Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spotlight On...Jeff Ronan

Name: Jeff Ronan

Hometown: Holmdel, NJ

Education: BFA from Kean University and a semester abroad studying with the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia.

Select Credits:
Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Early Man 1 understudy, Two River Theatre Company); Humbug (Bill/Ben/Caroler #2, Premiere Stages); The Last Supper (Pete, Rising Sun Theatre Company); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Satan, Sanguine Theatre Company); Mrs. Gould Welcomes Charlie Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin, St. George Productions)

Why theater?:
I was a shy, introverted kid growing up, and theater gave me a way to connect to other people and help draw me out of my shell. Most new people I meet nowadays have trouble believing I used to be shy, so I guess it worked.

Tell us about These Seven Sicknesses: Watching five hours of Greek tragedy sounds like the worst night ever. But when those five hours include music, food, and the chance to see all seven of Sophocles' surviving plays performed by an epic cast of 38, it really is an unforgettable event. Everyone I know who has come to see it says they can't believe how fast the time flies while getting involved with the stories of these characters. Speaking of, what I personally love about the show is that it's a chance to see these classic Greek characters grow and change through the multiple stories in ways that have been hitherto unseen when staged as stand-alone plays as they traditionally are. Seeing Antigone face the end of her life is a lot different when you've literally just seen her entire life unfold from when she was a child.

What is it like being a part of These Seven Sicknesses?: Being a part of a (good) play is like becoming part of a new family. With this show, it's like being a part of an entire new community. We are all constantly working together onstage and behind the scenes for everything that goes into keeping a show like this running. I was going to say we're like cogs and bolts all working to power a machine, but we're probably closer to cells and organs bringing this living, breathing thing to life.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
For me, theater needs to speak to my heart or my head, preferably both. I saw a brilliant production of Chekhov's Ivanov in Moscow that was staged backwards. The theatrical conceit of it could have turned the show into an analytical look at cause and effect, but instead of robbing the show of emotion, it managed to break your heart all the more by showing the characters as they try so hard to connect when you've already seen the aftermath and know they never will.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I used to have a big list of roles I've wanted to play, but the most fun I've had has been with roles I've created in plays and films and in roles I'd never heard of before being cast in a project. That said, I still want to play all four of the male roles in Martin Mcdonagh's The Pillowman at some point.

What’s your favorite showtune?:
Technically not a show (yet) but anything really from "Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog".

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
For a writer, Martin McDonagh. For a director, Danny Boyle. For an actor, Gary Oldman. If I was in a play or film written by Martin McDonagh, directed by Danny Boyle, AND starring Gary Oldman, my brain would explode.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
Uggie the dog from The Artist. It would just be 90 minutes of Uggie being awesome and it would be called "Isn't This Better Than a Movie About Jeff Ronan?" I know I'd pay to see that movie.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
Besides These Seven Sicknesses of course, the last show that I was able to see and recommend was EST's Hand to God which featured one of the best live performances I've seen from Stephen Boyer as a troubled youth and as the demonic hand puppet that has strapped itself to his wrist. I just had the pleasure of meeting Stephen the other day and congratulating him in person. Though the show is no longer playing, I hope it's brought back in some capacity soon.

What’s up next?: I'll next be seen in an original play in the Network One-Act Festival at the Barrow Group Theater from March 7th-March 15th and in a staged reading of a new musical called Over the Boardwalk, an ensemble piece set in the Jersey Shore during the 60's.

For more information on Jeff, visit