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Healing Raul

Raul_esparza The way most theater lovers know Raul Esparza -- intense leading man, stirring singer, a Broadway star whose eclectic resume includes everything from Cabaret to Company to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -- may get a makeover on Wednesday when the Miami-raised actor takes on a new role on ABC's quirky Pushing Daisies.

Esparza will make his first appearance at 8 p.m. on WPLG-ABC 10 this week, but it's expected that he'll pop up more than once.  He's playing Alfredo Aldarisio, a traveling salesman who hawks homeopathic remedies for depression.  In The Fun in Funeral, he offers Chuck (Anna Friel) free samples, which she bakes into feel-good pies for her aunts, Lily (Swoosie Kurtz) and  Vivian (Ellen Greene).

Pushing Daisies is, in fact, full of theater veterans:  Kristin Chenoweth (the Wicked star plays waitress Olive Snook), Lee Pace (he plays Ned, the guy whose awakens the dead, and his stage credits include The Guardians and Small Tragedy), Friel (Closer), Kurtz (Frozen and Fifth of July), Greene (Little Shop of Horrors) and narrator Jim Dale (Barnum).  And now, Esparza.

Here's hoping the in-demand actor is good at multitasking.  On Nov. 23, he starts previews as Lenny in the  Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, opposite Ian McShane, Michael McKean and Eve Best.  That show opens Dec. 13 at the Cort Theatre.  Want info? Visit Telecharge.