Here's my story in my own words.
I was born during a hurricane at Lenox Hill Hospital on the east side of Manhattan. At one point during the lengthy delivery the doctor came into see my mother, offered her a drink and a cigarette, informed her that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck, and that they had done all they could. Things looked bad. The doctor suggested that my mother have a drink and a smoke and pray. She managed all three and I arrived intact.
My father grew up in Pennsylvania, the son of a coal miner and through hard work, my grandfather's foresight and a lot of help from the nuns at school he and his brothers were able to work their way through the University of Notre Dame and became the first Gallaghers in their family to work above ground. A tradition we strive to continue.
Well after college, my dad took part in the Normandy invasion in WWll and after the war went on to work in the billboard business, advertising liquor and cigarettes.
My mother is a first generation American and through public education was able to become a bacteriologist. In an effort to keep an eye on her big brother who was badly wounded in WWll, she got a job in Washington D.C.'s Walter Reed Army Hospital. She was assigned to a small group of researchers who succeeded in developing a better way for penicillin to help the wounded troops. We have a picture somewhere of her standing in the Oval Office in the White House with President Eisenhower and her research team.
Just before I was born, my family moved from the Bronx to our new apartment at 85 Bronx River Road in Yonkers, New York where I soon joined them.
About six years later we moved about 30 miles north to a beautiful, rural town called Armonk, NY where I grew up and first got involved with theatre at Byram Hills High School.
While at Tufts University I worked for three seasons with the newly formed Boston Shakespeare Company and did a lot of other shows at school and around Boston. Summers were spent painting houses and working at The Priscilla Beach Theatre in Whitehorse Beach, Massachusetts.
During one summer at UC Berkeley I studied non-western economic thought and statistics, in an effort to graduate early and see if I could imagine life without theatre. I discovered I had no aptitude for or interest in economics or business and couldn't imagine life without theatre. I resolved to finish school and give myself six or seven years to make a living onstage (I hadn't dreamed of movies yet). Fortunately, I didn't have to wait that long.
The Broadway shows "Hair" and "Grease" were offering "open calls". An open call is where anyone can sign up and audition. You get there around dawn, sign up and then stand in line for about 8 hours before you go in and sing a few bars of a song. In both cases, there were well over a thousand people ahead of me. In another stroke of good fortune Vinnie Liff, a fabled Broadway casting director heard my song, said some kind words and gave me the courage to keep showing up.
After weeks of auditions I finally landed a spot in the Broadway revival of "Hair" and felt like the luckiest person in the world. After we had been previewing for many weeks, Vinnie Liff offered me the role of Danny Zuko in a Bus and Truck tour of "Grease". I asked Tom O'Horgan, the director of Hair, if I could leave the show and do "Grease" on tour and see some of America and play the lead in a show, and maybe even get a ride on an airplane.
I didn't have an agent yet and didn't realize that you just didn't ask to leave a Broadway show before it opened, but Tom and the producers must have realized it was an innocent request and "Hair" being "Hair" let me do "Grease". I realize now it was an extraordinarily humane and generous thing to do.
I eventually made it to the Broadway company of "Grease," and since then have done over 1500 performances in eight Broadway shows. At eight performances a week they add up faster than you might think, but it's still a good workout. I also worked in regional theatre, mostly at the Long Wharf Theatre in Connecticut.
Shortly after "Grease" I auditioned along with a lot of other hopefuls for "The Idolmaker" and again after many auditions I was lucky enough to land a great part. "The Idolmaker" was my first film and one I'm still proud of.
That's pretty much how I got started.
Since then there have been many more movies and many more performances of one kind or another most of which you can learn more about here.
Like any career I can think of, there have been ups and downs and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
I've had the great privilege of working with some of the greatest actors of our time in some great plays and movies and studied with some great teachers. I still love what I do and I still feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.
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