Erik Gratton, Emporia State ’98, was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in nearby Olathe, Kansas. Erik is an actor, performer, and comedian who credits his love of acting from his first audition in high school. He was 15 and auditioned for a role in The Voice of the Prairie, but as he told The Kansas Star in a December 11, 2017 interview, “I was terrible and did not get it … I was hooked from the moment I auditioned, even though I was no good and nervous and shaking.” Even though that was his first theatre audition, he met Robin Murphy, a woman who would be his mentor that would lead him to a small ensemble role in Shawnee Mission’s Theatre in the Park version of Camelot in 1992. He met Murphy when he was 14 at the Renaissance Festival when he performed as a juggler and heckler. Throughout high school he performed at Olathe High School and did local community theatre. He won a scholarship to attend Emporia State University and earned his bachelor of fine arts and was involved in Phi Delta Theta, A Cappella Choir, and the Inter-Fraternity Council. He attended Wayne State University for his master of fine arts, with a focus on the classical rotating repertory tradition.
After graduation, he had several small parts in the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. He also worked for his brother’s catering company as a pastry chef. He was in charge of making breads and desserts from scratch for touring musical acts and their crews. One of the longest tours he was on was for Trans-Siberian Orchestra and he also worked on a Justin Beiber tour.
He specialized in comedy and classical theatre until he moved to Seattle in 2012 where he found musical theatre roles. He was in the Shrek production and played the character George in Billy Elliot. In January 2016, he was awarded the 2015 Best Actor in a Play award from the Seattle Theatre Writers for his role as the central character Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five, based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel.
He has few other theatre roles he is proud to showcase on his résumé. On the New York stage, he was Rosalind in As You Like It, Tom in The Devil and Tom Walker, and Sylvestre in Scapin. In regional theatre, Charlie in The Foreigner at the Village Theatre in Seattle, Matt/Homer Simpson in Mr Burns, a Post-Electric Play, at the ACT, Seattle, and Mordcha the Innkeeper in Fiddler on the Roof at the Arizona Theatre Company. He can also be seen on TV in Grimm (2011), and All My Children and in the movies Whiffleball (2008) and 2k3 (2009).
He most recent role (2017) is one that he feels is “a dream come true.” He played the lead role Buddy in the national theatre tour of Elf the Musical. The tour finished the run at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden on December 29, 2017.
Erik lives in Glendale, California with his fiancée Krista Curry.