Audiences who came of age in the heyday of 1980s and ’90s sitcoms will enjoy another nostalgia trip when Netflix unveils the final nine episodes of “Fuller House” later this year.
For Juan Pablo Di Pace, the series finale will mark the end of an era and a fresh opportunity. The Argentine actor was among those new to the cast when the “Full House” revival debuted in 2016. Though he’d acted in television and film for years, with roles in the movie version of “Mamma Mia!” and TNT’s “Dallas” reboot, he’ll forever view “Fuller House” as a stateside break.
“I’ve always considered myself a dramatic actor, but I was asked to play a clown for five years,” DiPace, who plays Fernando, the ex-husband-turned-fiancé of Tanner family confidante Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), told HuffPost. “I didn’t watch ‘Full House’ as a kid because we didn’t get it in Argentina. But I soon realized I was part of something bigger than I thought. [My castmates] were already friends for 30 years, so to be embraced by them has been the biggest gift.”
Di Pace will reflect on much of the “Fuller House” experience when he returns to the concert stage this week. “An Evening with Juan Pablo Di Pace,” which hits New York City’s Green Room 42 Thursday and Saturday, is the actor’s first live performance in the city in three years and, as such, represents a musical “diary of where I’ve been and where I’ve come from,” he said.
Many U.S. fans may be surprised by Di Pace’s powerful singing voice, honed through years of musical theater experience in Europe. The concert will feature songs made famous by George Michael, Snow Patrol and the Bee Gees, as well as original material.
“I needed something to start my decade with a bang, if you will,” Di Pace said. “As an actor, I’m always interpreting other people’s work, and it’s quite daunting when you finish a series. But I’m like a pig in shit when it comes to music and being onstage. That’s my jam. So it feels like the perfect thing to start my next chapter.”
“An Evening with Juan Pablo Di Pace” also comes less than a year after another personal milestone. In March 2019, Di Pace returned to his alma mater, United World College in the Netherlands, to speak with current students as part of a TEDxYouth Talk event.
In an emotionally charged speech titled “The Story of Your Life,” the actor announced he was gay and recalled how the performing arts helped him embrace his authentic self.
At first, the reaction to Di Pace’s announcement was slight. In a likely effort to capitalize on Pride Month, however, “The Story of Your Life” was uploaded to TEDx Talks’ YouTube account in June and quickly went viral. News outlets around the world deemed Di Pace’s speech a “coming out” moment — but the actor himself views it somewhat differently.
“I was invited to do a talk for teenagers, and I thought, ‘Well, if I’m going to talk about something that has shaped my life, then this is a thing,’” he said. “My talk was about acceptance, rejection and how the story we tell ourselves about ourselves can shape the course of our lives … I was already out to anyone in my life that cared. I was surprised that it was even news.”
“It’s scary, too, because you think, ‘Shit, people are listening,’” he added. “But I loved the messages I got from people, many of whom had been struggling, that said beautiful things like how helpful it was for them, or how it was what they needed to hear that day. That’s the reason to tell your side of the story.”
After his New York concert run wraps, Di Pace is hoping to turn his attention behind the scenes. Though he’s light on specifics about it, he’s at work on a new comedy series as a producer that, if green-lit, would begin filming at some point after the remaining “Fuller House” episodes drop later this year.
Pointing to late actor and singer Elaine Stritch as an inspiration, he’d like music to remain an integral part of his artistic pursuits, too, either through a solo album or a stint on the Broadway stage.
“Art can change someone’s day, someone’s life,” he said. “If I can make someone laugh, but also ask themselves questions, my job is done.”
Watch Juan Pablo Di Pace perform Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” below.
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