PARSIPPANY — Anthony Duke Claus returns to Kafe Mozart!
Since he was a toddler, Anthony Duke Claus has been in the spotlight.
From international commercials to off-Broadway theater to popular television, the now 20-year-old William Paterson University student has been around the singing and acting block more than a few times.
“I’ve done a lot. I got a little taste of everything,” Claus said, whose passion for his craft is revealed through the excitement with which he talks. “It was actually a big enough taste of every field…from the acting and singing career. I’ve hit all the corners of it.”
Yet Claus’s latest summer gig–singing show tunes and oldies music at local eateries–is something he hadn’t done before.
And for a young man whose motto is “the bigger the stage, the better,” this new venture seems a bit out of character. But Claus said it was time for a change.
“I’ve done so many big productions that I just wanted to see what it was like to do more simple stuff,” he explained. “It’s good for me, because I’m doing what I love as a job. So many kids my age are working in grocery stores or restaurants. Why don’t I use the gift that God gave me and spread it with the community? I’ve been getting a following from being local.”
“I love singing that music. I have a very powerful, vibrato-sounding voice,” Claus said. “That’s what makes me unique from a lot of other people. I have such an exotic sounding voice from a lot of kids my age.”
But then again, Claus isn’t like many 20-year-olds in general. After being encouraged by a preschool teacher to perform in a talent show at the Wayne Hills Mall, he was discovered by an acting agent and booked his first commercial for Connecticut Light & Power when he was just three years old. (Coincidentally, it was also his first audition.)
Since then, Claus has done commercials for IKEA and Wendys, was on MTV’s “Wonder Showzen” for three years, and even landed a role on the soap opera One Life To Live.
He has also actively participated in theater, from local works like “Fuddy Meers” at Montville’s Barn Theatre to “Home Front” at Le MaMa in Greenwich Village.
“Theater has always been my favorite,” Claus said. “You can combine singing and acting equally on stage. When I’m on stage, there’s a whole different side of me that comes out. It’s always been my passion and desire to be on the Broadway stage singing the songs that I love performing.”
Claus said he isn’t thinking of pursuing a singing or acting career after he graduates. He still maintains his dream of playing a high profile Broadway role such as the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera” one day, but Claus said he wants to learn something new in college, too.
“I want to go to college to learn something that I can use my entire life as a profession,” Claus said. “I think I want to go into the filmmaking industry. From being on camera all the time, I’d like to really learn about being the director and wearing his shoes.”
Claus said he won’t stop acting or singing, though. It’s quite literally in his blood: Eddie Brigati of The Young Rascals is Claus’s cousin.
“I just loved entertaining, because it was in my family,” he explained. “I feel like what I was put on this earth to do was entertain. Words can’t really describe how much I love performing and being on stage and singing for people. It’s the best feeling in the entire world.”
Kafe Mozart is a full service restaurant, serving burgers, salads, panini’s, steaks, salmon, chicken, savory crepes and sweet crepes. Open Tuesday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Closed on Monday for the summer. They are located at 2900 Route 10 West, Powder Mill Plaza West, Parsippany. For more information and reservations, call (973) 998-7788 or click here to visit their website.