in Talent. I sat down with Rosales to talk about his art, his influences and his plans for the future.

JG: What series of events brought you to acting?

ER: Growing up, theater was something I dreamed about but was never readily available until I arrived at Chico State. I went in as a liberal studies major, but was so unsure if it was what I wanted. I found myself in an Intro to Theatre class, and was required to attend the productions being presented by the theater program. I found myself taken aback by the stories, characters, songs and the actors. I was so awestruck and I knew I needed to be a part of it. I dropped liberal studies, took the plunge and became a Musical Theatre major. The first year was tough and there were moments where I felt I wanted to quit, but I knew I had found something that meant so much to me. Once I found the theater program, everything just felt right, and I knew all I wanted to do was perform.

JG: Tell us about your greatest creative experience to date?

ER: If I had to pick one, "RENT" would be at the top. It was my first lead in a musical and Mark is just one of those characters that you can have a lot of fun with. I had to sing, act and jump all over the place with a camera attached to my hand, all while wearing a thick sweater and enormous coat (it was hot … very hot). Opening night, I was on such an adrenaline rush that I broke the table I was standing on while performing “La Vie Boheme”… everyone else froze at first. but I kept singing and we still delivered a great number. My cast was incredible; so much love and support emanating from such an amazing group of performers that are still a part of my life today. Ultimately, "RENT" marked a full circle moment for me, as it was the last show I saw before I decided to take the chance and become a theater major.

JG: What have been your artistic influences over the years?

ER: As a kid, I watched a lot of movies with my brother and we would talk the lines along with the actors. Eventually, I would find myself reliving the characters experiences and escaping into their world. Once my imagination took over, I was caught. In college, Professor Joel P. Rogers solidified musical theater acting for me and reminded me to “not to be so blessed hard on yourself” and Bill Johnson introduced me to the various characters and playwrights that I would grow to love. Later on, my class took a trip to Ashland, and I was blown away by the OSF productions I saw. The minute I left, I wanted to return … and I did. I found myself at Camelot Theatre’s open audition and was cast in "The Producers," the opportunity that jump-started my Rogue Valley career. Since then, I’ve been lucky to have worked with many inspiring directors that have shaped me into the actor I am today. Too many to list, but they know who they are!

JG: Tell us a bit about current and future projects.

ER: Currently I am tapping away in "Spamalot" at the Camelot. Once in every season, there comes a show like this — full of fun, laughs, and joy at every turn. In all seriousness, I’ve had a lot of fun building this show, and putting my dancing shoes on again. This has been such a great cast to work with and the jokes are a-plenty. For my next project I will be playing George Deever in "All My Sons" at Camelot, directed by Mark Schneider. The depth of the character will be a departure from my comedic/musical forte, but I wanted to take on this part after one reading. After that, I’ll continue to audition at various theaters and see what new adventures await me.

— Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Daily Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at gillespie.jeffrey@gmail.com.