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April 21, 2016

Out and About

Noah Galvin of ABC's The Real O'Neals has something to say.

Paula Hendrickson
  • Damon Baker/Jed Root

He may be new to television, but 21 year old Noah Galvin already has an impressive list of theater credits, including the national touring production of Les Miserables.

He's now playing teenage son Kenny in ABC's new comedy, The Real O'Neals, about a Catholic family learning to deal with some issues that they've been sweeping under the rug.

"I wanted this part so badly," says Galvin, whose character comes out as gay at a church function, where parishioners get an earful of the family's secrets. "It was this special feeling — you find this connection and feel this twinge inside of you."

He had back-to-back auditions the day he tested for the role. With the first — also for a comedy — he read two scenes for a group of 30 and was out the door within five minutes.

His O'Neals test, for an audience of 10, took 45 minutes.

"Our director, Todd Holland, sat me down and said, 'I love your tape. I have some notes I want to work out. We're going to do this until we have the perfect test tape.' And he did," Galvin recalls.

"He worked with me until I had every angle, look and joke exactly the way he wanted — and also felt right for the character and for me." Coming from theater, Galvin thrives on such interaction with directors. "It was the first time I'd ever left a test feeling I'd really proved what I could do as an actor." By week's end, he'd landed the role.

Galvin loves being part of the ensemble comedy, but also relishes telling Kenny's story. "As a gay man, I see it as an opportunity to play a character I can really relate to," he says, "and use it as a chance to shed some light on the experience of coming out.

"Dan Savage [a non-writing executive producer] consulted with me a lot throughout the pilot. He'd say that on a daily basis, kids are getting kicked out of their homes for coming out to their families, so it's important to tell the story of a coming-out experience that has some struggles in it."

And, apparently, some laughs.

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