Acting Alumnus Marcel Spears ’15 plays Marty Butler on ‘The Neighborhood’

Emma Schillage
March 16, 2022
Multiple families on a front porch

Acting alumnus, Marcel Spears ’15 plays the role of Marty Butler on The Neighborhood, now playing on CBS and Paramount+. 

The Neighborhood stars Cedric the Entertainer and is a comedy about “what happens when the friendliest guy in the Midwest moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where not everyone looks like him or appreciates his extreme neighborliness.” Dave Johnson, played by New Girl’s Max Greenfield, is a good-natured, professional conflict negotiator. When his wife, Gemma, gets a job as a school principal in LA, they move from Michigan with their young son, Grover, unfazed by the fact that their new dream home is located in a community quite different from their small town. Their opinionated next-door neighbor, Calvin Butler, portrayed by Cedric The Entertainer, is wary of the newcomers, certain that the Johnsons will disrupt the culture on the block. Spears plays Calvin Butler’s son in the series. 

A New Orleans native, Marcel Spears made his television series debut in 2017 with The Mayor, the acclaimed comedy created by Jeremy Bronson and executive produced by Daveed Diggs and Jamie Tarses. 

Spears has worked consistently on stage. Most recently, he co-starred in the west coast premiere of Ironbound at the Geffen Playhouse. Additional theater credits include Rachel Bonds’ At the Old Place at La Jolla Playhouse, Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile with Donald Faison at the Old Globe Theater, Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater in New Jersey, the Guthrie Theater’s production of Alice Childress’ play Trouble in Mind, the Classic Stage Company’s productions of Shakespeare’s Othello and Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, and Page 73’s production of Judy by Max Posner under the direction of Ken Rus Schmoll. 

Spears was awarded the Rosemarie Tichler Fund Grant for his performance in the Young Company’s 2015 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Tyne Rafaeli.