CUE & A: If/Then Star James Snyder on Carousel, Kissing Idina and His "Revealing" American Idiot Audition

News   CUE & A: If/Then Star James Snyder on Carousel, Kissing Idina and His "Revealing" American Idiot Audition
James Snyder, who stars as Josh in If/Then, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
James Snyder
James Snyder Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Snyder played the title role in the Broadway production of Cry-Baby.

Other stage work includes Fanny at City Center, Billy in Carousel at Goodspeed Opera House, Johnny Baseball at Williamstown Festival and Rock of Ages in L.A. and Las Vegas.

He has appeared on screen in "She’s the Man," "Meth Head," "An American in China," "Rizzoli & Isles," "Blue Bloods," "CSI" and “Cold Case.”

Full given name: James Randall Snyder
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in San Jose, CA. Raised in Rancho Murieta, a small town outside Sacramento near where gold was first discovered in California.
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
What your parents did/do for a living: Dad is in commercial real estate. Mom is a writer and a retired teacher.
Siblings: Lincoln Snyder
Who were you major mentors/inspirations when first starting out?

My aunt Marcia Cope-Hart was in Phantom Of the Opera in San Francisco for quite a few years when I was growing up, so we would go into the city a lot to see her. I also had an Aunt Irene Tedrow, who was an actress (who actually was best friends with and lived next to Margaret Hamilton) so she was always that example of the working actor who could pay the bills with her craft.


Hugh Jackman was always a big one for me as well. Boy From Oz was one of the first Broadway shows I saw... anyone who can go from Peter Allen to Wolverine is someone I want to be like. For directing, Tim Burton, and writing, Aaron Sorkin.

Current audition song/monologue: Legit: "If I Loved You" from Carousel. Contemporary: I'm not telling.
Special skills: I play a bunch of instruments.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Basketball, maybe because I grew up playing soccer. I just missed that boat.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Aida. It was in previews and I waited in line for student rush at 10 AM.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Opening night of the first production of Carousel
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Once (although it is closing). I've seen it 3 times. Tragic and beautiful, you can't beat that combo. Hedwig. Nuff said.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Soliloquy" from Carousel. (notice a theme here?)
Some favorite modern musicals: I have rarely met a musical I haven't liked.
Some favorite classic musicals: I grew up watching musicals like The Music Man and Oklahoma! My holiday favorite is "Scrooge!" with Albert Finney.
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Danny Kaye. "The Court Jester" is another fave... the Vessel with the Pestle and whatnot.
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: John Raitt. He's my kind of Tenor.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Pearl Jam and Rolling Stones' "Bridges to Babylon" tour at Oakland Coliseum. Poured rain until the Stones came out. Even Mother Nature loves the Stones.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Country music. Yep. Country music. The sentimentality is allowed to be there a bit more than most pop music.
Most played song on your iPod: It's all kids' music now! "Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog…"
Most-visited websites: Netflix... where would I be without Netflix?
Favorite Tweeters: Nathan Fillion can turn a good phrase. Of the Broadway folk, Josh Gad and Laura Benanti are always hilarious.
Last book you read: "America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't" by Stephen Colbert (which he signed when he visited!)
Must-see TV show(s): "Breaking Bad" for the mature folk, "Doctor Who" for the dreamers (it is always a reminder of how connected everything we do is to the world around us, and how we can always choose the greater path... sound like a familiar theme?)
Last good movie you saw: "Birdman"
Some films you consider classics: The original "Star Wars" trilogy
Performer you would drop everything to go see: I'm working with her.
Three favorite cities: Vancouver, Los Angeles, NY
Favorite sport/team/player: SF 49ers!!!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie soundtrack. (Lin-Manuel would be proud)
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Jesus in Godspell or Harold Hill in The Music Man
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Watching the Aaron Sorkin TV show "Sports Night." Or Hugh Jackman in Oklahoma!
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I usually sneak into Corso, the coffee place across from our theatre, right before half hour to grab a quick sandwich or salad. After the show, if I'm feeling naughty, the burger at Lillie's is awesome.
Favorite liquid refreshment: A nice iced Americano is wonderful.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Tea, relax, breathe, talk too much to the sound or wardrobe department.
Most challenging role you have ever played: Billy Bigelow in Carousel. Or Cry-Baby. I've never had to dance so hard or sing so much!
Biggest challenge about this current project: Keeping everything new and fresh, although Idina is so organic in her process, it feels new all the time.
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project:

The family that we have built as a cast. Truly, every person in the building is a pleasure to see every day on stage and off. Also, did I mention I get to kiss Idina Menzel?!

Worst costume ever: I was dressed as a French poodle.
Worst job you ever had: Morning shift at a bar right after college. I was auditioning in the afternoon and doing a musical with Kristen Bell (who wasn't even Veronica Mars yet) at night for 8 dollars a show.
Craziest audition story: I ripped my pants auditioning for American Idiot. I was in full punk rock gear and gave everything I had, I got back in the waiting room after and looked down… the crotch had ripped. Best part: I wasn't wearing underwear.
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? Anthony Rapp
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Shakespeare... any Shakespeare.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: See above Shakespeare comment.
Something about you that surprises people: What a goofball I am.
Something you are incredibly proud of: My son. My amazing family.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I love Taylor Swift.
Career you would want if not a performer: One that connects with people and helps them feel connected.
Three things you can't live without: Food, my family, hugs
"I'll never understand why…" … there is always room for understanding... we can all know everything, without ever knowing why.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Work hard, listen, be kind, and never forget you are enough. You. Are. Enough.
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