Update Monday Dec. 2: Here's a link to my Sam Straley interview from Around Cincinnati Sunday night.
Original post Thursday, Nov. 29: Thanks to his Guardian Angels School education, actor Sam Straley is sort of an assistant director for church scenes on ABC's The Kids Are Alright.
"We do a lot of church stuff," says Straley, the Anderson Township native who plays oldest son Lawrence Cleary in the new fall sitcom about a blue collar Irish Catholic family with eight boys in the 1970s.
In my interview on Around Cincinnati airing 7 p.m. Sunday on WVXU-FM, Staley explains:
"We're doing this church scene, and I'm like teaching the kids what they have to do with their hands, because they're standing in the pews and their hands aren't folded. And I have to teach them: 'OK, boys, let's line up. You stand like this (in church). You sit like this. You pray like this.' "
I taped the interview with Straley the week before Thanksgiving, when he was home for the first time since production began in August. We chatted about ABC giving the sitcom a full-season order for 22 episodes; his Catholic education at Mount Washington's Guardian Angels School ("Go Angels!" he says); the long wig he wears on the show; his plans for his "hiatus" when the show wraps production in March; and his career goals.
Straley also talks about how his grandfather Roger Grooms -- a local teacher, theater director and movie/drama reviewer -- inspired his career choice, as I wrote in my Nov. 15 post, "Actor Sam Straley Makes His Grandpa Proud On ABC Sitcom."
He grew up in Anderson Township as a middle child, with an older and younger sister – quite different from the eight Cleary kids living in a home with one bathroom on the ABC comedy.
He's a bright, engaging young actor you'd want to root for even if he wasn't from Cincinnati. Here are a few comments you'll hear on Around Cincinnati:
BEING A GUARDIAN ANGELS ALTAR BOY: "It wasn't my thing. I fainted the first time I was an altar boy. I joined because I think I had a crush on someone, 'She's an altar girl. Maybe they'll pair us up.' It was not for me."
CROWDED HOUSE: "Mom comes from a huge Catholic family, so I sort of know what Lawrence is going through, in terms of a small space with a lot of people… My parents divorced when we were really, really young, and for a few months, when I was like a baby, we lived with her mom. So we were always at that house. And we always had so many people over, and like the whole family would be there, so I really could gauge what it was like to have so many people under one roof.
ACTING EXPERIENCE WHILE ATTENDING DePAUL UNIVERSITY IN CHICAGO: "I worked on Chicago P.D. two times. They were two completely different characters – but two bad guys. You know, shady boys."
HIS GRANDFATHER'S INSPIRATION: "I wouldn't be here without him. He'd take me to films growing up…. That's when I knew: That's what I want to do….
"I think about him all the time. I think of my grandma, who was an actress, his wife (Patricia Grooms), and how much they influenced me. Yeah, I really want to make them proud. This is a great opportunity to grow as an actor, and to get better. That's what I'm doing. So I really, really hope that I'm making them proud."
Around Cincinnati airs 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, on WVXU-FM, WMUB-FM and streaming at wvxu.org.