Thursday, August 29, 2013
McKinney native gears up for break-out role in TV drama Nashville
Derek Krantz made his Nashville debut last season, but returns as a more prominent character September 25.
A new face appeared in the cliffhanger episode of the first season of Nashville, an ABC show chronicling country music's capital.
Derek Krantz, who grew up in McKinney, comes on as Brent, a character whose screen time looks to increase when the second season begins September 25. He's ready for wherever the show takes him.
"It's thrilling," said Krantz, in the middle of filming the coming season. "It feels like living the life of the show — we all have ideas about where it's going, but we haven't been told.
"The show is constantly evolving."
Krantz, who's lived in New York City, Toronto, and Los Angeles since graduating high school in 2004, impressed at auditions several months ago to win the prime-time TV role. He entered viewers' minds May 22 in the premier season's episode, "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive."
"They see that me and one of the main characters have some history together; I pose a threat to their career ambitions," said Krantz, who filmed the coming season's first four episodes in recent weeks. "That starts to play out over the course of this season."
Though fairly new to prime time, Krantz appeared in popular soap operas Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless over the past year and a half. He wrote, directed, produced, and starred in GROUP, a 27-part web series about four guys comically dealing with group therapy. He's had major roles in independent films.
But before it all — when he says his time in the limelight began — he sang in the choir at Valley Creek Elementary in McKinney.
"We did this big choir performance, sort of a journey through American history, and that was my first time on stage," Krantz said. "Singing was an in-road for me to it all."
Choir led to three years in theater at Dowell Middle School, also in McKinney. Krantz played every sport possible and was in student council, but his passion was clear by the time his family moved to Weddington, N.C.
His freshman year at Weddington High School, he played the lead role in The Music Man, then focused on the performing arts from there. He graduated in 2008 from the University of Michigan's musical theater program with a minor in film making.
He lined up three professional gigs in the first few months out of college, and moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to pursue an expanding desire. Krantz shares his talent and energy between acting and creating.
"Content creation is such a viable option, and we're getting to do it at a younger age because the technology is such," he said. "That's really what I'm passionate about. Acting will always be an outlet for me, but putting my own stamp on something is my passion."
His work with Nashville creator Callie Khouri, whose husband is famed music producer T-Bone Burnett, has opened his eyes to the pomp and reality of big-time TV and the life the series portrays.
"It's a show that's steeped in drama, but steeped in reality because that drama is real in the industry," Krantz said. "That's how things work, not only the push and pull of the business and art, but also how they have to co-exist."
Krantz's performance career has included plays and rock musicals, and smaller-scale film ventures. He has yet to return to McKinney, but plans to eventually visit the self-proclaimed birthplace of that career. Whether they watch Nashville, his middle school friends would surely welcome him.
As September 25 approaches, his face is likely more recognizable than ever before. Soon his work may be, too.
"A show like Nashville opens the doors to a lot of opportunities," Krantz said. "No matter what opportunities come my way, one thing will stay constant: I want to be a part of the creative process."
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