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BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS

BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS

6 months, 172 days, 4,128 hours...but hey, who's counting

It's October 4th, 2013...where did all the time go?

In a way it feels like I just got here and in other ways it feels like I have been away for years.

I guess I should back track briefly. About 6 months ago I packed up the contents of my apartment in a rental SUV, my dog, and headed west for Ivins, Utah so that I could star as Bert in the regional premiere of "Mary Poppins" at The Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Utah. I have a long history with the show as a cast member of the original National Tour and as a member of the closing Broadway Company so getting to portray Bert the first time regionally was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I didn't know much about the theatre other than I would be doing 3 shows in rep ("Starlight Express" and "Thoroughly Modern Mille"), that is was outside amongst some of the most beautiful scenery that anyone could ever ask for, and oh that I would be doing the infamous Bert walk 40 feet in the air and across 80 feet of stage. Not that I'm afraid of heights or anything like that, I mean why would I put myself through that???

The rehearsal process itself was something I had never experienced. We basically had 6 weeks to put up two shows at once (we put the National Tour together in 7 weeks). It was an incredible process and I have to hand it to the cast and creative staff for pulling it off. Not only did the cast have to learn the entire show of "Mary Poppins" from our wonderful director Scott Anderson and all of the choreography from my good friend Rommy Sandhu (who was also in the original Broadway show and closed it with me) but the cast had to learn how to roller skate on the days we weren't doing "Mary Poppins". Now you would think once we were done with that we could rest and celebrate but if you do recall I did say 3 shows so the minute we opened "Mary Poppins" and "Starlight Express" we went straight into rehearsal for 4 and a half weeks with the talented Jeffry Denman at the helm for "Millie" whilst doing the other two shows at night. To say it was daunting would be an understatement. But I am proud to say we pulled through and I am fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented and gifted performers nightly.

As for my time here in Utah, it has been quite the adventure. I wake up every morning around 10 a.m.; well actually my dog wakes me up so that we can go on her "morning ritual". We take our morning stroll around the quietest neighborhood known to man where everyone knows your name, it's like an episode of "Cheers" except without the booze, I mean we are in Utah after all. It has been quite the odd experience for someone who lives in NYC where most of the time you don't any of your neighbors. But my dog Sara loves it and everyday we get to go and worship the almighty tennis ball at the local Mormon church around the corner (I live in the desert and they have the nicest grass around for miles) for about a half hour till she is completely exhausted and lies there like a sack. I try to make it to the gym every other day; the key word being here is "try". Then I come home have some food watch some bad local TV and rest up before I do one of 3 shows.

I have seen some of the most incredible landscapes to known to man here. Zion National Park is only an hour away and if it weren't for, um, a small shutdown shall we say, I'd be there right now. However we have filled up our time here quite nicely, even without Zion open. We've thrown parties, had birthdays (mmmm cake), gone miniature golfing, seen movies, been in parades, and made some truly incredible friendships. Recently this past weekend we made our pilgrimage to the holy land of Las Vegas for a birthday trifecta of epic proportion. I have to say going to a pool party in Vegas is quite a treat and to top it off tickets to see Zumanity courtesy of my good friend Will Wood, (who is an electrician on the show) was a very nice end to a wonderful weekend. As for the rest of this week it has been quite wonderful now that the weather has cooled down and it isn't over 100 degrees. We hiked through the Kanarraville Falls; saw some movies (Don Jon is a must), and tonight we will head to our local bar (the only one in town) to do a little Karaoke. I could go on but there is still a month to go and I don't want to give it all away so till next time.......

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BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS
Day 1 at Tuachahn. Yes that thin black strip at the top is where I will tap dancing as Bert in "Mary Poppins", yikes!!!

BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS
Sara is very happy with her tennis ball. The more slobber, the better!!!

BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS
How I get around town, my 2005 Honda Metro, the cast nicknamed it Yoshi, lol.

BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS
Remember I said I was 40 ft in the air upside down..

BWW Blog: Meet Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS
Press day at "Fresh Living" with John Preator (Jimmy in "Millie"), Laura Taylor (Millie), Delaney Westfall (Pearl in "Starlight Express"), and Steven Goldsmith (Rusty in "Starlight Express")

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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.