Introducing Mr. Cellophane Himself

Alumnus Stars in Touring Production of ‘Chicago’

By Kenna Caprio

A man stands center stage, hands out, singing.

Robert Quiles on stage and in character as Amos Hart. (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

January 11, 2024 — Six months. 41 cities. One “Cell Block Tango.”

It’s the national tour of “Chicago,” one of the longest running Broadway musicals, and Robert Quiles, BA’20 (Flor), is center stage.

He plays Amos Hart, the sad-sack, cast-off husband of leading lady and murderess Roxie Hart, and has his big moment singing “Mr. Cellophane” — a song about being a nobody.

“’Chicago’ has a deep legacy. It’s the 27th year of ‘Chicago’ on Broadway. We take that legacy with us to communities across the country and to people who might not have the chance to go to New York City to see the show,” says Quiles. “I saw ‘Chicago’ for the first time on a trip through FDU, but was familiar with the film soundtrack prior to that. My older sister and I sang all the songs.”

A man on stage sings and lifts his arm over his head as he dances.

As Pablo in ‘Sister Act,’ at FDU in 2018.

At FDU, Quiles majored in theater arts and starred in several mainstage productions including “Company,” “Legally Blonde,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “A Little Night Music,” and “Sister Act.” He credits the audition work in the Advanced Acting II class for preparing him most to be a working actor.

“You should be off book for an audition, make strong choices and try to connect with a scene partner and the people auditioning you. I learned all that at FDU,” says Quiles. “I asked my agents to submit for the role of Amos. The casting team requested self-audition tapes and asked me to film myself singing ‘Mr. Cellophane.’ I had an in-person callback and a final callback — the whole process to get cast took about a month.”

Quiles made his professional acting debut in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at The Rev Theater Company in Auburn, N.Y., in summer 2022. He also appeared in “Man of La Mancha” at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Fla., in summer 2023.

“I love getting paid to perform and to travel the country. As an actor who wants to see the world, a contract like this is a dream,” Quiles says.

The tour opened in West Palm Beach, Fla., in November and will close in Findlay, Ohio, in May.

“I still get a little nervous when I step out on stage, but for this role, I use that energy for the character. The more I perform a role, the less nervous I become. It’s thrilling to perform live for a new audience every night.”

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