Topher Grace enjoys the non-linear route his career has taken since making his acting debut as the gangly, witty teen Eric Forman on the Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show.”
His latest ventures, the lead in the off Broadway play “Lonely, I’m Not” and an independent film called “The Giant Mechanical Man” are examples of the varied roles he’s done.
In “Lonely, I’m Not,” which is now playing off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre, Grace plays Porter, a guy who’s had a really bad few years. He got divorced, lost his corporate job and had a nervous breakdown. Things start to change when he falls in love with a blind businesswoman played by Olivia Thirlby. The play is written by Paul Weitz who directed Grace in the 2004 film “In Good Company.”
It’s the 33-year-old’s professional theater debut although his performance in a boarding-school production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is what got him discovered. The parents of a classmate happened to be Bonnie and Terry Turner, who ended up creating “That ’70s Show.”
“I promise you, I was not that good in the musical,” he insisted.
He may be new to theater, but Grace is used to performing for a live audience thanks to seven seasons on “That SSRq70s Show.”
“It’s great to get back in front of an audience and hear that reaction or, more importantly, what they don’t react to. There’s nothing louder than 300 people not laughing.”