Fully Committed is playing on Broadway through July 24

By Chancellor Agard and Jessica Fecteau
Updated April 28, 2016 12:00 PM
Credit: Joan Marcus

Jesse Tyler Ferguson has a lot on his plate!

The Modern Family star, 40, takes on more than 40 roles in his new one-man Broadway show, Fully Committed, directed by Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect). He plays Sam, a reservation-line receptionist in a high-end New York City restaurant as well as the table-demanding socialites and celebrities, chef, servers, and more.

He tells PEOPLE his favorite character changes from day to day as he gets more comfortable playing the roles, but they tend to be the nastier ones. There’s Mrs. C-Bag, who is “very entitled and demanding” and says some awful things to Sam when they can’t find her reservation, and the French ma tre d’ with a “bombastic” personality who also says really terrible things, but behind people’s backs.

“It’s fun to find the humor in bad behavior,” he says. “I’m a pretty nice person in real life, so I have a lot of fun playing the really terrible people.”

Memorizing his lines for the roles proved tricky because as soon as he would finish learning one draft of the script, he’d receive a new one with new lines, more jokes and even new characters sometimes.

“I’ve really been juggling different versions of the play,” he says. “So I’ve been wandering around New York and Los Angeles, wherever I’ve been living, looking like a crazy person mumbling to myself.”

Fully Committed is playing on Broadway through July 24.