Addicted to Producing

Published: November 1st 2010
in Culture » Stage

Daniella Forjè and Jonathan Shatzky star in "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea."
Pic: Courtesy of Jonathan Shatzky

Acting is anything but new to Jonathan Shatzky. The Montreal native who now lives in Toronto studied improv at the Theatre Ste. Catherine for three years. He’s acted in a number of original plays, including Homeroom and the award-winning U.N.T.I.T.L.E.D. (which he co-wrote). His TV credits include Flashpoint and the upcoming Showcase series, XIII.  


Producing on the other hand, is completely new to Shatzky -- and it’s safe to say he’s caught the producing bug. Shatzky is starring in a production of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, which he produced. The dark comedy -- on stage in Toronto at Pia Bouman School’s Scotiabank Studio Theatre until Nov. 6 -- is the brain child of Oscar-winner John Patrick Shanley. Shatzky talks to Shalom Life about the play and his upcoming projects. 


What drew you to Danny and the Deep Blue Sea?


The first thing that drew me to the play was the incredible writing of John Patrick Shanley. He is a marvelous storyteller and creates fascinating relationships between his characters. However, in terms of the play specifically, I found that I could relate very strongly to the character of Danny. He is someone who is at the core very sensitive and vulnerable, but who will go to great lengths to hide these parts of himself. He is someone who desperately wants to communicate and connect with someone, but has absolutely no idea how to do that.


Were you a fan of John Patrick Shanley before the play? 


I was a fan but didn't know it. I always liked the movie Moonstruck and then found out later that Mr. Shanley wrote it.


What sort of things did you do to prepare for the role?


Danny, as our director Michael Kash says, is a "live wire."  He is constantly on the edge of being set off. There is an element of danger that is always present within him and capturing that sense of violence was the most difficult part of my preparation and, to be quite honest, not very pleasant. Once you push yourself to embody that mentality it is very difficult to get away from it and I noticed it creeping into my own life in terms of minor incidents of road rage or impatience with loved ones.


You’ve done both theatre and TV work. Do you prefer one over the other?


They are completely different animals. I'm a big fan of the craft services truck on film sets -- it's like having your own convenience store where everything is free -- so that is definitely a great thing about film/TV. But really, there is nothing like the experience of the theatre where you are so intimately involved with the emotions of an audience. Too close to call on that one.


What’s it been like producing your first show?


It has been an incredible, life-altering experience. It is so satisfying to be able to manifest dreams into reality. Three and a half years ago I found this play and said to myself that "I have to play this part one day." I am now playing this part everyday for three weeks. And to be able to go on this journey with a wonderful group of loving people on my side has been so meaningful to me.


Now that you’ve produced your first play, would you like to produce others?


Absolutely.  It's addictive. As an actor, you are constantly waiting for the phone to ring. Without a part, you don't have a job. Producing is very proactive and feels so much better than waiting. 


What’s next for you?


I am currently shooting some episodes for a new TV show that will be airing on Showcase in the spring called XIII where I get to play a CIA analyst.  It is a political espionage thriller kind of show.  After that, we'll see. Producing or bartending -- depending on how the show goes.


For more information about Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, visit

Related articles: (theatre, Jonathan Shatzky, Danny & the Deep Blue Sea, John Patrick Shanley)
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