NEW YORK – Gregory Perri loves coming home to Vista. The 34-year old actor, who grew up in the bucolic hamlet of Lewisboro says he now appreciates the beauty and spaciousness of the area—one where his parents still have a home.
“Whenever I go back, I remember my childhood that was very fun and safe; playing baseball, the recreation department, the camps in the summer,” he said. “It was very easy to be engaged, it was a very good town in that way.”
The John Jay High School graduate credits the district’s thriving arts program as the foundation for his interest in acting and music. He remembers teachers Jeff Richardson and Steve Morse at the high school as being very welcoming—and says he feels grateful for the exposure to various art forms that the school provided him.
After graduating from Binghamton University with a double major in history and theater, Perri earned an MFA in acting at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. His acting resume grew as he appeared in film roles, on television, in regional theater and on Broadway, and the likable performer said his love of acting has always been based in his appreciation of the art as a form of expression.
“As you do it longer and longer, and as you get older, you start to become part of a community that wants to talk about issues in our society: about stories, about things that we care about which is in the end what all stories, all movies and plays are doing anyway,” he said.
Perri’s most recent local role has been at The Schoolhouse Theater & Arts Center in North Salem, starring in “The Dog in The Dressing Room,” a romantic comedy by playwright Deborah Savadge which finished its run on July 1.
Although he certainly loves to work on stage, there were a few great film opportunities early in his career that confirmed his interest in movie roles and in writing original material.
“My first basic job out of school was a movie called ‘Not Fade Away’ from David Chase, who created ‘The Sopranos,’” he said. “It was really awesome because in addition to the fact that I had a pretty good role in it, we were in a band—I had to get lessons—but we literally played, so it was like a dream job; I got to do a job where I was a drummer in a rock band and in a movie at the same time–it was pretty cool.”
Also cool was working on legendary director Martin Scorcese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Perri had a small role as a broker, but explained that he spent over a month filming alongside actors like Leonardo DiCaprio.
“While my role might not have been really large I was there for a substantial amount of filming,” Perri said. “I got to see Scorcese work with some of the bigger actors and do all their scenes, all their speeches and I got to watch basically how it all works. It was a pretty amazing experience, especially with somebody like Martin Scorcese—that is like a dream come true.”
Other places you might have caught this Lewisboro native at work include the TV series “The Good Wife” as well as “The Jack and Triumph Show.”
Now living in New York City, Perri looks forward to continuing his acting career with interesting and dynamic projects—including writing and producing original work, given the many outlets now available, he said.
“It’s certainly not an easy profession, so you’ve got to really like to do it; not just to be famous or anything—it’s to express something and to communicate,” he said.