From writing and directing to acting, Wesley Taylor shares how he does it all

It’s safe to say that School of Drama alumnus Wesley Taylor (B.F.A. '08) likes to stay busy. His Broadway credits include the original casts of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Addams Family” and “Rock of Ages.” He has co-created numerous web series and feature films. He has even returned to UNCSA as a guest artist, both in person to work with current students and virtually, to talk with admitted students. 

Most recently, Taylor joined the cast of the Emmy-winning Hulu original series "Only Murders in the Building" alongside original cast members Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin, who play a trio that solves crimes while podcasting. Premiering August 2023, the third season features the trio as they work to learn who murdered Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd). 

Additionally, Taylor and longtime creative partner Alex Wyse recently premiered their feature-length film "Summoning Sylvia," which currently boasts a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film follows a group of friends on a gay bachelor party trip who accidentally summon a sinister spirit. 

School of Drama alumnus Wesley Taylor with his creative partner Alex Wyss. / Photo: Jenny Anderson

School of Drama alumnus Wesley Taylor with his creative partner Alex Wyse. / Photo: Jenny Anderson

Taylor and Wyse have collaborated on a number of other projects in the past, including the Indie Series Award-winning web series "Indoor Boys," which "follows two homebody roommates figuring out the boundaries of their no-boundaries friendship." Taylor and Wyse also co-star in the series as roommates Luke and Nate. Veanne Cox (“Cinderella,” “Erin Brockovich,”) who plays Luke’s mother, received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actress in a Digital Series category for her work on the show.

We caught up with Taylor to learn more about his time at UNCSA and discuss how the newest chapters of his career.


Tell us about any current and/or upcoming projects you’re working on:

Creatively, as of summer 2023, Alex and I have several cool projects in development. Our next feature film is slated to start production in the winter. Our one-woman show has just attached a producer, director, and casting director. Additionally, "Summoning Sylvia" will have its streaming premiere on a major platform this October (to be announced soon).
As an actor, you can catch me this fall, recurring in the new season of Hulu’s "Only Murders in the Building" or in person at Goodspeed, playing ‘Doubting Thomas’ in a new musical called "The Twelve" which is "a universal story of love and how each of us must eventually navigate the loss of whatever we hold most dear" directed by John Doyle. 

What was your experience coming into a show like “Only Murders in the Building” as a new cast member after it has already had two seasons?

While I actually hadn’t been watching the series until I got the offer, I then binged the first two seasons and I found myself extremely aligned with the show’s tone and sensibility. The audition sides felt like I wrote them, and my audition for the team was thrillingly fun. This is uncommon in my experience, so I wasn’t very nervous. I was just excited and ready to enter this new world. 

What was your inspiration for the story “Summoning Sylvia”?

The pandemic gave Alex and me the time and focus to meet virtually daily and write. We churned out a couple of full-length scripts before "Summoning Sylvia," but we were trying to finance them by attaching name talent, which can take a long time, and we are impatient. We had been watching a lot of horror and disaster-type movies during the pandemic. We started asking ourselves questions like, "While we wait for these other projects to see the light of day, why don’t we do something low budget and under the radar similar to 'Indoor Boys?' What would our characters look like in a horror movie?"

How do you apply what you learned at UNCSA in your career?

The technical skills are in the daily toolbox: phonetics when learning a new dialect, voice and speech warm-ups, combat/singing/movement/alexander technique. But also, there's that way of working that I would never have had pre-B.F.A. The only way I know how to open up a script and dive in, or start preparing for a role at all, is from what I learned at school. 

The only way I know how to open up a script and dive in, or start preparing for a role at all, is from what I learned at school.

Wesley Taylor

Why did you choose UNCSA?

I knew of the school's reputation. I went to a performing arts high school in Florida, and we took a college tour visiting places like NCSA, Juilliard, NYU, etc. When we toured the campus, I just fell in love. I knew I needed a conservatory-style program, but I couldn't attend school in NYC, Chicago, or even LA... I know myself. I would've gotten distracted or auditioned for things and probably would have needed more time to finish the four years. In the middle of the woods felt like a good place to stay focused.

Taylor in the 2015 Signature Theatre production of "Cabaret" where he starred as 'The Emcee.' / Photo: James Gardiner Taylor as villain 'Sheldon Plankton' in the original Broadway cast of "SpongeBob SquarePants." / Photo: Joan MarcusTaylor appeared in both seasons of NBC's musical drama "Smash" as 'Bobby.' Taylor starring in the original Broadway Cast of "The Addams Family" as Wednesday Addams' love interest 'Lucas Beineke.'

What advice would you like to share with current or prospective students?

Sometimes it's hard to see the forest through the trees, to trust and have patience. I've always been result-oriented and ambitious, so this was a hard one for me. Sometimes the training can feel infuriating, and the ego required to be a confident actor who's comfortable in their own skin also makes it hard to stay vulnerable and receptive to criticism at all times. But challenge yourself to soak it all up as much as you can. 

What have been your career's highlights or most significant moments so far?

Significant moments from my acting career so far include the opening night of my Broadway debut, “Rock of Ages,” performing at the 2009 Tony Awards and shooting my first episode on "Smash." The recent addition of working with Martin Short, Steve Martin and Meryl Streep on "Only Murders in the Building" has also been significant. 

A few of my writing career highlights would be the New York Times piece about my web series “It Could be Worse” getting acquired by Hulu, getting my first short play published and pacing in the back of a theater where Stockard Channing and Nathan Lane performed my short plays in front of a sold-out audience. Additionally, having my first feature film as a writer/director be at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes three months after release. 

Did you have an influential faculty or staff mentor at UNCSA?

Gerald Freedman's impact on me was profound. I wouldn't even know where to begin with what I gained from Bob Francesconi. I had some crazy breakthroughs in Mary Irwin's Shakespeare class. Matt Bulluck and Tanya Belov were monumental.

Wesley Taylor in West Side Story

Taylor (second from left) as a member of the Jets in the 2007 UNCSA production of "West Side Story," directed by Drama Dean Emeritus Gerald Freedman.

by Melissa Upton-Julio

Originally published July 16, 2020
Updated June 21, 2023

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