Jeremy Jordan, Breaking Character, at 54 Below

The Tony-nominated ”Newsies” and ”Smash” star makes his solo cabaret debut at Broadway’s supper club.

Jeremy Jordan's cabaret Breaking Character plays 54 Below.
Jeremy Jordan's cabaret Breaking Character plays 54 Below.
(© David Gordon)

After spending an hour and a half with Jeremy Jordan at 54 Below, you'll walk away with three important pieces of information:

1) He loves his wife (the lovely and talented Ashley Spencer), so ladies back off.

2) He did read (and did not appreciate) the bitter internet comments about his dearly departed television series Smash.

3) The man has pipes of stainless steel.

From his film debut in Joyful Noise (opposite Broadway's current Cinderella Keke Palmer) to his brooding Broadway performances in Newsies and Bonnie and Clyde, Jordan's fans have come to expect nothing less than vocal perfection — a gift he delivers with ease in his solo cabaret debut. This time, however, he comes determined to dish up a serving of personality on the side. In honor of his show's theme, Breaking Character, Jordan takes on the intimate 54 Below stage like an acrophobic faces a tight rope. Yet despite his constant reminders of being securely outside his comfort zone, the actor remains infinitely charming in his giddiness at the whole endeavor.

A reenactment of his college audition launches him into an awkward rendition of "Anthem" from Chess as his show's opener. From there, he delivers a song list tailored to satisfy his merry band of followers. Numbers from his résumé highlight reel all make the cut, with a few interesting modifications that offer a little more than a live rendition of Jordan's cast recordings. His wife, Ashley Spencer, joins him onstage for a Smash medley, as well as a rendition of "Heaven / More Than Words / To Be With You" from Rock of Ages (the showmance story with which he prefaces the latter will make all the single ladies in the room swoon even more for the silky voiced performer). He also reprises his jazzy rendition of "Losing My Mind" from Stephen Sondheim's Follies, which he delightfully recalls interpreting as an upbeat love song during his first sing-through. He also weaves some audience participation into his sweet rendition of "Bonnie" from Bonnie and Clyde, sultrily serenading an audience member, carefully selected by his pianist Ben Rauhala, who Jordan draws into some casual banter between numbers.

As Jordan hosts this laid back evening of modern musical-theater stylings from his relaxed ensemble of a button-down and jeans, we get a taste of the man behind the seemingly impenetrable voice — particularly when he samples a creditable selection of his own self-composed rock ballads. Still, Jordan's most compelling attribute as a performer remains his stunning vocal range and flexibility, best reflected in his effortless rendition of Jason Robert Brown's "Moving Too Fast" — a preview of his performance in the new film adaptation of The Last Five Years. Witty repartee is always a nice cherry, but the meal itself is more than enough.

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Rock of Ages

Closed: January 18, 2015