Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spotlight On...Jake Boyd

Name: Jake Boyd

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Education: BA in musical theatre from the University of Alabama

Select Credits: Xanadu (Sonny, Cape Rep Theatre); Oklahoma! (Will, National Tour); Bare (Zack, 2011 reading); “Are We There Yet?” (TBS, recurring)

Why theater?: I have always had an attraction to theater, even before I got to be a part of it. I remember going to see shows on school fieldtrips or watching the "Mickey Mouse Club" at home and I would pray, “God, I want to be doing that so bad. This is the only thing I want to do.” I am not exactly sure why I have been drawn to this art form so much instead of others-- no one else in my family is a performer. Over time theater has taken on different meanings for me. When I was a kid I didn’t have a lot of friends and was extremely shy and overweight and dealing with my parents divorce. In are myself at first. Overtime, that reason changed. In high school it was all about my own pride; I just needed to prove everyone wrong. I wanted to show that I was worth something and if I succeeded in this business then everyone who thought I couldn’t do it would now see that they were wrong. At this point in my life theater has taken on a more proactive agenda. Instead of worrying whether or not the audience loves my performance (which of course I still do to an extent), I want to focus on making innovative art that not only speaks with a bold voice, but also lives honestly. Schumann said, “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts—such is the duty of the artist.” That quote sums up nicely what theater means to me. I am sure theater will take on several meanings for me as I continue to grow as an artist. But whatever reason, I will always trust my heart that tells me, “Do this… you need to keep doing this.”

Tell us about Carrie: This production of Carrie is NOT the original ’88 Broadway production. The creative team has taken a very realistic approach to telling this story and any hint of camp has been removed. Simply put, Carrie is the story of a girl who is tortured at school by her peers and at home she is at the mercy of her religious, overbearing mother. This new production offers audiences situations that they can actually relate too (even though parts of the story are heightened theatrically). With bullying and religious fanaticism all over the media, I believe that there is a moral interest here for everyone.

What is it like being a part of Carrie?: This is unlike any project of which I have been a part. I have never had the opportunity to work on a completely new show where changes are happening every day. This show is ALIVE. It’s breathing and living and working. That is the most exciting (and difficult) part of the process. And the talent is just unbelievable. Everyday I come to rehearsal and I am blown away by the commitment the actors on stage have to telling this story. It’s quite stunning.

What’s life like as an understudy?: Hard. I am covering 5 different tracks and I have never even been an understudy in my life. Every day I am learning new things and new ways to be on top of my game. The most nerve-wracking part of being a swing at this point in the preview process is that I have not had any put-in rehearsals yet. All of the knowledge I have of the show is what I have watched, studied, and practiced on my own. And because I can still be put into the show any day if one of the other actors calls out, my job becomes even more important. I am not going to be able to let my focus ease until the end of the run. On the flip side, this responsibility has been one of the most valuable learning experiences I have had in my entire career. As hard as it is sometimes, it’s making me a stronger performer.

How is it different being an understudy as opposed to originating a role?: When you’re an understudy you just have to shut up and listen. I don’t get the say in what the character feels or thinks because I am not originating it. That’s hard when you’re an artist. If you are an actor, you are a creator. It’s in us to want to create something from ourselves. Most actors don’t get in the business to rehash the same things they have seen.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as artists?: Simply put, the kind of the theatre that speaks to me is one who actually has something to say. I love realism. I love farce. I just want to see actors living up there no matter what world they are occupying. The kind of art that inspires is anything that makes a bold statement and doesn’t apologize for it. I love when I see a show or an actor taking an unexpected turn. It shows that they are thinking. And I’m a sucker to see anything Cheyenne Jackson or Angela Lansbury is in.

What’s your favorite showtune?: “Heart and Music” from A New Brain

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I want to work with one of the classic divas of Broadway: Bernadette Peters, Kristen Chenoweth, Elaine Stritch, etc).

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I guess if someone had to play me in a movie it would be Kermit.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I haven’t seen a lot of shows recently but when I saw last seasons Brief Encounter that Roundabout produced I talked about it for weeks.

What’s up next?: Only time will tell. I am committed to Carrie for at least a few more months. After that… who knows?? : )