Interview: Broadway’s Jeremy Jordan Sits Down Ahead of Local Concert

Jeremy Jordan, Actor, Broadway, The Great Gatsby on Broadway, Broadway, Tony-nominated, Grammy-nominated, WERS 88.9 FM
Photo courtesy of the Umbrella Arts Center

Actor Jeremy Jordan started his Broadway career in Rock of Ages and became both Grammy and Tony-nominated for his role as Jack Kelly in the Broadway production of Newsies. He’s headed to Concord, MA this weekend for two nights at the Umbrella Arts Center on February 9th and 10th. He’s been seen on Broadway in hits such as Waitress, hidden gems like Bonnie and Clyde, and in the Off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors. 

Standing Room Only host, Emelia, sat down with Jeremy Jordan for an interview ahead of his concerts this weekend as he shares insight into his process preparing to take on the role of Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby” on Broadway, and share some of his dream roles. He gives exciting tidbits about his upcoming set at The Umbrella Arts Center. Learn more about his concert this weekend here

 

YOU’RE COMING OFF A RUN OF THE GREAT GATSBY AT PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE WHICH WAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED TO BE HEADING TO BROADWAY. DID YOU READ THE BOOK IN HIGH SCHOOL OR GROWING UP? WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THAT STORY? WHAT’S THE PROCESS BEEN LIKE TAKING ON AN ICONIC ROLE LIKE JAY GATSBY?

Jeremy Jordan: I mean, I don't really remember it from when I read it back in high school. But I absolutely loved it, when I read it again when I got wind of this new production. It's just a remarkable piece of work. I mean, just the way that [F. Scott Fitzgerald] writes is kind of unparalleled and he was so ahead of his time, with so many things. It's really kind of remarkable how relevant it felt when I was reading it. So yeah, I mean, it got me very excited to do the whole show and, and to create something new. 

I've been having a blast — when we did it at Paper Mill — and I’m very excited to, you know, continue to push it forward and make all the little adjustments that shows always make when they get a nice little trial run. It's really interesting, because I don't really know the movies, though, and I've tried not to watch them because whenever I play a character that other people have played before I try to stay away from that, just because it sort of influences you…. You always have that other performance at the back of your mind and then it's a little bit more difficult to make fully original and personal choices in the role. For me, it just muddies the waters.

So it's been a fun sort of creation. And what's really great is that our show gets to dive deeper into the characters than the book does. The book is told from one character's perspective and he has an outside view of all these characters. And so, Gatsby, for instance, has his whole internal life. He's a very mysterious, secretive character for the majority of the book. I get to sort of explore what he's really like, decide how he came to be the way he came to be, and what makes someone act in that sort of way and do the things that he does. So there's been a good deal of creation mixed in with it. 

 

THAT'S AWESOME! AND [IT HAS] SUCH A FANTASTIC CAST. I HOPE I GET TO SEE THAT WHEN IT'S ON BROADWAY. SO ANOTHER QUESTION I'VE GOT FOR YOU, WHAT IS A SHOW OR PROJECT THAT YOU'VE WORKED ON THAT YOU'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT DESERVED A LITTLE MORE HYPE OR A LITTLE MORE EXCITEMENT AROUND IT?

JJ: I've been fortunate that a lot of the shows that I have worked on, I've seen life further along. But I have a few friends that are incredibly gifted writers that I've helped with their new shows that have struggled to get people to take them seriously. Like, my good friend, Michael Mott is an incredibly talented writer and I've worked on some shows with him like In The Light. My good friend, Will Reynolds just wrote this beautiful musical, based on the play The Violet Hour that we released a demo to. So, definitely biased about those for sure. 

 

YEAH! SO HOSTING THIS SHOW (SRO) AND, YOU KNOW, GETTING A DEGREE IN THEATER, OF COURSE I'M A BIG LOVER OF THEATER AND I'M JUST A BIG FAN OF EVERYTHING YOU'VE DONE. I'M CURIOUS, DO YOU HAVE A DREAM ROLE OR DREAM SHOW THAT YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A PART OF? YOU KNOW A SHOW YOU WANT TO BE REVIVED SO YOU CAN TAKE A CRACK AT IT?

JJ: I don't try to think about that too much. Because there's so much that I have like little control over that sort of thing. But, you know, there are definitely a few. Some of them I’m aging out of. But I've never done Sondheim. I mean, I did West Side Story. And I think, I don't know, the older I get the more intriguing like a Jean Valjean sounds as well.

THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

JJ: So I don't know. Something like that. Something epic or something super quirky. 

YES, YES. I'M A BIG SONDHEIM FAN MYSELF. SO I'D LOVE TO SEE THAT. ONE MORE QUESTION I'VE GOT FOR YOU ABOUT YOUR SHOW COMING UP AT THE UMBRELLA ARTS CENTER. WHAT, TO YOU, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SONG IN THE SET? WHAT SONG REALLY ENCAPSULATES WHAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO LEAVE WITH AT THE END OF THE NIGHT?

JJ: Well, I mean, I can give an obvious answer, like, “Santa Fe” from Newsies, but, one of my favorite things that — I'm not gonna give away too much, because there's some really fun surprises in the show… But one of the things that I do — I have a four year old daughter — and one of the numbers that I do is basically a reenactment of us at the piano, singing songs from Frozen and it's really fun and really sweet so I love doing that.

THAT SOUNDS SO ADORABLE. WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN, AND I'M REALLY EXCITED TO SEE THE SHOW THIS WEEKEND! 

 

Don't miss Standing Room Only, every weekend on 88.9 from 8a-12p on Saturdays and Sunday from 10a-12p!

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