How Michael Urie Spends His Sundays

Michael Urie is a compulsive performing chameleon.

Urie, known for his work on “Ugly Betty,” is portraying Sir Robin in the revival of Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” which opened on Nov. 16 at the St. James Theater. He described the show as “a high British comedy with classic musical theater, production numbers and fart jokes.”

Mr. Urie, 43, is also returning for season two of “Shrinking” on Apple TV+, and come January will shift stage roles when he takes a two-week leave of absence to perform in “Once Upon a Mattress” at Encores! opposite Sutton Foster. Then there is a play reading at the Roundabout Theater; a scripted podcast series; and postproduction work for the film “Goodrich” with Michael Keaton.

“The more I have going on, the better I am at each one,” Urie said. “I tend to say yes to everything.”

He moved to New York from Plano, Texas, when he was 19 to study at the Juilliard School and never left. In 2021, he and his partner of 15 years, Ryan Spahn, 43, a writer and actor, bought a one-bedroom apartment on the first floor of a prewar building on the Upper West Side.

“During Covid, we longed for house life,” Mr. Urie said. “Living on the first floor feels like there’s so much life outside our windows. Like we’re in a house, in a busy neighborhood.”

Their dog, President McKinley, a Chihuahua-Boston terrier mix, and cat, Dawson, a gray tabby, live with them.

WAKING On Sundays I sleep until 9-ish because I’m coming off of a two-show day. As I get older my body wakes me, so I’m less worried about sleeping through my alarm, which is set to a soothing marimba sound. It used to be a fire drill alert, but that became too upsetting.

Urie and his partner, Ryan Spahn, have been together for 15 years. Spahn is also an actor.Credit…Mimi d’Autremont for The New York Times

COFFEE, WALK AND TALK I make our coffee, Trader Joe’s medium roast — because I make it stronger than Ryan — which I drink with one Splenda and a splash of oat milk. We have a new Mr. Coffee, and we keep our filters in a cute planter pot that looks like our dog. I throw on some clothing, often what I wore the night before, and Ryan and I walk Kinley through Riverside Park. This is our time to check in with each other and get our blood flowing.

Urie came to New York when he was 19 to study at the Juilliard School.Credit…Mimi d’Autremont for The New York Times

THRIFT-SEEKING I have a second coffee at home while Ryan feeds the dog and cat. I read the news and catch up on leftover emails. There’s a bazaar a few blocks away that we go to on 77th and Columbus. And Housing Works. We love a thrift-store find. Recently, we bought a patchwork-colored armchair and a beautiful faux Tiffany table lamp with a stained-glass shade. We are a forever work in progress.

SMOOTHIES, THEN GYM We’re doing intermittent fasting, so we usually get the Peanut Butter Split, a protein shake from Juice Generation, or the Blue Magic, which gives you so much energy, from Juice Press. By noon we’re at the Equinox on 76th and Amsterdam. I’m not a class person, and free weights make me nervous. Ryan is off doing cardio. I do my own solo yoga, weight machines and dumbbells. I might listen to some podcasts, which keep me engaged: “Up First,” “Pop Culture Happy Hour,” “SmartLess,” and “Fly on the Wall” with Dana Carvey and David Spade, who talk about “S.N.L.”

PRESHOW PREP I’m shaved and showered by 1 p.m. We don’t do a proper meal. We might have chicken salad sandwiches or egg bites from Fairway. Generally, we’re standing around saying, “I’m going to eat this” or “Can I have that?” Before leaving for the theater, I get on the Citi Bikeapp to see where an electric bike is available. They’re easy and fast. The dog goes in a backpack. She’s 15 pounds of dead weight, and that’s pretty heavy.

Urie getting ready for a “Spamalot” performance this month.Credit…Mimi d’Autremont for The New York Times

ARRIVALS At the theater,I pass the stage-door keeper, sign in at the call board and walk up to the fourth floor where my dressing room is while Kinley says hi to everyone and looks for food. In my dressing room I have a diffuser, which I start misting with either lavender, lemon sage or chamomile scented oil, and a record player. We have a collection at home, and I took a dozen to the theater. The Bee Gees and Air Supply pump me up; I like power ballads. If I’m trying to come down, Bob Marley mellows me out, which I listen to at intermission. I drink coffee, brush my teeth and do vocal warm-ups.

CONNECTING By 2:30 p.m., I’m in the wig chair in the basement. I’m up and down five flights a couple of times before the show starts. It’s hard on the glutes, but I like running into the cast before the show. There’s something about connecting as a human before connecting as a character.

FIRST ACT I chat with Taran Killam, who plays Sir Lancelot, backstage as we wait for the show to start. During the overture I vocalize if the mic isn’t on. Precision in the first scene is important. Then it’s nonstop massive production numbers and costume changes. By the time we hit the galloping-into-France-taunting scene, none of us can believe we’re nearing the end of the first act.

INTERMISSION I’m sweaty. I try to calm down. I drink a lot of water. I go on my phone. Fred, my wig stylist, comes in and checks on me.

SECOND ACT I have a big song, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway,” which has a lot of words, and messing up could potentially derail the whole thing. I’m nervous about that, so I go through every word backstage, which might be a superstition of mine now.

Urie spends time before each show running around connecting with his castmates backstage before they perform together.Credit…Mimi d’Autremont for The New York Times

GOODBYE GREETINGS Bows happen around 5:15 p.m. The cheering is thrilling. So is the singalong. We look at the audience and sing with them and enjoy one another. After I change in my dressing room, I fetch guests. I show them backstage, take photos and see them out. I collect the dog and greet the people waiting for me to sign posters and playbills. It’s a lot of young people, many who grew up watching “Ugly Betty.” It’s very touching.

DINNER AND DRINKS I get out of Times Square — sometimes by taking a cab, sometimes it’s the bike. I’m pretty wired so it’s nice to breathe and get my heart rate up one more time. I don’t like to eat after a night show, so Sunday is the only night to have a meal with Ryan. We like New Cottage, who has great spicy scallion pancakes and noodle soup, Playa Betty’s and the Owl’s Tail, which is a cocktail bar. I get the She’s a Scorpio. Ryan gets the Dracarys. If we’re feeling frisky, we get Espresso Guinness Martinis.

TV TIME From 8:00-11:00-ish p.m. we watch TV. First it’s background noise as we catch up. When we’re ready to watch, it takes a while for us to agree on something. Ryan likes horror movies; I like superhero ones. Common ground, we might do a documentary about a murder. We’re watching a cool Korean show called “Bargain,” which is about a crazy earthquake and all these people surviving in this one building. We also love the beautiful costumes and seeing our friends who are in “The Gilded Age.”

HOT DOG IN BED One of us does a last walk with Kinley, then we go to bed. I might read; I’m just starting Andrew Sean Greer’s “Less is Lost,” which is hard when I’m exhausted because it puts me to sleep immediately. Kinley chooses her Daddy as she burrows under the covers. The colder it is, the more we fight over her. She’s like a hot water bottle dog. Then we all settle in.

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