Noah Reid Talks Topical Broadway Debut and Singing on 'Outer Range' (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
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After breaking out with Schitt’s Creek, Noah Reid is back on screen and stage as he appears opposite Josh Brolin in the Prime Video series Outer Range and makes his Broadway debut in the Tracy Letts play The Minutes. While speaking with ET, the actor reflects on his groundbreaking role as Dan Levy’s onscreen partner, Patrick, and why Letts’ play drew him to Broadway.
Having officially opened on April 17 at Studio 54, Reid is now weeks into his Broadway debut and taking advantage of being on the New York stage. In the darkly humorous and topical play about a small-town city council meeting, the actor plays incoming member Mr. Peel, who quickly learns the quirks of his fellow council members while also discovering the dark truth about their home’s history.
“To me, the gift of this play is the incredible story that Tracy Letts has woven together,” Reid says, adding that the cast, which includes Austin Pendleton, Blair Brown and Jessie Mueller as well as Letts, “is full of incredible performers.”
As Mr. Peel, “I get to watch everyone do their thing. It’s truly a special experience,” he continues, explaining that as the outsider, he’s the audience’s way into the story. “I try to find the line between allowing myself to enjoy and fulfilling my character duty of thinking they’re all a bit nuts. But really, it’s very enjoyable to be the eyes of the audience.”
And as the play gets deeper into exploring the minutes -- the summarized record of a meeting -- at the center of the story, “I can feel the audience is checking in with me a little bit because Mr. Peel doesn’t have the same information,” he says, adding that “I can feel that we’re kind of experiencing the show at the same rate.”
While it’s hard to talk about the play without giving away too much about the story’s twists and turns, Reid says that its core theme about the way society makes decisions and how people are complicit in those decisions is what spoke to him. “The thing that resonates the most with me is this kind of placing yourself within this cage match for the soul of America,” he says.
Funnily enough, the play sees Reid exploring life in a small town after four seasons on Schitt's Creek, the beloved Pop TV comedy on which he played Patrick. (“A very different town,” he points out.) The role quickly became a fixture on the family comedy as Patrick and David’s (Levy) relationship blossomed on screen, with the two getting married in the series finale.
“That has turned into an iconic television relationship,” Reid says, acknowledging that he and Levy, who came to the opening night of The Minutes, will always be intrinsically linked. “For me, the thing that I take away the most is when you do these jobs, you hope that you gain a few friends for life. And I’m happy to say that’s been true of the cast of Schitt’s Creek. It’s nice to be able to continue to be in each other’s lives and support the work we’re all doing.”
The series not only made history at the 72nd Primetime Emmys by sweeping all four acting categories, but it has also garnered critical acclaim for its LGBTQ representation, a legacy that seems to have only grown stronger in the years since Schitt’s Creekended in 2020.
“Obviously, the message of the show was incredibly meaningful to people,” Reid says, noting how fans of the series have been showing up to the play. “And on a personal level, it allowed me to be part of other great projects, like The Minutes, like Outer Range. It’s given me an audience for my music career that wouldn’t have otherwise existed. It’s meaningful.”
While he continues to make music as a recording artist, recently releasing the third single (“Minneapolis”) from his upcoming album, Adjustments, many fans have discovered and continue to appreciate his musical chops thanks to his roles on Schitt’s Creek as well as Outer Range.
On the former, he famously covered Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best,” while on the latter, he’s been belting out renditions of Peter Gabriel, Fleetwood Mac and Juice Newton as Billy Tillerson, the youngest member of a Wyoming ranching family trying to take over the land owned by the Abbotts, led by Brolin.
“The era that he seems to love to sing is that kind of late-’70s through the ‘80s kind of vibe,” Reid says, before explaining that his character “experiences the world” through music. “These songs seem to arrive to Billy like prophetic visions. It’s a totally different way of experiencing music in a part that I’m playing, and it feels very character-driven.”
It’s also a far cry from what he was doing on Schitt’s Creek. “I really wanted to do something totally different and explore another side of my performance world,” Reid says, noting that both Outer Range and The Minutes have given him an opportunity “to shift gears and take myself outside of my comfort zone.”