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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Catch a glimpse of AHS alum on Super Bowl show

If you’re planning to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, keep an eye out for Annandale High School graduate Gregory Gast. He won’t be on the field, though; he’ll be in a Skittles commercial.

Gast (Class of 1980) plays the dad in an ad titled “Romance,” which calls for a series of characters to catch a Skittles in their mouth and make a “mmm” sound without any facial expression. It’s not as easy as it looks, says Gast, who  “doesn’t eat much candy of any kind.”

At Annandale, Gast was inspired by teacher Mrs. Sommers to get involved in theater. He performed in three musicals – “Oklahoma,” “Music Man,” and “Mame” – but had no interest in a career in show business. It wasn’t until 1988, after he earned a degree in communication arts from James Madison University and worked in the D.C. area for a while that he decided to give Hollywood a shot.

He studied acting and worked as a background artist and then a stand-in getting bigger roles. He appeared in several commercials (including Applebee’s, and Henry Weinhard’s beer), and his movie credits include a tap-dancing waiter in “Polar Express” and the singer Pat Boone in a movie about Little Richard.

Gast also has a regular job as a video editor on award shows and worked on a tribute to Lily Tomlin that was shown on the Screen Actors Guild awards show last month.

Gast went to Belvedere Elementary School and Glasgow Middle School. Annandale High School in the 1970s was like the sitcom “Happy Days,” he recalls. There was a 1950s revival going on with dances called “sock hops.”

His mother, the artist Helen Barsalou, still lives in the same house he grew up in in Broyhill Crest.

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