On the concert horizon, we will see Jason as "Vulnerable Spice" in Broadway Loves the Spice Girls…
JG: [Laughs.] Yes! That's going to be a ridiculous night! [Laughs.] [Musical director] Ben Rauhala is a genius — not only in his conception of these concerts and how he decides to celebrate these artists, but also, his vocal arrangements are always amazing and surprising. I love getting to be able to collaborate with him on that. It's going to be such a fun night of some of the best singers on Broadway letting loose and just being silly and also…making really good music. I get to sing with four of the best male singers on Broadway, [Darren Bluestone, Max Chernin, Corey Cott and Ben Fankhauser], which is just a huge treat for me. And, yeah… "Vulnerable Spice" is something that we came up with because in every concert I seem to be pegged as the one singing a quiet, emotional ballad. [Laughs.] I mean, obviously, it only made sense that would be the role that I play… We're doing "Say You'll Be There," and then I think we're finishing up the concert with "Mama," so it will be a cute homage to mama's boys everywhere.
What was it like going up in the air for the first time in Spider-Man? Were you nervous?
JG: I was nervous going up in the air the first time — not because I didn't feel safe, but just because I had no idea what it was going to feel like. I had never been asked to do anything like that, and I never thought I was ever going to be hired to do any kind of flying or stunt-related [tricks]. But, I have to say that the first time I ever did it at my final callback, I had a blast, and I felt like a superhero immediately because how can you not feel like a badass flying around this theatre with one hand holding this wire and your body soaring through the air?
The Broadway shows you have been in, Bring It On and Spider-Man — they have very high stakes…
JG: Yes, and I think it's amazing when people try to stretch the limits of what's been seen on a Broadway stage before. I've been so lucky to be a part of Bring It On and Spider-Man because, visually and physically, they are both really pushing the boundaries of what we've seen in theatre. It's been so exciting to be a part of that. But, I do think that in any show you're doing that involves heavy movement — even if it's all on the ground — there's always going to be that risk factor to it. Bring It On and Spider-Man have extraordinary risk attached, [but] you're either going to do it with no fear holding you back or it's not a job for you. These guys that I've encountered in Bring It On and Spider-Man are some of the most courageous actors I've met, and they are just so brave. It's amazing to see what they do every night.
|photo by Craig Schwartz|
Speaking of Bring It On, that show is like the "Where are they now?" of Broadway!
JG: [Laughs.] It kind of is, actually!
You're in Spider-Man, Ariana DeBose just finished her run in Motown, Elle McLemore is on TV in "Army Wives," Janet Krupin and Ryann Redmond are in If/Then (to name a few), and most of that cast made their Broadway debuts in Bring It On. What do you think was so special about that show?
JG: I think that we owe a lot of that to our incredible creative team, who saw a lot of raw potential in all of us. Even though most of us didn't have a lot of experience, I think they saw something in us that had potential to grow and flourish in this community, and I was so lucky that they saw that in me. I think that it was a really special group, and everyone was so different, but brought something so amazing to the table. It kind of exposed us to the industry in a really big way and kind of prepared us for what was to come. I think after that [show], we all felt like we had the momentum to keep going. [It's] really hard to top such an amazing experience, but I think that it was thanks to the creative team, who searched long and hard to find people who were right for that particular show… We owe a lot to them for giving us that first opportunity that allowed us to soar.
Aside from performing, you also teach musical theatre classes?
JG: I've been teaching since January — so almost for a full year — [but] since Spider-Man happened, I had to hold off. I had two different workshops back home in Brooklyn all set and planned, and then Spider-Man kind of threw a curve ball at me, so once I settle into the groove of the show after the holiday season, I'll [get] back into teaching a bit… Growing up [in Brooklyn], I worked at a performing-arts day camp in my neighborhood, and I always loved working with kids. After Bring It On closed, I was looking for teaching opportunities, and I collaborated with a community theatre in my neighborhood and came to them with the idea of doing a musical theatre workshop intensive. Over the course of six weeks, I coached students on contemporary musical theatre songs, which culminated in a showcase of their work for family and friends, which led to another showcase where we did musical theatre scenes and duets and some group stuff. I formed some really amazing relationships with them, and it allowed me to get better at what I do just by watching them learn. Because I am so young and some of my students are only a couple years younger than me, it was amazing to create an environment where we were all working together as opposed to a "teacher-student" relationship.
(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)
Watch highlights of Spider-Man:
|Previous 1 | 2 | 3 | 4|