For the first seven seasons of the NBC drama Chicago Fire, Yuriy Sardarov played fan-favorite firefighter Brian “Otis” Zvonecek, before his character died tragically in a heroic firefight. OneChicago fans will be thrilled to see Yuriy return to the city… this time, live on stage in TimeLine Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Campaigns, Inc, which was just extended through September 25th. Yuriy graciously stopped by for a thrilling round of Five Questions with SCREEN… let’s get to it!
SCREEN: First things first, why should everyone in Chicago head to TimeLine Theatre this week to enjoy Campaigns, Inc?
YURIY: It’s funny, it’s fast, the costumes are incredible, the set is transportive, it’s the world premiere of a story that is absolutely bonkers… and true! But most importantly, and I feel this every time I step on stage or head back for a costume change, the cast is having fun. You can’t fake this kind of chemistry.
Here is your first look at Campaigns, Inc…
SCREEN: Yuriy, we have to ask all of our CHICAGO FIRE players… what is your favorite episode ever?
YURIY: Oh boy. That’s tough. I have fond memories of Season 1. None of us knew what we were in for and the camaraderie we built that year became the foundation for a decade-plus of TV. My favorite Season 1 Otis moment is from Episode 8, when he convinces Mouch that the visiting Canadian firefighters are from Cleveland. And as payback, he gets a vat of borscht dumped on his head. I smelled like sour cream for a week.
And here is a mashup of Yuriy’s best moments as Otis on Chicago Fire…
SCREEN: Your favorite Chicago restaurant? What do we order when we go?
YURIY: I don’t do a nice steak often, but when I do, Prime & Provisions is my go-to. That’s a no-brainer. Their ambience and service is second to none. Tomahawk, medium rare. They do this thing with their bacon that’s just chef’s kiss. And what’s Chicago without a slice of pie? Lou Malnati’s and Pequod’s fight an eternal battle over my culinary soul.
SCREEN: What is your most prized possession?
YURIY: My Lynskey GR300 gravel bike because…
SCREEN: Your greatest athletic achievement?
YURIY: I only learned how to ride a bike 3 years ago. I was a bit of a scaredy-cat, indoor kid. My now-wife patiently taught me, summer of ’19, in an empty church parking lot. I was decked out in elbow and knee pads. Across the lot, a pair of parents taught their young daughter on a pink training bike. Sinatra wafted out of a neighbor’s window. It was magic.
SCREEN: Worst job ever?
YURIY: I was a dishwasher and busboy at 14 at one of the busiest Greek restaurants in the greater St. Louis area. I’m still waiting for my medal of honor.
SCREEN: Best advice you’ve ever been given?
YURIY: We didn’t have much money growing up, and the day after I was accepted into theatre school, I asked my grandfather – a remarkable jazz guitarist – “Do you think this is stupid? What if I fail?” and he smiled at me and said, “You won’t because you have nothing to lose.” I’ll never forget it. As a philosophy, it’s evergreen, regardless of success.
SCREEN: What’s that TV show you’re a little embarrassed to admit you love to watch?
YURIY: This is the opposite of your question, but my partner had never seen some of the greats – Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Sopranos. We watched all three, in that order, over the lockdown in Los Angeles. Watching her watch them was almost as good as watching them for the first time.
As far as reality goes, we love the Great British Baking Show and Alone. One to get ready to bed, the other to get ready to fight a bear.
Ok Yuriy, here is a rapid-fire rundown of 10 epic baking battles for you…
Thank you for playing, Yuriy! Yuriy and the Campaigns, Inc. cast will be onstage through September 25th at TimeLine Theatre in Chicago.
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