In Booksmart, Noah Galvin steals every scene he’s in. So much so that Olivia Wilde, the director, and Katie Silberman, one of the writers, decided to write him into even more scenes. As co-star Beanie Feldstein explains, “Literally, they were like, ‘Noah needs to be in every frame.'”
IRL, Noah Galvin is a theater kid who made his Broadway debut as Evan Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen, replacing the inimitable Ben Platt. He also starred as Kenny in The Real O’Neals, a sitcom that aired for two seasons on ABC. Noah calls himself an “anxiety-ridden, neurotic, nebbishy Jew actor.”
And so, without further ado, let’s dive into 18 things to know about Noah Galvin!
1. He grew up in Westchester County in New York. His dad is Catholic and his mom is Jewish. He explained, “I was raised both Jewish and Catholic going to CCD, Hebrew School and church. My siblings were both confirmed and had their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.”
2. When he was 10, he went on tour with Les Miserables after secretly auditioning. This led to “upheaval in our house; we had to figure out a way for me to go on tour. My parents both worked full-time, so we hired a 19-year-old guardian. We went on tour together for about nine months. As soon as I started working professionally, I knew I needed to keep doing it.”
3. He came out as gay to his mom when he was 14. “I’ll tell you the version I haven’t really ever told anybody,” he told Vulture in 2016. “I mostly talk about me coming out to my mother, which was her asking me over a series of a few months, ‘Are you gay? Do you think you’re gay?’ I was like 13. The next year she would ask me, like, every few months if I was gay. Finally I was like, yeah. She jumped up and down and was like, best friends forever! And I was like, oh fuck, what have I done? But before that, I had made the decision for myself that I was gay. I knew I was gay. I had settled the fact, but wasn’t sharing it with anybody at the time.”
4. He spent time working for Cirque Du Soleil when he was 13. “I spent half the year working for Cirque Du Soleil as a singer and was homeschooling throughout. But when the tutoring Cirque provided ended, I had zero motivation so I decided to hold myself back a grade and spend the rest of the year working,” he told People.
5. He starred in The Real O’Neals, a sitcom created by Dan Savage about a Catholic family in Chicago. He played Kenny, who comes out as gay in the first episode.
“It treated Kenny’s coming-out story not only with respect but with personality, warmth, and, most importantly, specificity. As the season progressed, Kenny grappled with the question of how to date and where to find other gay high schoolers to commiserate with,” writes Caroline Framke in Vox.
6. “It was important to me that a gay kid play this role: someone who really understands Kenny’s struggles and really understands the gay experience and what it is to come out and how hard that is. I really relate to Kenny in that way. We are both really awkward people, we’re both kind of weird, so that helps in portraying this character. I’m playing a younger, more religious, slightly more articulate version of myself,” Galvin explained.
7. When he auditioned for the role, he said: “This is mine.”
8. He’s BFFs with his Booksmart co-star, Molly Gordon. As Molly explained, “He was my first real new best friend that I made in New York, and kind of showed me New York and opened up this beautiful new world to me.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video from Booksmart that we can’t stop watching:
9. Molly Gordon introduced Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt to Noah, and, well, the rest is history. (AKA they’re all best friends, and we’re jealous!!)
10. He made his directorial debut in a music video for “Ride” by Yoke Lore, the stage name of his older brother Adrian Galvin (talented family!!):
13. Noah is a big RuPaul’s Drag Race fan. He was even a guest judge! When he shared the photo, he made a joke about his bar mitzvah, naturally:
— Noah Galvin (@Noahegalvin) November 17, 2017
14. His dream musical theater role is the Emcee in Cabaret. (Which Beanie fully supports: “Oh, you’d be SO good.” Go read this convo between Noah, Beanie, and Molly!)
15. In 2016, he dealt with a brief controversy over a Vulture article (so much so that there’s a “Controversy” section on his Wikipedia page). In a wide-ranging discussion over what it’s like to be gay in Hollywood, he criticized the actor Colton Haynes, the portrayal of Cam on Modern Family (calling him a “caricature of a caricature of a stereotype of stereotype”) and called out Bryan Singer (who was later accused of sexually assaulting teenage boys). He later apologized, saying his words were brazen and hurtful, and retracted his comments on Singer under legal pressure.
16.“Playing a gay character in this film, it’s not about his gayness. He’s just like a character in the movie, and I think we need a little bit more of that,” Noah said of his role in Booksmart.
— Noah Galvin (@Noahegalvin) May 18, 2019
Also? His karaoke rendition of “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette? Cinematic history.
17. In a moving letter to his younger self, Noah wrote, “I’m here to tell you your inability to sit still has paid off. Your addiction to work and performance is going to serve you. But there could be refinements made to the journey. So, so many refinements. The largest? Patience. Screw your self-proclaimed deadlines and checklists. Focus on surrounding yourself with generous people that challenge you emotionally, and intellectually. And focus on making work that does the same to others.”
18. And to end, here is Noah performing “You Will Be Found” at a benefit concert for Parkland students. (Get your tissues ready!!)
Image of Noah in header via @NoahGalvin on Instagram.