For Adam Shapiro ’02 and his wife, Katie Lowes, flirting on stage as Ogie and Dawn in “Waitress” wasn’t a challenging job.

The hard part was just getting the pair onto the stage. After spending years acting in Hollywood, Shapiro’s youthful vision of performing on Broadway had turned hazy. So when singer-songwriter—and “Waitress” composer and lyricist—Sara Bareilles asked Shapiro and Lowes to take on roles in the popular production, it took some convincing.

“We were like, I don't know if we can sing eight times a week,” he said. “We don't know if we've got it in us because that is a completely different skill than what we do in TV and film.”

Fast-forward to last Sunday when Shapiro, who has appeared in the films “Steve Jobs” and “Now You See Me,” as well as dozens of TV series, and Lowes, best known for her six years on “Scandal,” wrapped up their three-month Broadway stint.

“I’m so grateful [Sara] believed in us kind of more than we did,” Shapiro said. “We had the greatest time ever.”

Shapiro began his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland as a government and politics major. He switched to theatre after joining the comedy troupe Sketchup and discovering a passion for acting.

A few hours after Shapiro turned the tassel on his graduation cap, he was on his way to Los Angeles with no career plan. Shapiro worked multiple jobs, from casting “Survivor” to entertaining at birthday parties until he started landing parts on TV shows such as “Gilmore Girls” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Shapiro lived with a fellow UMD alumnus, but had few other friends nearby. Shapiro kept in touch with theatre Professor Scot Reese, who was an undergraduate adviser to Shapiro during his studies.

Reese has remained a prevalent figure in the actor’s life, including officiating at Shapiro’s and Lowes’ wedding. After Shapiro and Lowes were offered the roles in “Waitress,” about a pie-baking waitress with big dreams beyond her small town and bad marriage, he phoned Reese for guidance.

“I told him he trained for this his entire life, and it’s only the last decade or so that he was in TV and film,” said Reese. “He called back and said you’re right—it came back.”

In fact, Shapiro and Lowes never fully left their theater roots. They joined a group of actors in creating the IAMA Theatre Company in 2007, which Shapiro dubbed his “playground” after a day of work in Hollywood.

“It's nice to have a place to go back to and the kind of artistic home to do theater whenever we want,” Shapiro said of the organization, which develops and performs plays and musicals in the area.

While Shapiro is more comfortable with a career in television and film, “there’s nothing better than theater,” he said.

“Theater is really hard to make a living doing, but it's completely soul-fulfilling,” Shapiro said. “If I'm doing TV and film for like a whole year straight, I know that some point I got to go back and do a play.”