Jan. 6 2016 10:16 AM

MSU grad lands role on CBS' 'Supergirl'

Local viewers who tuned into this week’s episode of CBS’ hit superhero drama “Supergirl” may have noticed a familiar face — at least for a moment.

Stockbridge native and MSU grad Chris Showerman recently taped a two-episode part on “Supergirl.” He made his debut in Monday’s episode, but he didn’t get much screen time.

“If you blink, you’ll miss me,” he said, with a laugh. “I just have a very small part in that episode. It’s pretty minimal.”

Showerman, who plays a refugee from Krypton named Tor, is not sure when his second episode will run. It’s likely he’ll appear in the next episode, which airs Jan. 18, but the studio has kept a tight lid on production details.

“I don’t have any expectations. I was just excited to be a part of the family, to be invited in to do a couple of episodes,” Showerman said. “My character is still alive, so I hope they call me back. I don’t know for sure if Tor is going to be part of the rest of the storyline or not.”

Showerman isn’t able to reveal much about his storyline, but said that his character is also from Supergirl’s home planet. He is paired with Non, played by Chris Vance, another Kryptonian and one of the show’s primary villains.

“We’re sort of a military operation of Kryptonians,” he explained.

Showerman, 44, took an unlikely path to Hollywood. He graduated from MSU in 1992 with a degree in music composition. He initially pursued a career in music, teaching lessons at Lansing’s Marshall Music and trying to establish himself as a performer. But he always nurtured a love for acting.

“I was interested in acting from even before college,” he said. “I did an opera at Michigan State and got into some musicals at LCC. And then I ended up doing a few shows at Riverwalk (Theatre).”

When his musical career seemed stalled, Showerman started to consider acting as a serious career option.

“I wanted to follow music; I wanted to be a performer,” he said. “And I was frustrated because I could see that with music — the way I was doing it, anyways — I was going to have to do it with a band.”

But he found it a tall order to round up four people who think like him and have the same level of dedication.

“It’s hard to find the perfect alchemy of people to keep it together and keep it going, to keep it moving forward,” he said. “So I thought at least with acting, I would succeed or fail based on my own determination.”

Showerman, who moved to California in 1996 to pursue acting, has appeared in several TV shows, independent movies and even stage productions. His biggest role so far is starring in the 2003 film, “George of the Jungle 2.” He is hoping that a recurring role on “Supergirl” will lead to some meatier TV roles.

“I’m just waiting to see what pilot season brings,” he said. “That’s when all the new potential shows gear up, trying to be the next show on TV. I hope to audition this year for some.”

He expects the ‘Supergirl’ gig to help immensely.

“I’ll be able to say I’m a recurring character in the series. And that always helps you get a little traction.”

While his focus is on acting, music is still an important part of Showerman’s life. Last month saw the release of a movie, “Radio America,” for which Showerman wrote all the music.

“It’s a music drama,” he said. “Although the movie’s not a true story, it has all these stories from my music upbringing in it. A lot of music I wrote while I was living in Michigan ended up in the movie.”

Showerman is hesitant to give advice for young artists. While he believes everyone needs to find their own path to success, he does highlight one key lesson from his career.

“As scary as it is to pick up and go to a big metro, for acting or anything else, I think you need to be in the epicenter of whatever it is that you want,” he said. “For me, it was acting, so that’s either New York or Chicago or L.A. And because I wanted to do film and TV, L.A. was really my only choice. That was a big step, to drop everything and come out, but I would encourage anyone who’s interested in following a dream, you have to take that big, first scary step and just trust that you’re going to know the next thing to do.”