(personal) bio *
(about a kid from Ohio)
I was born & raised in Columbus, Ohio - where I first appeared on stage with my dad, Mark Avers, in Players Theater's production of The Royal Family. Quiet as an infant, my charming (if forceful) mother Jody Daulton convinced the director to use me as the On-Stage Baby. Apparently at the end of the play, as the family matriarch held me aloft and said, 'To the next great actor of our time', I broke the stillness, reaching up to touch her face - audience & critics alike were pleased, and the Dispatch's review said, "Brian Avers does remarkably well, considering he's up past his bed-time." Not too shabby! ;)
Despite this auspicious beginning, I was a shy, sensitive kid - reader, poet, music lover & sports fan who dreamed of living in Maine & writing novels like Stephen King - or being so good at tennis, I might one day lose at Wimbledon - which all changed when I fell by accident into Thomas Worthington High School's remarkable theater program, headed by legend Bronwynn Hopton, where in two years, I acted in classics like Antigone, Oklahoma!, You Can't Take It With You, The Skin of Our Teeth, Wait Until Dark and the title role in Moliere's classic, Tartuffe, which toured Ohio & all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1996 - earning awards & applause & arming this particular teenager with a lifetime of memories & the echoes of thunderous laughter... Best of times!
training & early work
I was a national finalist for the Donna Reed Fellowship in 1996, before attending Marymount Manhattan College for my BFA in Acting (in a wonderful program) - in the fall of '99, I trained at BADA in London - and back in NYC, I started producing small plays, performing as legendary comic Lenny Bruce, directing Stephen Belber's Tape, starring in Conor McPherson's Rum & Vodka, and enjoying my Equity debut in New Jersey Shakespeare's Pericles.
In 2003, I was accepted to NYU's MFA program, where I was one of only twelve artists to receive the Alberto Vilar Global Fellowship (earned through a national audition, this remains one of my proudest achievements) - at NYU, I was blessed to train with teachers like Ron Van Lieu, Janet Zarish & the great Zelda Fichlander, performing as Leontes in Winter's Tale, the title role in Uncle Vanya, Bernard Nightengale in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, and part of Chuck Mee's incredible Perfect Wedding.
Meanwhile, I created & directed a new play about life in America, Jesse Garon Lives, developed with Kit Wannen (The Producers) & Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces, Enlisted) - an all-time experience -and through NYU's Freeplay, I co-created a one-woman show with Stephanie Fieger, Flying Lesson, while performing Harold Pinter's excruciatingly prescient One for the Road, directed by the Flea's (incredible) Niegel Smith... personal highlights, even if we never did make People magazine!
In 2006, I made my Broadway debut covering five roles in Martin McDonagh's Lieutenant of Inishmore - when lead actor & Tony nominee David Wilmot lost his voice, I found myself playing Padraic for nearly 40 shows - an initiation as terrifying as it was exhilarating. Soon after, I was cast as Edgar in the Public Theater's production of King Lear with Kevin Kline, directed by James Lapine, opposite Logan Marshall Green & Michael Cerveris - while doing first screen gigs like indie comedy Gigantic (opposite Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel), Julie/Julia (directed by Nora Ephron), my rite of initiation on the original Law & Order, and the pilot episode of Castle for ABC - (I was the first ever guy who 'did it')...
I popped up on web series iChannel & First World Problem, one-acts My Dog Heart at EST, Itamar Moses' Szinhaz with Naked Angels, & celebrated productions of ART, Black Comedy & The Violet Hour at Barrington Stage, returning to Broadway in Tom Stoppard's personal & powerful Rock N' Roll, directed by Trevor Nunn, opposite Rufus Sewell, Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack & Alice Eve - a stunning play, world-class artists - a special family...
Then I headed out west, joining NCIS & NCIS: Los Angeles as Agent Mike Renko, with appearances in The Closer, Medium & Numb3rs, and on stage, playing central provocateur Max Barrett in Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw at South Coast Rep, dir. by Pam MacKinnon - back in NYC, I joined delicious stage premieres including Itamar Moses' Completeness at Playwrights Horizons, Nell Benjamin's The Explorer's Club at MTC and Poor Behavior by Theresa Rebeck at Primary Stages, with more guest spots on procedurals like Person of Interest, Elementary, Unforgettable, Blue Bloods, Instinct, and Law & Order: SVU.
In 2013, I directed & co-created my first feature film, indie comedy The Weekend, produced by Sunnyside Films & starring an incredible ensemble of NYU actors - Carson Elrod, Heather Lind, Julie Sharbutt, Bhavesh Patel, Amber Gray, Vayu O'Donnell, Gretchen Hall, David Ross, Jeremy Rishe, Stacey Linnartz, Joe Paulik & Stacey Yen - together we made a funny, affecting, improv-driven movie about the power of friendship. PBS soon featured us on Saturday Night at the Movies - check us out at theweekendfilm.com.
no sleep 'til...
I recently returned to Broadway, trading blows with multiple-Tony Winner Frank Langella in Florian Zeller's The Father, directed by Doug Hughes at Manhattan Theater Club - leapt into Tom Stoppard's Travesties at Roundabout for 4 shows as James Joyce (amazing!) - and a surprising 45-show run opposite Kerry Washington in gut-wrenching American Son at the Booth Theater - another profound experience - another blessing. Offstage, I gained a bit of notoriety when Derrek Coss and I produced The Buckeye Brothers Podcast, an irreverent take on Ohio State football. We're now on hiatus - but the mic keeps humming, as I've provided VO for national brands like Applebee's, Samsung, Gold Bond ft. Shaquille O'Neal, and video games including Rockstar's current smash, Red Dead Redemption 2.
And in the meantime, I've returned to my childhood obsession with writing - scripting pilots & features while developing a few books, plays - even poetry in the works. I give up on Wimbledon (but maybe one day for my energetic son Bodhi)... I've also felt compelled to increase my voice as an activist, speaking up for democracy - equal rights, voting rights, fair wages, science education, a healthy vision for a shared future - and along the way hopefully bringing attention to the legacy of my beloved grandparents, Bob & Joanne Avers - Ohio missionaries who gave their lives to the poor & "loved everyone who walked in the door". After raising four children & serving in Ethiopia for 15 years, they joined Jimmy Carter's Habitat for Humanity, building homes for communities in Utah, West Virginia & Columbus. After finally "retiring", Joanne taught at inner city schools & Bob drove the sick & poor to their appointments - serving many churches, neighbors and numerous grandchildren, until both passed in recent years. Bob & Joanne represented the best possibilities of faith, in a life of service & love. Every day they hugged someone, every day they praised Jesus, every day they adored each other... True story.
Here in 2019, as I reflect on these words & memories, it's overwhelming to think of everyone who has supported, surprised, guided & goaded me along this path. My grandparents were the early morning light - and now, how lucky I am to share this day with you.
You know where to find me.