As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with Jelani Remy, who succeeded Jeremy Pope as Eddie Kendricks in the Tony-nominated musical Ain't Too Proud. The actor made his Broadway debut in The Lion King, playing a three-year run as Simba after appearing in the national tour. His additional credits include the 2007 tour of High School Musical and Off-Broadway's Smokey Joe's Cafe.
What is your typical day like now?
Well, that definitely depends on the day. Lately, I have been so busy with a few different and exciting projects. I love teaching with Broadway Workshop and working with tomorrow’s stars. Also, I [collaborated] with Broadway Cares putting together an event [last month]. Some days I am the best uncle or best son having good quality time with my family. Some days I am the FaceTime king checking up on all my friends. Some days, I get my butt kicked by Built For The Stage. Some days I do absolutely nothing. I’m finding the balance and keeping myself happy and positive.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Tiger King? I feel like we have all watched everything! I’m writing my own cabaret and loving telling my own story.
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding Black artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
To be aware of true restructuring and not place Band-Aids over deep wounds. This is a learning period, indeed, and it will take time. I want us to continue to have conversations and education on how to move forward and acknowledging the past.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
You are never alone. Someone loves you. This is crazy, but it will make us stronger.
How, if at all, are you keeping your creative juices flowing? Has that been helpful to you?
Writing, hand washing, jingles actually. Also, teaching and coaching also brings me so much joy. Armoring my students to do good and shine bright while we wait to enter back into the world safely.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
Yeah for sure, I worked on The Valley by Will Nunziata and Jamie Maletz and Eric Fegan, some at home versions of songs from Ain't Too Proud and Smokey Joe's Café—check them out! Follow me on IG to keep up with other performances @itsjelaniremy.
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
G.L.I.T.S. [Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society]