Tag Archives: Veteran Actor Cory Dagg

Behind The Song: Cory Dagg’s “I Walk A Lonely Street” Is an Intimate and Compelling One-Man Show About the Song that Changed Rock & Roll 

Actor & Show Creator Cory Dagg – Photography by Vanie Poyey

Making the powerhouse decision to create an entire solo show from concept to curtain-down can be the pinnacle of any actor’s career, one that grants them unfettered artistic control over their own craft. 

The fusion of a beautifully scripted storyline with an outstanding on-stage presence is the essence behind a truly successful solo show, which is exactly what industry veteran Cory Dagg delivered throughout his commanding debut performance in “I Walk A Lonely Street” in Los Angeles this past August.

An intimate and compelling story behind the song that changed the course of rock and roll history, “I Walk A Lonely Street” is an emotional rollercoaster full of excitement and tragedy. Throughout the show, Dagg invites the audience on a touching and personal journey of how iconic songs and childhood idols shaped the brilliant artist that he is known as today. 

“A good solo show is told from the point of view of the actor performing the show,” explains Dagg. “To weave myself into the story that I wanted to tell in a truthful and hopefully meaningful way was not an easy task.”

A man of extraordinary talent, Dagg also worked behind the scenes as the show’s producer, which he workshopped over three weeks at the famous Hudson Theatre in LA, during the 11th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival in August 2021.  

“Producing involves a lot of work, you have to see the big picture as well as the small details,” he says. “Ultimately you are responsible for the entire show.”

Hollywood Fringe Festival official poster

In the dramaturgy phase of shaping his script, Dagg brought relevance to the team behind the unfolding of Elvis Presley’s iconic 1956 single “Heartbreak Hotel,” which deservingly went on to leave a monumental impact on the music we know today. Not only was the song the breakthrough to superstardom for Elvis Presley, but its impact on the next generation of musicians was mind-blowing. 

Beatles legend John Lennon once said, “When I first heard ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ my whole life changed from then on. I was just completely shaken by it.” Fellow Beatlemania superstar Paul McCartney also declared the song “nothing less than the most important artistic creation of the modern era.”

The show’s storyline focuses on a selection of influential characters, including a 19-year-old Elvis and “Heartbreak Hotel” co-writer Mae Boren Axton who, under a starry midnight sky, made a promise to the king of rock and roll to compose his first ever nationwide number 1 hit. 

The inspiration for “I Walk A Lonely Street” was born after Dagg’s coincidental onset interaction with Boren Axton’s son, as well as fellow actor Hoyt Axton (“Gremlins”) whom they worked together on the 1989 crime comedy “We’re No Angels,” starring two-time Oscar winners Robert De Niro (“Joker,” “Raging Bull”) and Sean Penn (“I Am Sam,” “21 Grams”). 

Throughout his captivating performance in “I Walk A Lonely Street,” Dagg breathed life into a wonderful and varied cast of characters who shaped the unfolding of the most pivotal rock song of all time. His effective portrayal of a young Elvis Presly, Hoyt and Mae Boren Axton, his present self and as a 7-year-old paperboy, among numerous other characters, left the mesmerized audience with an overwhelming sense of emotion. 

“It’s a big undertaking and you hope that people will say that those characters come naturally to you,” Dagg shares. “But the truth is it takes endless hours of rehearsal to get them right and to quickly transition from one character to another.”

Although the Hollywood Fringe Festival was essentially a workshop performance, this didn’t stop the devoted audience from feeling an overwhelming sense of attachment to Dagg’s stunning on-stage presence. 

One crowd member quoted, “He [Dagg] tells the story with such tremendous insight and humor, that by the end of the piece, the audience, young and old, reward him with genuine applause and occasional tears.” While another claimed, “The show was fabulous! It was funny in parts, tragic and I can’t believe one person could take you through time and space seamlessly playing many compelling characters.”

Cory Dagg in his solo show “I Walk A Lonely Street”
Image by Richard Clark & Projection Design by Jeffrey Elias Teeter

Following on from the tremendous success of the workshop in L.A, Dagg has also secured international exposure for the world premiere of “I Walk A Lonely Street,” which is set to take place at the distinguished 75th Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2022. 

“Seeing the characters and story come alive on stage has been a magical experience,” Dagg shares. “Especially after so many years of development, research and writing.”

