"Now I can think in terms of romantic leading man roles that have a character aspect to them, too — like Georg in 'She Loves Me' or Billy Crocker in 'Anything Goes' or the Stark Sands role [lead character Charlie Price] in 'Kinky Boots.'"

Foa was always open to taking the next step, whether it was trying his hand at non-musical roles — he starred in the world premiere of Adam Bock's play "The Drunken City" at Playwrights Horizons — or co-producing,co-writing and performing in the musical concert-event "For the Record: John Hughes," a tribute to the late director-producer of "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Sixteen Candles.

During a lull in gigs in the fall of 2008, Foa decided to go to Los Angeles. "I went with zero expectations," he says. "If someone asked me if I was looking to be in comedies or drama, my answer would be: 'I don't know. I haven't thought about it. I guess I'd be in comedy because of my theater background.' "

But comedy didn't come calling.

Within months he had guest starring roles in "Numb3rs," "The Closer" and "Entourage."

Then came "NCIS: Los Angeles."

Foa returned to his Broadway roots for a night as the backstage host for last month's televised Tony Awards, chatting up the winners and presenters as they stepped off stage. (It was a natural CBS tie-in for the actor.)

It was a nice blend of television and Broadway.

"I have theater running through my veins and that's what's keeping me grounded and why I am doing 'summer stock on steroids.'"

Snowden Echo

The recent news swirling around Snowden's leaking of high security information strikes a chord that's close to home — or at least close to his "NCIS" character's home.

"People ask me if I'm a techie," he says. "Sure, I'm an intelligent kid and I went to a nice school, but I don't hack into government agencies on a regular basis. I have an iPhone and an iPad but i don't know if that makes me a total techie."

But that raises an interesting question, Foa asks rhetorically. "Is Eric Beale a mole? I think there is something that could arise."

And connections between Beale and Snowden?

"Oh, there's something that gains entry through charm, through intelligence, wit, skills, passion and on occasion..."

Technology?

"Hmmm. I'm seeing the resemblance more and more between [Snowden] and Eric: this nerd kid is the most powerful guy in the world. I love it. He sings, he dances, he taps..."

Into government agencies?

"I was going to say people's hearts — or in my case now, he taps into the citizens of River City's wallets."

THE MUSIC MAN plays July 11-21 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, 802 Bolton Road, on the UConn campus in Storrs. Shows are Tuesdays through Thursdays 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $42 to $45. Information: 860-486-2113 and www.crt.uconn.edu.

Read Frank's blog on theater, the arts and entertainment at www.courant.copnm/curtain. Friend Frank on Facebook. And be the first to know by following Frank on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ShowRiz.