Monday, May 2, 2016
Spotlight On...Amy Jo Jackson
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX/Littleton, CO
Education: The Boston Conservatory
Selected Credits: Two prior solo concerts at Feinstein's/54 Below; among many other appearances at the venue, served as the hostess of the 54 Below Concert Lab last summer. Ursula in The Little Mermaid (Arkansas Rep), Dani Girl (EPBB), Nymph Errant (Prospect), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (SpeakEasy Stage - Elliot Norton and IRNE nominations for Best Actress in a Musical), Gretchen in Boeing Boeing (Twice! Seven Angels; Twin Tiers). As dialect coach, she is best known for work on Kinky Boots (Bway, 1st National, Toronto productions).
Why theater?: I've always had a lot of interests, but never really wanted to DO anything else. Theatre is also a great medium to reach people and touch lives, often without your knowledge. With this show, I'm partnering with an amazing organization called SHE'S THE FIRST - Half the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards sponsoring a young scholar in a developing country so that she can be the first in her family to graduate high school. I've linked their website below. Check them out!
Tell us about I Want To Be Your Man: It's a concert of music that was all originally performed by men. Showtunes, pop songs, rock, jazz standards...there's a lot of variety. And a medley. There's a big ol' ridiculous, massive medley about halfway through the show.
What inspired you to create I Want To Be Your Man?: I tend to play a lot of men on stage anyway, and usually do at least one gender-bent song in my cabarets, so it seemed exciting to just go full tilt boogie and make the whole show an exploration of material written for dudes. I find it really freeing to perform men's material, whether that's rock music, Shakespearian speeches, or musical theatre, as it's often written to be more aggressive, emphatic, direct, and unapologetic than material written for women (I'm talking in VERY broad generalizations, obviously). It's exciting to have permission to be as aggressive and exuberant as I want to be on stage within the parameters of the songs my MD (Brian J. Nash) and I have chosen.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I have really eclectic tastes (which will be WILDLY obvious to anyone who has seen one of my shows). I like good writing, essentially. I'm drawn to full, vivid worlds and stories. As to what inspires me, there are so many amazing people working in the theatre and the arts today from whom I draw inspiration, which is THRILLING. I'm inspired by the women playwrights and directors and theatremakers who are out there right now, blazing trails and making room for all of us, who are creating spaces where more and more voices are acknowledged as valid and worthy. I'm inspired by the diversity we're seeing on Broadway this season!! I'm inspired by other playful storytellers. I'm inspired by living in New York City.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: I'll stick to male roles for the purposes of this concert...Ricard II, Mercutio, The Emcee, Frank N. Furter, Dogberry, Malvolio, Jud Fry, Henry Higgins, Jamie Tyrone, Autolycus, Caliban, Gaston, Officer Lockstock, Harold Hill, Edmund in LEAR, Captain Hook, Sam Byck...I could go on. I shan't.
What’s your favorite showtune?: This is an impossible question. The musical theatre tracks with the most plays on my iTunes are probably "Donna" from Hair and "It Was a Good Time" from Liza With A Z.
What’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?: I don't really sing in the shower unless I'm warming up for something specific. Lip trills, mainly. Boring, I know. I do like to play music while I'm showering, though, because there is no such thing as listening to too much Michael Jackson.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Janet McTeer. We're about the same height (six feet tall), and she is such a badass. I really admire her.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: This has already happened, actually. It's called "Auntie Mame," and stars the great Rosalind Russell.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Humans. It's a great example of excellent collaboration between all departments - writing, directing, acting, design, and stage management/deck crew. Nothing is truly featured more than anything else, and each design element complements what the actors are doing...Everyone is really on top of their game over there.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: "Murder, She Wrote." Murder mystery shows in general, but MSW tops the list for sure.
For more on Amy Jo, visit amyjojackson.com. For more on She's the First, visit https://www.shesthefirst.org/