PHILADELPHIA -- David Corenswet's first review in his hometown paper was a single line.
Corenswet, The Inquirer reported in April 2004, "is fine as the oddly named Great" in "The Forgiving Harvest," a family drama at People's Light & Theatre Company in which the then-12-year-old played a boy whose stepfather wanted to buy part of a family's farm.
"To be described as fine, that's pretty (good)," said Corenswet, now 26, with a laugh in a recent phone interview -- one punctuated by the occasional yowls of his 17-year-old cat, Fred.
Corenswet is starring in Ryan Murphy's new 1940s-set Netflix miniseries "Hollywood," alongside the likes of Patti LuPone, Holland Taylor, Jim Parsons, and Dylan McDermott. He also plays a pivotal (and mostly posthumous) role in another Murphy-produced Netflix series, "The Politician."
The Shipley School grad -- who went on to Juilliard -- is introduced in the first of "Hollywood"'s seven episodes as Jack Castello, a Missouri farm boy fresh from World War II who's moved to Los Angeles, sure that he was born to be a star. He's not wrong, but he eventually learns there's more to acting than good looks.
Corenswet, brought up in a home where Broadway albums were played regularly, and where Fred, who's a female cat, until last year had a sister named Ginger, seems to have figured that out early.
He's been acting since the age of 9, when he made his debut in the Arden Theatre's production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," directed by Arden cofounder Terry Nolen. He also appeared in the Arden's 2008 production of "Our Town."
Nolen, Corenswet said, "gave me my first big acting lesson," while rehearsing an entrance in "All My Sons" in which his character was supposed to have just run several blocks. "I pretended to be out of breath," he said.
"Terry stopped me and said, 'David, we're not going to pretend to be out of breath because that's ... pretending. If you think that you'd be out of breath, you should do some push-ups. Do some jumping jacks and then you'll really be out of breath. And then you can go from there.'"
Corenswet's father, John, who died last June, was a lawyer who, before going to law school, spent several years in New York as an actor. He was a big fan of Nolen's, and not just for giving Corenswet his start in regional theater.