By Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly
If you still carry fond memories of Scott Lowell’s portrayal of Ted on Showtime’s breakthrough series “Queer As Folk,” you’re not alone.
Lowell is still regularly recognized on the street for the role, and answers questions on his website about it from fans around the world.
Since the show left the air in 2005, he’s kept busy with guest appearances on TV and major theater roles in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Portland’s Artist’s Repertory Theater has lured Lowell to the Rose City for its season opening play “The Big Meal,” (through Oct. 6) helmed by new ART artistic director Dámaso Rodriguez.
Lowell took time for a Q & A with PQ about QAF, his work at the famed Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, and what fans can expect from “The Big Meal.”
PQ: I hear you’re being recognized here in Portland from your iconic performance in “Queer as Folk.” What are the responses like? What kind of connection do you think people have with your character?
Lowell: It’s so rewarding that 8 years after finishing filming the series (and 13 years after it first aired) people not only still recognizing me for my work on QAF but that they feel the need to come up and meet me and tell me how much the show meant to them. It truly was a groundbreaking show and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it. I think a lot of people can relate to “Ted” and his search to learn to love himself before he was ready to truly love and be loved by someone else. There’s something very universal about him that people seemed to really love … and at times hate. The Portland fans I’ve met have been so generous and kind and I certainly hope they can all come see “The Big Meal” at ART to see what I’m up to now.
PQ: Since QAF you’ve done guest appearances on TV shows and stage roles. Do you like the balance? Would you like another feature TV role?
Lowell: I do love the balance because work on camera and work on stage both have different needs and appeal to different aspects of what I love to do as an actor. I hope I can always maintain the balance. I would love to be a regular on another series. It’s such a special and unique experience to spend that much time working on a character and to take him on such a long journey … and knowing where your next paycheck is coming from ain’t such a bad thing either!
PQ: You’ve worked with the famed Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. Can you talk about the experience? Did you work with either John Malkovich or Gary Sinise?
Lowell: Yeah, I did two shows with them. One was a production of “Twelfth Night” and the other was going in as the fourth “Picasso” in the original production of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” The place is magical and I was SO thrilled to get to work there with that incredible ensemble. That company represents all that I believe in as far as acting. I’m so proud of all my friends who continue to work there and thrive and sure hope I get to return myself someday. I did not get to work with John Malkovich there and didn’t work with Gary until an episode of CSI:NY recently.
PQ: Dámaso Rodriguez is the new Artistic Director at ART here in Portland. You’ve worked with him in Los Angeles, and are in his maiden production here. Can you tell us what we might expect from him? What do you enjoy about collaborating with him?
Lowell: Portland is so fortunate to land Dámaso. He’s a wonderfully gifted director and one of the most open collaborators I’ve worked with. He will bring SO much to this community. There’s no ego with Dámaso. He comes into every situation ready to hear and learn from the ideas of those he works with and then after he’s been inspired by all those thoughts he is able to brilliantly hone whatever he is working on into a piece of art that TRULY reflects everyone involved. That’s why I love working with him and hope to do so many more times in the future.
PQ: Since appearing on “Queer as Folk” you’ve done work with GLAAD and HRC. Is that something you’re still involved with? Do you have any plans to pitch in with the Oregon United for Marriage campaign?
Lowell: I really loved the political “voice” that working on QAF gave me and was so happy to lend it as a straight ally to GLAAD and HRC. Sadly, after the show went off the air I seem to have lost my value to them and the phone no longer rings with requests to help. I’m always happy to help ANY organization that is fighting for equality for all my LGBT brothers and sister.
PQ: You play “Man #2” in “The Big Meal,” a play about time, family and relationships. Please tell us a little about the play and your connections with the material.
Lowell: “The Big Meal” is an amazing play that takes us through over 50 years in a family’s history with all scenes set at meals in restaurants. You see a couple meeting, falling in love, starting a family and facing all the complications and losses that come with that. The audience will end up meeting five generations of this family. The scenes all flow one into another and actors take over roles from one another as the characters age and grow. It will literally have you laughing hysterically one second and sobbing the next. Dan LeFranc is a brilliant playwright, in my opinion. I knew as soon as Dámaso sent me the script that I HAD to do this play. It’s an ensemble piece (always my favorite type) at it’s best. It resonates SO much with me as a man midway through this journey of life reminding me so much of all that I have experienced and giving me insight into all that is yet to come. Doing this play is a definite career highlight and I LOVE getting to go to Artists Rep every night to perform it!