Sandro Isaack made his big American debut recently in Amazon Prime’s Mozart In The Jungle, appearing opposite Gael García Bernal and Broadway empress Bernadette Peters.
The Brazilian looker is openly gay, and started acting at 16. “I came out pretty early, I just wasn’t loud about it,” he says,
Isaack studied acting at Texas Christian University and, later, Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, where he earned an MFA. Stage roles followed, everything from Man of La Mancha and The Taming of the Shrew to Spring Awakening to Marat/Sade.
But, really, who is Sandro Isaack? We’re glad you asked.
Below, get a primer on this up-and-coming talent.
1. Prior to acting, Sandro was a florist
“I was in the middle of 10,000 flowers a day, making orchid chandeliers for parties,” he recalls. “It was interesting, odd and beautiful. And really surprising to see how many flowers get bought for a wedding and then thrown out the next day.”
2. He was once mute for a year
“I was talking to a friend one day back in 2008 and mid-sentence, all of the sudden, my voice was gone,” Isaack says. “It felt like a yawn that got stuck. I thought maybe it was the flu.”
But when it continued for a month, he got real worried: “I was going to the doctor, doing exam after exam, and they couldn’t figure out what was happening physiologically,” Isaack says. “It went on for about 12 months and, by the end, I figured out if I pressed my hands against my neck, I could produce this very tiny sound.
A week before he was scheduled for reparative surgery, Isaack’s voice returned. “I said ’Hello,’ and it came out, all at once. They still don’t know what happened.”
3. He wrote and illustrated a children’s book for same-sex families
Isaack created Dad Dad Mom Mom, a picture-book series spotlighting the lives of two gay couples, to offer a literary universe for children of same-sex couples. The first volume, Stork MIA, follows Dad and Dad, who go out in search of the Stork to give them a child.
“I enjoy the direct approach,” he says. “With kids you find out right away whether it’s working or not. I have a goddaughter and this was a medium in which I could tell stories to her; for her.”
4. Sandro was a huge Bernadette Peters fan even before they worked together
“The first time I ever saw her was in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie, when she steps on the table, and I was already taken aback,” he recalls. “She’s somehow who pushes the limits, but with such precision, and that’s amazing.”
The two performers met only minutes before shooting Mozart, while they were in hair and makeup: “I don’t know if she could tell that I was a little bit nervous, but she made me feel comfortable,” says Isaack. “Only someone with that much experience and that big a heart would be able to do that.”
5. He’s had a harder time booking gay roles than straight ones
“Oddly, my struggle is actually getting gay parts,” Isaack reveals. “During grad school there was this big scene I was working on from Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy, where I was playing the guy’s boyfriend. I come in and start doing the scene and my instructor stopped me and said ’Sandro, you need to understand gay people in order to do the scene.’ That’s when I realized he didn’t know I was gay.”
Isaack said he found the incident more amusing than troubling: “I asked him, ’How do gay people act?’ Then I told him I was gay—I’d been gay forever—and explained to him that the interests and intent are the same when it’s one person loving another.
Check out Sandro in the first season of Mozart In The Jungle on Amazon Prime.