Shaman John is the resident mystic of PleasureTown. And the man behind the character is pretty much made of magic himself. Today, we meet Josh Zagoren, the voice behind the settlement’s tragic everyman and one of the character’s main writers.

Born in Iowa and schooled in Boston, Josh is a professional actor and talented creative writer. He has been a regular in Chicago’s live lit scene performing as the puppeteer behind Chad the Bird, a staple of the weekly Paper Machete showcase. He is also a company member at Wildclaw Theater and Hobo Junction.

How would you describe Shaman John?

If Bill Paxton’s character BILL from BIG LOVE moved to DEADWOOD and got a high a lot.

What do you have in common with your character? How are you different?

I believe very highly in protocol and direction but love to screw up and re-
evaluate, which is the constant inner struggle of Shaman John. But unlike him, I know that about myself.

What was the greatest challenge in finding your character?

Conviction. It seemed obvious (“Uptight guy finally lets loose”), but that became a problem and left little to draw from. It was when Keith and Erin suggested that it would be difficult for him to love someone that he really started to sing.

If you lived in PleasureTown, what would be your occupation and/or pastime?

Bartender or piano man. Somethin’ in the corner.

Follow Josh on Twitter + hear the latest from the Shaman in Episode 5!

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