This week, I’m a little pressed for time. I’m moving states, and my attempts to find someone to cover for me this week were fruitless. I apologize upfront for how unfocused and convoluted this is.
But this week, I want to write about American treasure, star of the big and small screen, and owner of my heart, Mr. Jeremy Jordan. Jeremy Jordan is a 34-year-old star, best known in the theatre community for originating the role of Jack Kelly in Disney’s Newsies and for coming back to reprise his role for the proshot recording. (You can find it on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it, then stop reading this and go watch it. I don’t even care if you come back and finish this when you’re done, you need to see it.)
See, Jeremy Jordan is one of the most talented actors I’ve never seen live. He’s up there with Corey Cott, whose performance in Bandstand (particularly his acting in the “Welcome Home” finale) is the single most moving and subtle acting I’ve never experienced live. (Both of these I rely on proshots to experience. Thanks, Fathom Events!) But while Corey Cott may take the prize for single performances, Jeremy Jordan takes it overall, because he leaves it all on the stage every time he gets on it.
My favorite example of this is his performance of “She Used to Be Mine” from the Miscast 2018 Gala. (Now, if you’re not familiar with Miscast, it is an objectively silly event. Want to hear three small white boys sing “The Schuyler Sisters”? How about Lin-Manuel Miranda and my personal favorite ADA from Law and Order: SVU, Rául Esparza, sing “A Boy Like That?” Does Aaron Tveit and Gavin Creel singing “Take Me or Leave Me” catch your fancy? Then this is the event for you! The entire point is to have actors sing parts they aren’t suited for, and the alcohol is flowing freely, to boot.)
Jeremy Jordan sang this song with so much emotion that it easily became one of the most powerful versions of the song that I’ve ever seen, and I have seen the show live multiple times. That’s the magic of Jeremy Jordan: even when he doesn’t have to bring 150 percent, he does.
Now, I was fortunate enough to see Newsies multiple times live, each time on tour. I saw the show seven times in six cities, five states, and four time zones. The only other person I know of who saw it in every US time zone is Chaz Wolcott’s mother, and she moved time zones during the course of the run. There is no show I know better. I know it inside and out, and it is very well loved. You would think I would be all but immune to the show, having seen it so many times. (And that’s not even counting how many times I’ve listened to the cast album or watched anything I could find on YouTube).
You would be wrong. I can still watch Jeremy Jordan’s “Santa Fe” on Netflix and weep. He even made me feel for Jamie Wellerstein, one of my least favorite male characters in all of musical theatre. Whether it’s Smash, Supergirl, or anything in between, Jeremy Jordan gives all he has to every part he plays. And for that, not only will I be watching him for the rest of his career, but crossing my fingers come this Tony season that with American Son, he finally sees the long overdue recognition he deserves.
(Photo from Getty Images)