KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 6, 2020 – Like many actors in New York City, Diego Guevara is hunkered down, waiting for the pandemic to lift and for auditions and work to resume.
But this holiday season, Guevara, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2016, has reason for cheer. Not only will he enjoy the holidays with his family, but he makes his first appearance on TV, in Netflix’s holiday-themed romantic comedy “Dash & Lily.” The show’s eight episodes drop Nov. 10.
Guevara plays Benny, the boyfriend of Lily’s brother, Langston. The two try to help Lily step out of her comfort zone, says Guevara, leading her to eventually meeting Dash. The match is a pairing of opposites – Lily loves the holidays and keeps to herself; Dash is an extrovert who
dislikes the holiday season.
“It is definitely a great show to escape with,” says Guevara, 26, who is originally from Central Falls, “especially given that this year comes with a lot of social distancing.”
Guevara’s shot at the role came in 2019, a year after he took his acting career to New York City, and it came out of the blue. His agent called him one day and told him to prepare for an audition the next afternoon. He walked in, auditioned and forgot about it – until he learned two weeks later that he was Benny.
“I am so excited for the series as a whole,” he says. “But to be portraying a gay Latino character on television is exciting. Representation matters. For people to see themselves on the screen is important to me.”
“Dash & Lily” was filmed on location in New York City in the fall of 2019, shooting scenes on rooftops, in Central Park, and Times Square. “It was absolutely magical to get to celebrate Christmas for two whole months,” Guevara says. “For anyone who loves the holidays or New York – or both – this is the show for you.”
Guevara, who graduated from the URI Theatre program with a concentration in acting, credits his time at URI as a transformative experience. The conservatory-style program focuses on each student’s needs, he says. His classes challenged him to overcome his fears, especially those with visiting professors Joe Short and Tony Estrella, both URI alumni.
In New York, he still keeps with him a talisman from his URI days – a tile signed by the cast of the department’s 2016 mainstage production of “columbinus,” in which Guevara played Freak.
“It serves as a beautiful reminder of the people who I have met along my journey – the teachers, the students, my friends,” he says. “It also represents hard work to me. The performance was by no means perfect, but I think of all my experiences in college, this is where I learned the most about myself and about the craft of acting.”
After graduating, Guevara worked with Estrella ’93 in the production of “As You Like It” at the Gamm Theatre, where Estrella is artistic director. In 2017, Guevara played Sonny in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical “In the Heights” at the Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston. During the show, he met numerous actors from New York City and an agent interested in representing him.
“I met with her in her New York office and she signed me on the spot, asking that I move to New York within two weeks,” he says. “I’ve been here ever since – with the help of many people along the way – and I love it.”
In New York, Guevara has continuously auditioned, landing a part in the international tour of “Legally Blonde,” performed in the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and theatrical houses on Long Island.
“Since the pandemic hit and the city shutdown, I have not done much auditioning, but I am trying to keep up with my craft – taking classes, watching movies, letting myself experience life,” he says. “Once the pandemic is under control, I will be back to auditioning and hopefully working.”