UCI Drama Students Connect with Broadway's Jeremy Jordan

UCI Drama music theatre students at the Samueli Theatre (Photo: Myrona DeLaney)

Music theatre students engaged with the star during a Segerstrom sponsored event

By Professor Myrona DeLaney

The Jeremy Jordan – as one student remarked – is an icon to the current generation.

UC Irvine's Department of Drama music theatre students engaged in an interview and talkback session with Broadway star Jeremy Jordan on Friday afternoon, February 22, 2024, at the Samueli Theatre in Costa Mesa. The educational outreach opportunity was part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ (SCFTA) inclusive talkback series, which provides local Orange County high school and college students with access to artists performing at the Center.

Casey Reitz, President of the SCFTA Board, led a guided discussion during the first half of the afternoon event. Jeremy Jordan shared insights about his upbringing in Corpus Christi, Texas, discussing his introverted nature, passion for singing, college days in Ithaca, and post-graduation journey.

Jordan made his Broadway debut in Rock of Ages, where he understudied multiple roles. His favorite role to date is Jack Kelly in Newsies. "This role made me a leader, something that was not natural for me," noted Jordan, who received a 2012 Tony Nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his outstanding work.

Following the prepared Q&A session, Reitz opened the floor to questions from the students. This dialogue touched upon various topics, including auditioning. Jordan advised students to "be the best version of you in the room," "unlearn all the tension you carry," and "get outside the box."

The exchange was filled with laughter, insights into Jordan's voice acting work, and words of encouragement. When asked about dealing with rejection, Jordan replied, "It's all about expectations. Limit what you expect. Keep your expectations almost zero." He emphasized the importance of being proud of one's work and watching for burnout, encouraging students to be their own advocates.

After the event, students gathered to discuss their impressions. They concluded that Jordan offered “good advice for personal life and business side of the industry.”

The 2024 UCI New York Satellite Program students will have the opportunity to see Jordan in the role of Jay Gatsby at the upcoming premiere of The Great Gatsby at the Broadway Theatre in April.