Staying true to the iconic storyline and boldly moving forward with full freedom, action has once again landed Dagg at the heart of Hollywood greatness. Over the course of 30 years, he has flawlessly portrayed every character under the sun across film, television and theatre, often sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in the game. 

Hollywood royalty Robert De Niro (“The Irishman”) once threw his arm around Dagg on set while commending his phenomenal work as an actor, while two-time Oscar nominated director Mikael Salomon (“Band of Brothers”) offered Dagg a featured series role as General Michaelson in the seven-time Emmy Award nominated miniseries “The Andromeda Strain,” which was executive produced by Golden Globe winner and four-time Oscar nominated filmmaker Ridley Scott (“Blade Runner,” “The Martian”). 

With a long list of illustrious film and television credits to his name, and an upcoming world premiere of his already successful one-man show “I Walk A Lonely Street,” it’s fair to say that Cory Dagg is among the select few in the competitive industry who can truly master it all, and no doubt will continue to deliver timeless performances for years on end.

Actor Profile: Veteran Actor Cory Dagg

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Canadian Actor Cory Dagg

 

Over the years Canadian actor Cory Dagg has brought his unparalleled talent to a pretty astonishing list of film and television productions. Becoming known for his roles on hit television shows like “The Andromeda Strain,” “Top Cops” and “Street Legal,” as well as films such as Primetime Emmy nominee Brad Turner’s “The Inspectors,” Michael Kennedy’s action-packed crime film “Hostile Force” and “Bond of Silence” acting alongside Kim Raver from “24” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” Dagg’s proven that he has a unique gift for playing authoritative roles just as easily as he plays the underdog.

With a character list spanning the likes of government officials, sly detectives and frustrated public defenders, Dagg’s way of communicating with his eyes is something that has made each and every character he’s taken on to date unforgettable. His role as Detective Peters in the series premiere of Columbia Tristar’s thriller series “The Net” is one that not only helped carve out his reputation for portraying multi-layered characters in the crime genre, but also set up the basis for the show.

While out for a run early one morning, freelance computer programmer Angela Bennett (played by Brooke Langton) is arrested by federal agents only to find out once in the interrogation room that her identity has been erased and replaced with that of a wanted felon. Dagg’s character Detective Peters comes down hard on Bennett who is both baffled and afraid as Peters threatens her with a lengthy jail sentence for crimes she didn’t commit.  

“Whenever I get a new role, I get to know that character as if they were going to be my new best friend. I try to think of every aspect of them – how they feel, how they would respond in certain situations, what they would say,” explains Dagg.

“With Peters being a cop, I knew I could handle that since I ‘ve done a lot of cops and military roles. But Peters is a bit of a dirty cop, so I had to dig deep to bring that out in him. Really, it comes down to immersing myself in the character, finding something – anything – I might have in common with him, and playing on that.”

Another of Dagg’s authoritative style characters that has left an indelible mark in the minds of viewers is that of General Michaelson on the seven Primetime Emmy Award nominated series “The Andromeda Strain,” which was adapted from Michael Crichton’s 1969 novel and produced by four-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott. The four-part series follows a group of highly trained scientists as they work to find the source of what killed the inhabitants of a small town and a way to stop it, and the military team tasked with keeping the disaster under wraps as a matter of national security.

Acting alongside Benjamin Bratt (“Miss Congeniality,” “Despicable Me 2”) who plays Dr. Jeremy Stone and Golden Globe Award winner Ricky Schroder (“Get Him to the Greek,” “NYPD Blue”) who plays Major Bill Keane MD, Cory Dagg gave a brilliant performance as General Michaelson, the military leader who is charged with quarantining the affected area from the mysterious virus, and keeping the rest of the population safe.

Interestingly enough, Dagg originally auditioned for a smaller role on the series however, after director Mikael Salomon (“Hard Rain”) saw Dagg’s performance, he was given a much meatier role and his character went on to be featured in three of the series’ four episodes.

“The director said later he was surprised I didn’t have military experience, that’s how convincing he thought I was,” recalls Dagg. “It’s the dramatic roles I love the most, when the stakes are really high I’m able to separate myself from other actors and usually get the role.”

As an actor Cory Dagg effortlessly stands out in a crowd thanks to his magnetic presence both on and off camera, his rare versatility, and his ability to breathe life into the most complex characters, all of this and more have been crucial factors in the impressive career he has created for himself over the past 30 years, and we can’t wait to see what he takes on next!