Monday, October 10, 2011

Spotlight On...Jake Ottosen

Name: Jake Ottosen

Hometown: Auburn, NY, home of the metal band ManOWar, Harriet Tubman's house, and and a maximum security prison.

Education: The Hartt School, BFA in Musical Theater

Select Credits:  RENT (Mark, The Theater Company, Hoboken), Cartoon (Winston Puppet, MadCap Collective, NYC), Click Clack Moo (Farmer Brown, Theaterworks National Tour), and all shows with [By The Mummers] including Winterland, L8, and of course, BLOOD!

Why theater?: Everyone, in one room, living through a story.  I love the challenge of believing in the world we're creating.  Regardless of the material, if the actors believe in their world, indescibable, magical, things can happen.  It can be soul stirring.

Tell us about BLOOD [By the Mummers]: BLOOD is the product of a group of friends getting together and saying, "Let's do a Halloween show."  [By The Mummers] is that group.  This was in October 2009, after one of many summers spent working together at the Sterling Renaissance Festival.  Sterling taught us how to create scenarios through character-driven improv, and gave us the confidence to make a show happen, and trust that we all had each other's backs.  With that, we felt unstoppable.  Two years and three versions later, BLOOD has become a wacky on-stage thriller about prom night in a cursed high school.  It pulls directly from Macbeth, set in a teenage world of werewolves and vampires.  And it's funny!

What is it like to be a part of BLOOD [By the Mummers]?: Incredible.  It's a dream come true to do what we do, and be able to share it, especially at NYMF.  The Mummers have become my family in NY.  We have had bumps along the road, and creative differences are inevitable, but, corny as it is, we love and respect each other.  At the end of the day, we are all passionate about creating art and telling stories together.  I am very lucky.

What kind of theater speaks to you?: What or who inspires you as artists?: Anything that touches a chord of truth in me.  There is a very certain feeling when suddenly I find myself witnessing something onstage that shuts my mind off and opens my heart.  Often, I find that experience in ensemble pieces.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Younger Brother in Ragtime, Batboy in Batboy, and Mark in RENT as many times as possible.  I did it once, but I would love to do it again.  Love in the face of fear - powerful stuff.

What’s your favorite show tune?: Tie between "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha, and "No Virgins" from BLOOD (listen at www.nymf.org/bloodbythemummers under Music).

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Hugh Jackman.  The Broadway version, not the Wolverine version.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Man, this is tough.  Maybe Topher Grace, since he reminds me of me, but really I'd rather get one of my friends to play me.  And I'd make a cameo as them.  It'd be awesome to be in a movie/series about [By The Mummers].  Or better yet, a movie musical!  Will Smith could play me in that.  That works.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Brief Encounter was the last show of unexpected awesomeness I can remember raving about to anyone who would listen.

What’s up next?: More [By The Mummers] madness, God willing.  Our mantra is: "We are characters.  We create shows."  So create we shall, in one form or another.  The beauty of having no specific plan, yet knowing that art will occur.  Keep an eye on www.bythemummers.com.

For more information on Jake, please visit http://www.jakeottosen.com. For more information on BLOOD, please visit http://www.canyouhandletheblood.com/

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