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BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Radio, Understudies & Gravity

October 10
8:07 AM 2013

I'm a night fact most of my friends in the theatre are night owls. It sort of goes hand in hand with the theatre crowd. You get to your show at half hour, generally 7 or 7:30 depending on the venue. You perform, you finish, you get out of costume and makeup, and then you're wired. When you are in NYC it's great, you can go anywhere, do anything, and get anything at anytime of the night. When you are in St. George, Utah...well that's a different story, you kind of have to prepare for the night. The options are rather limited but we make due. This morning, however, was one of those mornings that made being a night owl rather painful. As with all shows press is a very important and integral part of our job. TV, Radio, and Newspaper interviews are fun, they are informative, and we get to share more about ourselves that many people may not necessarily get a chance to experience from just seeing the show. What I am not a fan of however is waking up at 6 am to get ready for press, lol. It was so early that my dog looked at me as if I had 7 heads, I actually showered and got ready in the dark because the thought of turning on the light would have been like looking into the midday sun at that hour. As my company manager picked me up it was still dark outside but we made our way over to the studio and picked up a bit of coffee on the way to help us all get through the 4 radio interviews we had to do. The one joy about the early morning press was that I did have someone there to go through it all with me, my good friend and Mary Poppins, Gail Bennett. As we weaved our way from studio to studio, from Classic Rock to Country, I managed to actually wake up a bit to have some cognitive thought for the interviews and by the end of it we had a blast and finished it all in under an hour. Then I went home and slept till noon, it was glorious.

As with all long running shows sickness, injury, vacations, and missed shows are a part of our business. That's why we have understudies and swings. They keep our show going, without them there would be some major problems in trying to reconfigure what happens on stage. I myself have been an understudy and swing numerous times and it is by far some of the hardest, but most rewarding work I have done. One understudy in our company whom I would like to mention is a cut above the rest. His name is Eric Badique and not only is he in the ensemble for "Mary Poppins" and "Millie" but he also plays the character of Nintendo in "Starlight Express" as well as understudies Ching Ho and Bun Foo. What amazes me is he sings, he dances, he taps, he roller skates, and oh he sings in Mandarin when he goes on for those understudy parts, you know the usual. Well Eric made his Ching Ho debut this pastTuesday and he was flawless. He literally has no fear and it is so admirable. One of the things that I love about this company is the support we all have for each other in what we do. Whether it's performing in our shows or going on for understudies we are always there in the wings cheering them on. Nice job Eric, thanks for giving me inspiration.

And finally if you haven't seen Gravity yet...GO NOW!!! Stop reading this blog. Get your loved one, or yourself, or some random stranger on the street and go. But whatever you do see it in 3D and if you happen to have a theatre that shows it with D-Box do that too. It was like no other movie going experience I have ever had. The seat actually is formatted to move with the action on the screen. For 90 minutes I felt as if I was in space. I was on the biggest adrenalin high of my life. I literally could not breath at the end of the film. In fact I need to go see it again. I think I will go right now, if only I was in NYC. I am sure that it's playing somewhere in the city at 1am. Oh St. George how you taunt me with your quiet suburban lifestyle.


Nothing says fun like press at 7am (with Gail Bennett)

Eymard Cabling (Bun Foo) and Eric Badique making his debut as Ching Ho in "Millie"


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Guest Blogger: Jesse Swimm Jesse, has spent the last 20 years working extensively throughout New York, Nationally, and Internationally. He was Action in Broadway choreographer Joey McKneely's hit international production of "West Side Story". Jesse was also a member of the European tours of "A Chorus Line" and "Grease" for which he was the dance captain and set over 5 companies throughout Europe. Other productions include “High Button Shoes” at the Tony Award winning theatre The Goodspeed Opera House, “Swing”, “Beauty and the Beast”, "Footloose", "Singin' in the Rain", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Anything Goes", "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown", multiple productions of "A Chorus Line", numerous industrials and a few years at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. Jesse also completed the role of Bobby in a newly revised version of Kander and Ebb’s “The Rink” at The Cape Playhouse starring Leslie Uggams and was in China for the Macau International Music Festival in “Guys and Dolls”. Jesse was the Dance Captain/Swing on the Cameron Mackintosh/Trevor Nunn/Matthew Bourne National Tour of “My Fair Lady” direct from London’s National Theatre in the West End. Most recently Jesse was a part of the 1st National Tour (original cast) and closing Broadway company of Mary Poppins where he understudied and performed the role Bert as well as the US regional premiere of Mary Poppins at the Tuacahn Amphitheater in the role of Bert. Currently Jesse is playing the role of Nachum the Beggar at the Tony Award winning Goodspeed Opera House.

Jesse has also worked with such legendary Broadway director/choreographer/producers as Cameron Mackintosh, Trevor Nunn, Matthew Bourne, David Marquez, Tony Award Winner Andy Blankenbeuhler, Tony Award nominee Lara Teeter, Michael Butler, and Nightmare Creations duo Melissa Williams and Carla Kama who are choreographers for international music sensation Prince. Jesse, a California State University of Fullerton alumnus, is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers. He is also the proud dad of a rescue dog, and encourages everyone to open their homes to a four-legged friend.