Best YouTube Celebrity-Turned-Theater Actor

Ashkon Davaran

If you’re capable of growing a big, bushy beard and also leading massive crowds in a tuneless rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,'” then, well, the world should be your oyster. Or at least the rarefied theater world. Such is the case for Ashkon Davaran, whose big claim to fame is a viral video to celebrate the Giants’ 2010 World Series victory. (A spin-off of the 1981 pop song by Journey, it has garnered well over 2 million views thus far.) He went on to star in Shotgun Players’ production of Beardo, a comic history of the Russian mystic Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. It’s hard to gauge whether his portrayal was entirely accurate — he played the 19th-century monk as a kind of rock god Lothario, who wreaked havoc on the palace of  Emperor Nicholas II — but it was wildly entertaining. Clad in only his skivvies (or a sheath), he sassed the aristocracy, cavorted with some peasants, shagged the emperor’s wife, cured their hemophiliac son, and performed several anthemic rock numbers. If the real Ashkon Davaran is anything like his god-like persona, he’ll certainly go far.

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