Michael Urie Brought His Family to See America Ferrera in ‘Barbie’ (Exclusive)


Michael Urie is praising America Ferrera’s performance in the year’s biggest film.

As Urie, 43, spoke with PEOPLE recently about his starring role in the Broadway revival of Spamalot, the actor recounted seeing Ferrera, 39, in her Barbie role as Gloria this summer.

“She is so good in Barbie and it was very cool to go,” Urie says of Ferrera, whom he costarred with on ABC’s Ugly Betty for the entirety of its four-season run from 2006 to 2010. “My partner and I went with his mom and our nephew in the suburbs of Michigan on opening weekend, and lots of people dressed up.

“It was so cool to see and she is just terrific in it, and it was cool to let her know afterwards, send her a picture of us and say, we went to see this with our nephew and everything,” he adds, noting that much of Ugly Betty‘s cast “keep in touch.”

“Certainly anytime an anniversary comes around — I think we just had our [17th] year since the show premiered or something like that, which is wild,” Urie adds. “I keep in touch with [costar] Becki Newton all the time. We text almost every day.”

America Ferrera and Michael Urie in ‘Ugly Betty’.

Patrick Harbron/ABC/courtesy Everett

Ugly Betty follows Ferrera’s title character Betty Suarez as she earns a personal assistant job at a fictional New York City fashion magazine, Mode. Urie played Marc St. James, another personal assistant at the magazine.

More than a decade after ABC canceled Ugly Betty following its fourth season, Urie tells PEOPLE that he feels the series has gained a second life after it began streaming on Netflix in August.

“It’s reaching this whole new generation of people,” he says. “I get to hear from people on the autograph line outside Spamalot say, ‘My mom just showed me Ugly Betty because she grew up with it.’ “

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“On the one hand it’s like, wow, we’re getting old, and on the other hand, it’s just so nice that it still matters to people and that the show is enough ahead of its time that it’s still relevant and it’s not cringey,” Urie adds.

Michael Urie in Spamalot.

Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

Although the show has been off the air for years, Urie says he continues to find that Ugly Betty’s material is “still really fresh.”

“I’ll always be grateful to [costars] Vanessa Williams and Judith Light and Tony Plana for sort of being our mentors on that show because so many of us, we hadn’t done anything,” he says. Urie’s run on the series marked his first role as a series regular just a few years into his acting career.

“They kind of taught us TV and taught us fame, and we got to learn from these great vets how to appreciate something in the moment and not regret,” Urie says of how he looks back on his time with Ugly Betty. “None of us left that show thinking, ‘I wish I’d taken more pictures, or I wish I’d kept my eyes open.’ We all knew how special it was the whole time, and I think that a lot of that’s because of Vanessa, Judith and Tony making sure we knew how special it was.”

Monty Python’s Spamalot is now playing on Broadway.

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