We had the good fortune of connecting with Stewart J. Zully and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stewart J., how do you think about risk?
As an artist it is important to be objective about how far out on a limb you should go. I had the opportunity to co-produce a film in LA with some name stars, but I also had my full time job to deal with back in New York. Through co-ordinating it out, I was able to do both. Other instances, it’s important to weigh your options and have perspective. As far as artistic choices, it is always important to keep challenging yourself, to help you grow. Uta Hagen said, “Your art is your choices.” Never forget that the next best thing to getting a job is turning one down. It reminds you that you are in control.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been an actor for over 40 years, a director for part of that time and, more recently, a writer. I often say, in school I was taught to act, but I was not taught how to be an actor. It’s important to learn how to deal with the word “no,” since actors will hear that all the time. You must firmly believe in yourself and your talent before anyone else will. In the past years I have been more conscientious in choosing projects that have social relevance. During the pandemic I wrote and directed two short films available for free on Youtube, the front lines and Two Steps Back, both about how resilient we are during this unusual and challenging time. I am less concerned with entertaining my audience than I am in trying to get us to understand who we are as people. I recently came out with my memoir, MY LIFE IN YANKEE STADIUM; 40 Years as a Vendor and Other Tales of Growing Up Somewhat Sane in The Bronx, and in one chapter I raise the point that “We are all minorities; it just depends where you are standing.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to Versailles, for the best Cuban chicken ever, and also Musso and Frank’s for a cocktail, the over 100 year old watering hole where WC Fields and others drank and had fun. I would take them to the Grand Central Market to meet people, taste different foods, and take in the hustle and bustle of this great city. We would have to ride up the coast on the PCH-people come from all over the world to check out surfers and see the great Pacific Ocean. And I would have a party in my backyard and show off my wonderful friends…all vaccinated, of course.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife, Sharon March. She helps me sort out my choices, encourages me, challenges me…all of it. We were together many years ago, then lost touch for 24 years. She then saw me in a commercial, contacted me, and we were able to thankfully get back together. She brings insight and perspective to my artistic choices, as she is a fine artist and graphic designer. I am blessed to have her back in my life.
Youtube: Stewart J. Zully
Left to right, top to bottom 1. the front lines, a short film by Stewart J. Zully 2. Two Steps Back, a short film by Stewart J. Zully 3. My Life in Yankee Stadium, memoir 4. from the stage play Nowhere on The Border, by Carlos Lacámara 5. from the stage play Martha, by Elle Malaver 6. from the stage play Two Sisters, by Gail Louw