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THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars- BEAUTIFUL's Jake Epstein

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THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars- BEAUTIFUL's Jake Epstein

Welcome to THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with your favorite Broadway stars. Want to know what hooked them to a career in the theater? Their dream roles? Their Broadway crushes? Read on!

In this week's edition, we caught up with Jake Epstein, who is starring as 'Gerry Goffin' in Beautiful- currently playing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

BIG: THE MUSICAL. I don't remember how old I was but I do remember having my mind blown- seeing all those kids my own age performing like that was such an eye opener. I may or may not have listened to the cassette tape until it broke. I actually think it's a great score by Shire and Maltby.

What is your most unique pre-show ritual?

I recently started having 60s guitar jams with Jeb Brown (who plays Donny Kirschner in BEAUTIFUL) before shows. We play James Taylor, Paul Simon, Dylan, The Beatles- it's nice because it warms up your voice, but it also makes you think about all those great lyrics of the time. And when you're playing a lyricist onstage, like I am in my show, it helps me think like a poet.

What is your most memorable "the show must go on" moment?

When I was the alternate 'Peter Parker' in SPIDER-MAN I would be on stand-by for Reeve Carney whenever he was on. (And then Reeve would be my stand-by when I was on). It was a Sunday matinee, I was on stand-by, and there was maybe 20 minutes left in the show. I was slowly gathering my things getting ready to leave when our stage manager came into my dressing room and told me that Reeve was feeling like he was going to faint, and I needed to finish the show. And I'm thinking: with twenty minutes left? (For the record, if you're playing 'Spider-Man' and you feel like you're going to faint, you should definitely be safe- so I get it!) Anyway, I 'm anxiously putting on layers of tights, bike shorts, and costume, and frantically doing vocal trills because I'm about to do the eleven o'clock number- with belted B flats!

I'm in the wings. The show is stopped and they make the announcement: "Reeve Carney is ill. For the remainder of the show, the role of 'Peter Parker' will be played by Jake Epstein."

You hear maybe 3 claps, a lot of murmurs, and I could have sworn a cricket or two. OY. Here I go.

I went on. JJ Jamieson (played by Michael Mulheren) looked at me said: "Hey... you look different!" And the audience erupted in cheers and I felt like everyone was with me. I sang the big song, fought the green goblin, saved Mary-Jane, flew around the Foxwoods Theater and bowed.

The audience was incredibly gracious.

What is the one role you want to play before you die?

The longer I've been doing this the more I've realized that you have no idea what kinds of roles are possible for you- dream roles can take you by surprise.

That being said, I need to play Hamlet one day. I'd also love to be in a play that I have written myself. And I think I need to play the role of Josh in BIG: THE MUSICAL before it's too late.

Who is your Broadway crush?

Laura Linney.

Where can people stalk you online?

Best way to stalk me is on Twitter!

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