Media Studies Professor Applauds His New York Stage Doppelgänger

Played by Raffi Barsoumian, alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rachel Dratch.

Siva Vaidhyanathan’s best-known book is all about Google. But it was via another Silicon Valley behemoth that the Robertson Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia first found out he was going to be portrayed on-stage in Privacy, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and is currently playing at New York’s Public Theater.

From a write-up by UVA media relations associate Katie McNally:

“About four months ago, I got a Facebook message from an actor friend telling me that he had just auditioned to play me in a play off Broadway,” Vaidhyanathan said. “That’s how I found out I was in it and my character actually had lines.”

His friend didn’t get the part, but Vaidhyanathan was excited to learn that actor Raffi Barsoumian had been cast as him and that Barsoumian wanted to Skype to prepare for the role.

Privacy playwright James Graham first contacted Vaidhyanathan last fall. In adapting his British production for American audiences, he wound up dropping into the show a number of folks like Vaidhyanathan. Other co-opted academic players include professors from MIT, Harvard and George Washington University.

Vaidhyanathan says watching himself in a preview of Privacy was the “weirdest” moment of his academic career. His wife Melissa Henriksen, who also works at UVA as associate director for university engagement at the Applied Research Institute, told McNally Barsoumian perfectly captures her husband’s mannerisms and speaking habits.

The sold-out Privacy runs through Aug. 14.

Photo via: Amazon