Fireside Chats with Cast Member James Scully
What should we know about James Scully?
James is an outgoing native New Yorker who grew up in a home with three generations of family. He describes it as being like Saturday Night Fever meets Home Alone meets Woody Allen’s Radio Days. He had close relationships with both his grandparents and great-grandparents and was exposed to an invaluable amount of local culture, which helped him become a passionate actor, writer, director and student of New York City history.
Along with being a native New Yorker, did you study and start working in NYC too? “Yes, I graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan, Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and have spent over a decade working in media for companies such as Condé Nast and Hearst.”
As well as being part of the Fireside family, you have your own podcast, don’t you?
“Yeah, I’m behind Breaking Walls, the monthly audio documentary on the history of American network radio broadcasting (also available on iTunes and everywhere else), and I’m currently in production on a new audio drama, Burning Gotham. I’m also a board member of The Society To Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy (S.P.E.R.D.V.A.C.).
When did you first fall in love with the medium of radio drama?
“The first radio play I ever listened to was on Christmas Day 1999 with my grandfather. My grandma bought him a box set of ‘Walter Cronkite Selects the 60 Greatest Radio Shows of the 20th Century’ from Radio Spirits. He asked me if I wanted to listen. Grandpa popped in an episode of X-Minus One. About five seconds later, I was hooked.”
When did you first get involved in Fireside Mystery Theatre?
“I was aware of the podcast for some time before attending my first show, Lost at Sea in January of 2018. The first show I appeared in as an actor was Sunken Harbor: K-I-S-S-I-N-G in April of 2019. I played a young street tough out for revenge who bites off more than he can chew!”
As a performer what do you find most satisfying about the process of audio drama?
“The ability to use the entirety of my imagination, conjured up in my body, and expressed with only my voice.”
Tell us about the character you’ve found most satisfying to play so far throughout your Fireside career and why?
“There is no one character I like best. What I enjoy most is having to embody a character well after a single rehearsal.”
Who is your favorite Fireside character you didn't play yourself?
“The Devil. There sssssomething very unssssettling about getting to play the Devil. Matt Roper did an excellent job as this character in January 2020’s All Aboard show.”
Which play that Fireside has produced are you proudest of and why?
“All Night Radio. The production techniques and ode to different eras of radio broadcasting history were well done and hit me in all the feels.”
When you’re not treading the boards at The Slipper Room performing in Fireside Mystery Theatre what occupies your time?
“I edit interviews for MARY Magazine. Oh! You mean hobbies? This is New York, sweet cheeks! Ain’t nobody got time for no unmonetized hobbies.”
Which podcast, aside from Fireside Mystery Theatre of course, do you listen to regularly, and what do you love about it?
“I listen to the network of Conrad Thompson podcasts, mainly Grilling J.R. with long-time Pro-Wrestling announcer Jim Ross. There are many things about the business side of professional wrestling that really interest me. I also love The Bowery Boys New York City history podcast, as well as other random news shows from interesting sources like Inside The Vatican.”
Which horror movie, scary book or play has had the biggest impact on you and why?
“I grew up in a haunted house. That had a large impact on my early life. Some of my favorite horror stories which were adapted for radio during the golden age are ‘Three Skeleton Key,’ ‘The House in Cypress Canyon,’ ‘On a Country Road’ and ‘Ghost Hunt.’ All were broadcast on Suspense. The Shining has also had a major impact on me.”
Have you ever had a supernatural experience in real life?
“Yes, dating back to childhood. Nothing was necessarily sinister, but all of my family members had odd experiences in the house where I grew up.”
Where can people find out more about you or connect with you?