With his striking baby-blues, All-American good looks and winsome smile, Eric Martsolf is a natural-born soap star.
But the “Days of Our Lives” actor, who plays Brady Black, can do, and has done, literally, just about everything on stage and screen — including singing, dancing, comedic and dramatic acting, ensemble work and more.
That versatility has served the Los Angeles-based actor very well. At awards shows, such as the 20th annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards gala Feb. 8 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, where Martsolf will star along with Jane Krakowski (30 Rock, Ally McBeal, Guys & Dolls) being able to do everything can mean you don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing when you show up.
“It’s about being flexible at events like the Steve Chase,” Martsolf tells PalmSpringsLife.com. “I’m so excited and honored to be a part of the ceremonies that I’ll be doing whatever they want. I know I’m going to be doing a cover of ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Motley Crue.”
Singing 1980s metal ballads is nothing new for Martsolf, whose own group of musicians won Harrisburg’s “Best New Rock Band” during the decade of generously sized hairstyles.
“I love singing those songs from the ‘80s,” says Martsolf, who is the second actor to play Brady Black on “Days.” “I guess they knew I had a band back in the day.”
Martsolf has been doing covers for a while. In fact, in a previous job as a regular on a soap, Martsolf was also the second actor to play the role of Ethan Winthrop on NBC’s “Passions.”
But with his range of performance capabilities, Martsolf is nobody’s knock-off.
He has played the comic role of “The Pharaoh” in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to critical acclaim, as he did playing the part of Danny Zuko in “Grease,” as well as L’il Abner in “Abner” as part of the Reprise! series in Los Angeles.
“They say making it in Hollywood is where luck meets preparation,” says Martsolf. “Preparation means taking whatever work you can get. I’m always amazed by actors who think a role is beneath them.”
Martsolf says being asked to join Krakowski as well as “Wicked” actor and Broadway megastar, Eden Espinoza, not to mention LaTonya Holmes (Grey’s Anatomy), Nita Whitaker LaFountaine (Ragtime), Tomasina Abate (Disneyland’s Pocahontas) and Ray Leeper (So You think You Can Dance All-Stars) as part of the 2014 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards lineup is an especially personal honor. It’s one that he says takes him back to times past in a couple of different ways.
“I had a friend in high school in Harrisburg who threw me a surprise 16th birthday bash,” Martsolf recalls. “It was amazing, the amount of work he put into it. Unfortunately, he died of AIDS when we were 18. It was shocking to the whole community. It was when HIV/AIDS stopped being something that was only about New York or Los Angeles or about famous people. It brought the issue home.”
Although they were not the very closest of friends as their high school years went on, Martsolf never forgot the big birthday party Darren Cloela threw for him.
Of course, the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards is a highly anticipated, high-glamour affair that supports the programs of Desert AIDS Project.
“I guess it’s fair to say I’ll be performing in Darren’s honor at the Steve Chase Awards,” Martsolf said.
Martsolf and his wife, dancer-choreographer Lisa Kouchak, recently opened a gym in Studio City, Calif., for autistic children, called We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym.
“We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym is something that we saw a need for,” he says. “It’s giving us a lot of new challenges, but it’s something we love doing and, as I mentioned, there’s a real need for it.”
Martsolf and Kouchak have 7-year-old twin boys together, and live in the Los Angeles suburbs.