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Colin Donnell Likened Chicago Med And Theater To 'Apples And Oranges'

Whether it's a starting point or something tried later in their careers, many TV actors transition between theater and the small screen, proving to their fans that they aren't just a one-trick pony. However, plenty of viewers don't understand how different it is to perform in a long run of a live show compared to this other genre of acting. In fact, simply being able to portray a character realistically doesn't always resonate positively. Some performers realize they don't have what it takes to explore a gig outside their usual wheelhouse. One actor who's successfully navigated the challenging change between stage and screen is Colin Donnell, who, before landing his role on NBC's "Chicago Med," left his mark in front of the bright spotlights.

Of course, fans of Donnell know him as Dr. Connor Rhodes on the hit medical drama series, showing up in 84 episodes before his character appeared one last time at the start of Season 5. Plenty of fans watching the series were shocked to see his unexpected departure, but Donnell was satisfied with his character's exit to find a life of peace and zero distractions. Since leaving "Chicago Med," Donnell has been handling the Arrowverse, yet his first love is still theater. However, the actor says the two — stage and screen — couldn't be more different. 

In theater, a character has no on-going evolution

Colin Donnell didn't jump directly from theater to his scrubs on "Chicago Med," as he popped up on different TV series, most notably a 16-episode stretch on "The Affair." Donnell talked to the folks at "You and Me This Morning" about how before his resumé took on any significant credits, he started his career performing in live productions, two of which were the well-known shows, "Mamma Mia!" and "Wicked." "I did two national tours ... We were all around. We were all over the Midwest ... Countless cities over a year," he recalled. And as for explaining the differences between being part of a live theater show and an on-camera TV series, Donnell revealed why that was such a difficult comparison.

When asked what it takes to tap into the skills needed for portraying a character live on stage compared to a TV role, Donnell replied, "It's just apples and oranges, is the best way to say it." He went on to explain how much different it is playing the same role, speaking the same lines in the same story night after night in contrast to the ongoing growth of a TV series character. "There's something really special about living in one character for an extended period of time and having things constantly evolve," he said. Fans surely got to see this type of evolution occur with Donnell's Dr. Rhodes, something that could've never happened in a play. Donnell has kept to the screen for now, but only time to tell if a new live performance will be in his future.