CUE & A: Can-Can Leading Man Jason Danieley on Dirty Jokes, Dream Roles and Accidental Onstage Nudity | Playbill

News CUE & A: Can-Can Leading Man Jason Danieley on Dirty Jokes, Dream Roles and Accidental Onstage Nudity Musical theatre favorite Jason Danieley, who stars as Aristide in Paper Mill Playhouse's production of Can-Can, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Jason Danieley
Jason Danieley

Danieley has appeared on Broadway playing the title role in Candide, Malcolm in The Full Monty, Aaron Fox in Curtains and Dan in Next to Normal.

Notable Off-Broadway and regional credits include The Trojan Women: A Love Story, Dream True, Floyd Collins, The Highest Yellow, Beauty, Brigadoon and Sunday in the Park With George.

As a guest artist, Danieley has performed with the New York, Boston and Philly Pops, New York Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, L.A Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival and the Utah, Minnesota and Buffalo Symphonies.

Full given name: Jason Douglas Danieley (rhymes with annually, manually and cocker-spanieley)
Where you were born/where you were raised: St. Louis, MO
Zodiac Sign: Cancer (to a T)
What your parents did/do for a living: Father was bi-vocational: Elementary school teacher and preacher.


Mother was an elementary school counselor and played the organ at church.
Siblings: Two sisters; one is an assistant professor of acting at NKU (Northern Kentucky Univ.) and the other is a hard-working stay-at-home mother.
Current audition song/monologue: Whatever they need me to sing. Does anyone still do monologues?
Special skills: I can tell a good dirty joke and an even better tasteless dirty joke. I'm a long-distance runner, which isn't very helpful on stage.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Into the Woods (original production)
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Sweeney Todd with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury. I know it's on video but I want to see it live - for the first time again, please.
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "The Riddle Song" from Floyd Collins
Some favorite modern musicals: Next to Normal, not just because Marin and I did it but I'm very keen on musicals with an original story that really challenge an audience's perception of the world around them and might even change the way they think and behave.
Some favorite classic musicals: One of my all-time favorites is Big River
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Danny Kaye
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Luciano Pavarotti, Russ Taff, James Taylor, Larnelle Harris, Al Jolson, Freddie Mercury, Tony Bennett... (wow, you really opened a can of worms there.)
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: That one with the really talented cast that transported me to the world of the play and I was absolutely transported for two hours.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Sad songs about dogs or fathers. Please don't let me know if there is one that includes both. I live too close to the GW Bridge.
MAC or PC? MAC. That’s the one with the apple on the lid – right?
Most-visited websites: Facebook (bows head in slight embarrassment but fully understanding the power of social media particularly when promoting a career in theatre and concert work.)
Last book you read: "Dirty Jokes Every Man Should Know." Skimming.
Must-see TV show(s): "Homeland" and "Penny Dreadful"
Last good movie you saw: "French Cancan" by Jean Renoir
Some films you consider classics: "On the Town," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Quiet Man," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Dr. Zhivago"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Marin and I had a great time at a concert by Pink Martini recently. That’s worth a reprise for sure.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: 80s pop music – but only in small doses. Flashbacks are a bitch.
Three favorite cities: Boston, San Francisco and New York
Favorite sport/team/player: St. Louis Cardinals and Ozzie Smith circa the 1982 World Series
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: "Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits"
First stage kiss: Nanette in high school. I learned what raging hormones were. I can still feel a tickle in the back of my throat.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Corp. Billy Jester in Little Mary Sunshine
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: After three years of Six Flags, working on the Robert E. Lee showboat in St. Louis, singing with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and a year at Opryland in Nashville. It takes awhile for my confidence to grow.
How you got your Equity card: Theatre Works USA, TYA contract - The Velveteen Rabbit (title role - natch)
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Post-show: When I ate meat it was Joe Allen's calves liver with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach and a very dry gin martini straight up. (drool)
Favorite liquid refreshment: Gin martini, very dry, straight up, olive
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Light vocalese, articulation and breath control exercises. Yoga stretches. Alexander Technique relaxation, centering and focusing time and running through any complicated passages once and only once.
Most challenging role you have ever played: George in Sunday in the Park
Biggest challenge about this current project: The fencing in Can-Can is kicking my can all over the place, and I love it.
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project: Starring in a reworked Cole Porter musical that many people have heard of but don’t know much about. The element of surprise and, I think, excitement is going to add so much to the audience’s experience.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: The Full Monty when the finale light cues were off, and instead of being backlit we were buck-assed in front of 1,300 people who were just as shocked as we were.
Worst costume ever: My velveteen moo-moo, derby hat with floppy ears for The Velveteen Rabbit. It got me my Equity card though – worth it.
Worst job you ever had: Harris poll caller
Craziest audition story: Any of the ones I actually got!
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? Megan Sikora
Favorite gift you ever received: A gold pinky ring with three diamonds and a star sapphire that my dad gave me for high school graduation. His brother gave it to him for his high school graduation.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Sweeney Todd
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Edwin Drood
Something about you that surprises people: I think I’m funny.
Something you are incredibly proud of: My life as a theatre artist.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I like my mustache.
Career you would want if not a performer: Beet farmer
Three things you can't live without: My wife, my dog and my running shoes
"I'll never understand why…” … people can’t “stay to the right” and “pass on the left.”
Words of advice for aspiring performers: You gotta frickin’ love it and not be able to do anything else because it’s hard as hell – but worth it.

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