Suited up in military inspired styles, amid the ruins of a sunswept urban wasteland, Alley Theatre actors Michael Brusasco and Jay Sullivan report for duty. By Daniel Renfrow, Photos by Julie Soefer
THIS FALL TWO of the city’s most admired leading men — Michael Brusasco, 39, and Jay Sullivan, 35, both New Yorkers still fairly new to the company — will costar in the Alley Theatre’s highly anticipated and sure-to-be frenetic production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a funny-sexy love letter to its playwright, William Shakespeare himself, on the 400th anniversary of his death.
Rumor has it the Bard’s greatest comedy, running Oct. 7-Nov. 5, is to be retold with revealing costumes and an edgy, steampunk vibe. But the heart of the story is, well, the heart of the story. “When you’re in love, you’re f***ing crazy,” says Brusasco, who plays the romance-challenged Demetirius in the production. “I think that’s one of the beautiful things about Midsummer. You get to watch people fall in love and go a little crazy.”
This fashion shoot — made in and around a vast, artfully decaying former rice mill and automotive graveyard in the Greater Fifth Ward — also channels a steampunk sensibility. And, like Shakespeare’s play, is largely set outdoors. The actors slip in and out of military-inspired looks by Ferragamo, Brunello Cuccinelli, Bottega Veneta and others to deliver winning shots, with few complaints about the late-summer heat. “You know Houston,” laughs Brusasco. “It’s like being in a nice bowl of soup, a nice bowl of pho. New York is hot, but it’s not hot like this.” It’s the first time Sullivan — Midsummer’s mischievous elf Puck — has ever tried his hand at fashion modeling. But he thinks he might already be a pro. “Changing clothes is the easiest part of my job,” he laughs. “I’ve got that down to a science.”