Featured Performer of the Week: Jason Marks
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by BWW Special Coverage
BroadwayWorld is thrilled to present its latest feature series: The Performer of the Week! Get to know these amazing talents as they share a bit about themselves, their work and life!
This week's featured performer is Jason Marks!
Tell us about Yourself, Jason!
I'm originally from Richmond, Virginia. Both my parents were musicians and performers, and my cousin, Michael Barriskill, appeared in Cats on Broadway during its lengthy run. So I was bound to be "bit by the bug" eventually! I attended Shenandoah University and attended their Conservatory of Music where I earned by BFA in music theatre. Upon graduating, I headed back to Richmond, where I cut my teeth working in the local arts scene at many wonderful regional theaters. Seven years later in 2010, I won the Staybridge Suites Times Square "Big Broadway Break" contest which whisked me away for 6 months to live in New York City. During that time, I booked my first regional work outside of the east coast, and headed out to Oregon to star in a new musical, "Holmes & Watson Save the Empire."
I became a member of Actor's Equity in the winter of 2011, and continue to perform while also sharing my love of the arts with young people as a teacher, and also composing and writing new works for the stage.
Where You Might Have Seen Him (select credits)
The Producers (Virginia Repertory Theatre and Park Playhouse), Holmes & Watson Save the Empire (Oregon Cabaret Theatre), Broadway Gypsy of the Year 2010 (New Amsterdam Theatre, NYC), My Fair Lady, Guys & Dolls, Mame (Barksdale Theatre), A Funny Thing Happnened on the Way to the Forum (Dogwood Dell), Das Barbecu (Swift Creek Mill Playhouse), Little Shop or Horrors, Cats (SPARC), Man of La Mancha (Riverside Centre), Disney's Beauty and The Beast, The Song of Mulan, Annie, Seussical (Theatre IV), Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Once Upon a Mattress, Urinetown, Side Show (Swift Creek Mill Theater).
We've Got Questions!
1) What are you working on right now?
I recently completed a very successful run of "The Producers" as Max Bialystock with Virginia Repertory Theatre in Richmond, VA. This was my second time doing the role of Max (previously played at Park Playhouse in Albany, NY), and so I'm on a little bit of a break before my next theatrical endeavor. In the meantime, I'm working on two musicals I've written, both for young audiences - one is called "Croaker", which is based on "The Frog Prince." It had its world premiere last spring with SPARC, the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community, and we recently took it into the recording studio to cut the original cast album.
The other one is called "The Big Talent" which opens this July, and will be performed by 30 talented middle-school age kids. I'm very excited about both of these shows, and hope they will be able to reach a wider audience nationally at some point in the near future!
2) What has been your professional biggest accomplishment so far?
I've always been very proud to be associated with SPARC in Richmond, VA, which is a world-class performing arts training program for young aspiring artists. I teach voice as well as musically direct many productions, and have been delighted to see so many students that I've worked with continue to pursue the performing arts in college, and out in the world professionally. Tony-award nominee Emily Skinner is an alumna of the program, as is pop star Jason Mraz.
As a person and artist myself, I was very humbled and thrilled to win the 2010 Big Broadway Break competition through Staybridge Suites Times Square, which took me to New York where I lived for 6 months while pursuing my own dreams in "the biz." I appeared on Seth Rudetsky's "Broadway Chatterbox" show, appeared in the "Broadway Gypsy of the Year" ceremony with Carol Channing, and had a host of other incredible, life-changing opportunities present themselves to me during my time in the big apple.
3) Share your funniest or worst audition moment
Thankfully, I haven't had too many bad or funny auditions! (knocks on wood).
Several years ago, I had gotten a callback for Old Deuteronomy in the national tour of CATS, and I was asked to prepare both of the character's songs, in full. When I arrived, they had me sing both of the songs, back to back, all the way through. As I finished my final note, the door of the audition room opened, and in walked about 12 people - producers, agents, other casting
directors, and miscellaneous people, all of whom had been running late because they went to get bagels and coffee for the entire production team. So I stood in the middle of the room while they hugged, kissed, and started to eat - I was literally forgotten about! I just walked over to the piano, smiled at the pianist who said "This happens all the time. Just hang on." After a few bites, sips of coffee and laughs, the casting director, looked up and said "So sorry - had to have some breakfast!", and then asked me to do both songs - in full - all over again for the new people who had come in late. So I basically auditioned twice in a row. Then when I was done, they gave me a doughnut and cup of coffee to go for the road!
4) What's your dream role?
I've already played many of my dream roles at such a young age, that I know I'll have the chance to revisit them again in the future. However, some that are on my bucket list are Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd), Albin (La Cage Aux Folles), Edna (Hairspray), Tony (The Most Happy Fella), Shrek (Shrek), Applegate (Damn Yankees), and a host of others I'm sure I've temporarily forgotten about!
5) If you weren't a performer, what would you be?
I've always been oddly fascinated with architecture. I don't know a single thing about it, other
than what I find beautiful and interesting to look at, but I always thought that would be a really cool career.
6) Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?
I hope to be living in New York City, and enjoying a successful career in theater, whether it's actually on Broadway or other kinds of New York Theater, or traveling the country appearing in great regional theater.
I've also recently really started to compose music, and would love to continue writing and creating new musical works for the theater. I'll never be Stephen Sondheim - but one can dream, right?
7) Where can people find you online?
My website is www.jasonmarksonline.net, and you can also find me on Facebook if you look up "Jason Marks", and you'll see I have "actor/director" under my name. My Twitter (though I don't use it often!) handle is jasonmarksactor. You can also see videos of some of my performances on YouTube at jasonmarks12480. Connect with me!
Check out the videos below of Mark performing 'Betrayed' from 'The Producers' and singing the classic 'Memory' at SPARC's 30th Anniversary Gala in 2011.
'The Producers', 2011
SPARC 30th Anniversary Gala
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