From spunky newsboy Jack Kelly in Newsies to eccentric artist J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland and cocky writer Jamie in the upcoming The Last 5 Years film, Jeremy Jordan has proved that he can portray a huge variety of characters. But from October 27-November 13 at 54 Below, he'll be performing an all-new role (at least to New York audiences): himself. In his New York solo concert premiere, Jordan will offer the New York debut of Breaking Character, a show he's been touring around the U.S.
"It's a little bit tweaked for New York," Jordan told TheaterMania. "We're adding a band. And each night I have a special surprise guest. Different ones. And my wife [Broadway veteran Ashley Spencer] sings a couple songs with me every night."
Jordan went on to tell us what "breaking character" means to him, why he loves performing for fans, and which Last 5 Years song is on the set list.
What does the title of your show mean?
I've always been a character any time I've ever performed. I've never performed as Jeremy…out there as myself telling stories. This is the first time I'm really coming out, breaking character, and showing a little bit of myself. Breaking character also sort of means stepping out of your comfort zone and really allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And it also means taking risks. So it's breaking character, breaking from the everyday, breaking from what you're used to normally doing, breaking from the things that have held you back.
Are you going to be performing from The Last 5 Years?
Yeah. I've got a song from The Last 5 Years in my set. It's "Moving Too Fast." It's the fun one! I was like, I could do the depressing ones, but…
How was the the experience of filming The Last 5 Years?
It was great. It was too short. It was a three-week thing. But it's coming back around now. It's hitting the festival circuit and we have an unofficial release, which is Valentine's Day next year. I've heard rumors that they might try to push it but I don't know. They might try to get it limited sooner. I guess for "award eligibility." Oooooh. I don't know, we'll see.
How does it feel to be premiering this concert in New York?
I'm glad we did a few out-of-town trials because you know I've never done the whole stepping out onstage as myself thing before. And it takes some getting used to. I don't have a script. Sometimes these things tend to be scripted, but I purposefully do not. I purposely left it kind of open-ended so that it feels like I'm just talking to you and we're being natural.
And I'm very excited. I was a little nervous at first, you know, New York being the sort of strongest-minded of audiences. But going out of town and realizing that these sorts of shows are really for fans and for the people who want to come and [who] love theater and love singers and love hearing stories about people's lives, just kind of erased all that fright. You come to realize that everybody who comes to these things is coming as a fan and, you know, you've already won them over. It's just about entertainment at this point.
That's a brave choice.
Well, I'm usually really good at bullsh*tting, anyway. [laughs] I can fill an empty space — talking. And it also leaves room for me to be stupid and goofy, and if a joke fails I'll just go blerh blerh and move on.
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