By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
October 9, 2014
Musical theater, film and television star Jeremy Jordan said that fame has not affected him to the degree that he walks around in sunglasses but admitted that he did get recognized while he was vacationing recently with his wife, actress Ashley Spencer, in Sarasota, Fla. That’s where he was when he spoke with Examiner.com, by phone, about his upcoming two night engagement “Jeremy Jordan: Breaking Character,” at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club on Friday, Oct. 10, at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
The exposure that Jordan has so far garnered came as a result of his appearances in such Broadway shows as “Rock of Ages,” “West Side Story,” “Bonnie & Clyde” and his first feature film “Joyful Noise” opposite Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. But it was his Tony nominated (for Best Actor is a Musical) turn in “Newsies” that made him a star and his role in the hit TV NBC show “Smash” that exposed him to wider audiences.
Jordan’s upward career trajectory continues with his starring role in the film version of Jason Robert Brown’s musical “The Last 5 Years,” opposite Anna Kendrick, which opens on Valentine’s Day in 2015.
Here’s what the 29-year old Corpus Christi, Texas native had to say about his Cabaret show and his career thus far.
What does the “Breaking Character” in the title of your show mean?
It’s my first Cabaret show. The first time I did it was a few months ago in California. “Breaking Character” is about shedding your own skin and tearing down the walls you build up. Cabaret is all about showing people who you are and allowing people in to who you are as an artist and performer and letting fans get to know you. That is a little bit terrifying to me because I feel much more comfortable as a character so in an attempt to break through that barrier I created for myself, I have structured the show to fully give a real honest insight into who I am.
What is the content of your show?
It’s a little bit of a mix. I’ll definitely be doing songs from shows I have done. I will also be doing a few original things as well.
I understand that Ashley, your wife, is also performing with you.
Oh yes. She does about 30% of the show. She’s going to be on stage for a few things and we get to tell a little bit of our story. We’ve been together for five or six years so her life story is inevitably entwined with mine.
What’s it like performing together?
It’s great. We’ve only really gotten to do it once or twice before so we enjoy getting to do whatever we want and have fun on stage together. It also gives her a chance to show off because she is incredible and it’s really easy and nice to have someone that you can rely on, run things by and try things out with.
Who is accompanying you?
My musical director and pianist is Ben Rauhala. I also play a guitar during about a third of the songs.
What do you like the best about cabaret?
I like that I am in control and that I get to do whatever I want and there is no pressure to sort of have to rise to any sort of set standard. You just really get to do what you love. The great thing about doing a cabaret show is that everybody who comes to see it is probably already a fan so it’s not that you have to win anybody over. You just have to entertain people who are already coming to have a great time and it’s really low pressure in that sense.
Are you excited about the release of “The Last 5 Years?”
We just premiered it at the Toronto Film Festival. It was really great. We were bought by this company called Radius-TWC which is a really big up and coming film distributor. We are premiering it at a few of the festivals like the Austin Film Festival and Napa Valley Film Festival where I will receive the Rising Star award which is really cool. I think the movie has been really well received. It’s sort of cool indie musical which is not something you really see ever. The show itself is really fantastic and I think we’ve kind of taken it to a whole different place visually. And I think people are really going to get excited about it, especially people who already love the musical or musical theater in general. It is completely sung through with just two people. My hopes are that it will reach a wide array of people but it is hard to know. It just depends on how many people will see it and then tell their friends about it.
What sort of career would you like to have?
I would say a balanced one in terms of mediums—from theater to film and television to doing concerts and the like. My ideal career would be one in which I can bounce around and do the things I like to do and not have to take just any job. Every actor’s dream is to pick and choose and do the things that inspire them. And eventually I would like to create some stuff on my own, maybe do some teaching and some directing up the road.
I see you are doing a master class at the Cabaret during the day on Saturday.
I love doing those sorts of things. It’s fun. People are really excited to share what they have with you and almost always they are incredibly receptive to your notes, criticisms and advice. Any sort of impact I can have on performers is always a treat for me.
Did you have good teachers?
Yes. I had a couple of mentors when I was younger and had some great teachers in college so I felt like I was really well rounded and got some good advice from different angles. I have also had directors since I have been a professional who have helped and actors I have worked with. Experience is really the best teacher and also learning from your mistakes.
Do you believe in paying it forward?
Certainly. I think that anybody who doesn’t is stupid because you get what you give. If you are someone who is going to selfishly go through life and hold everything to yourself, you won’t get anything back emotionally, physically or spiritually. I completely believe 100% in paying it forward. I think everyone should.
What will audience members walk away with after seeing your show?
I try to give a little inspiration. I try to do a good mix of funny and serious stuff and send people off with a good message about living their lives fully. I hope my cabaret helps people smile and inspires them in some way. My show is structured to entertain people and maybe give them some insight into their own lives while I give them insight about mine.
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