Willy Russell’s long running West End and Broadway hit Blood Brothers will be lighting up Los Angeles’ 99-seat theater scene beginning October 18th at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Busy L.A. musical theater actor Eduardo Enrikez stars opposite Pamela Taylor in the role of Mickey, separated from identical twin brother Eddie (Ryan Nealy) almost from birth. Eduardo is also co-producing the project (with Laura Coker), under the direction of Bryan Rasmussen.

Eduardo (l.) with “twin” Ryan Nealy in Blood Brothers (Photo: Ed Krieger)

The handsome and talented young actor was born in Mexico City but began his professional acting career in London, appearing in (among others) the West End Production of “The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare, as Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and at The Edinburg Festival in “Dangerous Games.” In Los Angeles, Eduardo has appeared in numerous stage productions. He also workshopped “Zorro The Musical”, “Big City” “Opal” in London and “Polyester The Musical” and “Just say Yes” in Los Angeles. Eduardo has written the title song for the animated movie “Sabel,” opening in theaters next year.  His film credits include Dog Tags, Jornada al Norte and Emilio.

Eduardo (l.) in Hercules On Normandie

Eduardo kissing bellboy Danny Bolero in Is This Any Way to Start A Marriage?

Between performances of Ragtime, currently playing at the Hudson Backstage Theatre, and rehearsing Blood Brothers, Eduardo somehow found time to sit down and answer our questions!

Eduardo, I understand you were born in Mexico City.  Did you grow up in Mexico or in the States?  

I was born in Mexico City, but actually I grew up in Connecticut for the first 9 years of my life, so I learned English and Spanish at the same time. Then I moved back to Mexico at the age of 10.

How did you end up studying musical theater in London? 

In my family you needed a college degree before being able to venture into the performance arts, so I went there first to study Film and Video at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design. After my three-year university course, I applied to some musical theater schools in London and New York and decided to attend the one-year Musical Theater course at the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating, my career just took off from there.  Who Knew?

Did you always plan on being an actor?

Acting was never in the cards growing up.  I thought I was going to be a professional soccer player, but I lacked the discipline when it mattered.  What can I say? In Mexico you can start drinking at the age of 16. Add woman to the mix and sports takes a back seat after a while.  When I was 16, I saw Les Miserables and Phantom on Broadway and they spoke to me like nothing else ever had. That’s when my love for theater first started.

Tell us about playing the title role in the London Premiere of Eating Raoul The Musical. How exciting was it for you to be playing that role, and in London!

I had just graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, so to be given the lead in my first professional musical was a dream come true.  The funny thing is I wasn’t cast at first.  The guy they had before dropped out to due getting cast in Napoleon the Musical. I got the call and took full advantage.  Things happen for a reason. I was young and unafraid and full of cojones,  which I think helped me shine through.

You also toured Europe in Hair.  What countries did you perform in?  

We did the Nordic countries.

Where was the rest of the cast from? 

Most of the cast came from London. A couple were from Norway.

What was the most memorable part of the tour for you? 

I have to say the Oslo Spektrum was a crazy moment.  We performed in front of 7000 people each night.  Talk about getting naked. Talk about stage freight.  It was cold!

How long were you in London? 

I lived in London for 7 years.

That must have been so exciting and interesting for you! Besides Raoul and Hair, what was your best professional memory of the time you spent there?

One of the best memories was being able to do Shakespeare in the West End. I don’t think many Mexicans can say that.  Quite an honor.

What made you decide to pack your bags and come to the States to pursue your career?

I left London to do a TV show in Mexico. My contract was for a year. I thought it was the perfect time to venture into new waters after that

Now that you’ve done a bunch of musicals in Los Angeles, how different is it doing theater here as opposed to across the Atlantic?

In L.A. it’s on a smaller scale but more rewarding. I’ve always enjoyed intimate theater. There’s no hiding. You have to be at your best each night cause the audience can smell you, taste you, breathe you.  I love that!

I first saw your work in Hercules On Normandie, a “Magical Play With Music,” which I very much enjoyed, but would find hard to categorize.  You’ve since gone on to roles as diverse as the title role in Bat Boy The Musical, the young bridegroom in the screwball Is This Any Way To Start A Marriage, and one I particularly enjoyed, the kids’ musical School House Rock. What appealed to you about these very different roles?


Eduardo in Schoolhouse Rock Live!

I like to challenge myself in different roles. I don’t want to pigeon hole myself as a one-trick pony.  I love to embody all types of characters.

Most recently you’ve been playing Harry Houdini in the 99-seat Premiere of Ragtime The Musical, which I was very impressed with.  How difficult was it to put together such a monumental show in such a small space? 

Eduardo and Ragtime costar Josie Yount

I know.  Right?  But it works. Bonnie McMahan and her MTLA team had a vision that many of us would have not even ventured into, and pulled off one of the finest productions that I have been involved in. Theater can be a magical thing and this is one of those great examples

And now you’re going to star in Blood Brothers, which I don’t recall having been done in a 99-seat L.A. theater before.  What is it about Willy Russell’s musical that appeals to you? 

The great thing about Blood Brothers is that it’s an actor’s musical.  You can take the music away and the book is so rich and powerful that it’s really moving.  Add great music to it and you have a special show. There’s a reason it’s still running in London after 25 years. Having grown men portray seven-year-olds from that age to adulthood and being able to take on such rich yet complex characters is every actor’s dream.

You and your writing partner Mark Kemble are in pre-production for your screenplay San Miguel. Can you tell us something about this project? 

We’re securing financing at the moment.  It’s a character-driven story about a first generation Mexican American from L.A. who goes back to Mexico to rediscover his past. I guess when so many Mexicans are coming to the U.S., to have one venture back is quite exciting.

Film, TV, theater—as an L.A. actor, are you interested in doing all three?

Yes, of course, cause they’re all different in their respective ways.

What is your ultimate goal as a performer, or at least, where would you like to see yourself five years from now?

I’d like to keep challenging myself as an artistic human being.  There’s always more growth to be achieved, more moments to be enjoyed, more characters to be explored, more stories to be told. The not knowing is always intriguing.  It keeps me excited and prepared. I want to love, laugh, and enjoy the now.  I’ll never take it for granted.

Thanks so much, Eduardo. I’m looking forward to being there for opening night of Blood Brothers!

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

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