BWW Interviews: Utah's Own Thayne Jasperson Makes Broadway Debut in NEWSIES
Thayne Jasperson told me over the phone as he walked through the streets of New York City that his only regret was not moving to the Big Apple sooner.
“It took me way too long. If I could go back and change things, I wouldn’t be afraid.” In January of 2011, Thayne finally moved from Utah to New York where after two months of auditioning nearly every day, sometimes 3 or 4 times a day, his hard work started to pay off. From landing a role in the pilot episode of Smash, to being cast for the West Side Story touring production, he knew he was doing what he’d always dreamed he would.
When the production team from Newsies called him to come in and audition, he took a day off from the West Side Story tour and flew in. After the audition, they asked if he could do a call back the next day. Unfortunately, he had to return to the West Side Story tour and was flying out that night. Without the option of returning for a second audition, he knew he had to give it everything he had and hope that it was enough. The first thing he did when he found out he’d be making his Broadway Debut as Darcy in the Newsies cast, was call his mom.
As we talked about how amazing it was to be on the Tony Awards just a few weeks ago I could hear the excitement in Thayne’s voice. He described what it felt like going on stage right after chorographer Christopher Gattell won the Tony for Best Chorography. As one of the Newsies he remarks that “we’re the heart and soul of the show. I feel like I have the best job on earth because I get to bring people into the world I love. Theater is so important because it helps people escape from the world and our spirits need that. And on Broadway, I get to work with the best of the best; the pick of the litter.”
If you haven’t had the chance to see Thayne in Newsies yet, you may remember him from So You Think You Can Dance, season 4 (and the SYTYCD tour), High School Musical and HSM 2 or local Utah productions at Odyssey Dance Theatre, Tuacahn and more. It was his lead role as Ren in Footloose at Tuacahn in St. George, Utah that made him realize that combining his love of acting, singing and dancing was exactly what he wanted to do.
Surprisingly, Thayne didn’t start dancing until he was 21. After a brief stint as a clogging panda in 3rd grade, he strayed from performing arts because the other boys teased him. At the age of 15 his family moved to Springville, Utah and it was only after high school that he braved the world of performance again. Starting out so late in life he knew he had lost time to Make Up For. “I was very self motivated. If you can dream this and want to do it you can. You just have to be willing to put in the time and work.” Again, he commented that fear of people teasing him and fear of what New York would hold for him kept him from perusing his dreams. With his current success and now positive self-image, he encourages others not to let fear hold them back. “Don’t worry about what anyone says because one day you will be on Broadway.”
From A Theater Lover to another:
Megan: “What is your favorite play?”
Thayne: “I haven’t seen a lot of plays but I did see a production of Taming of the Shrew and found it very clever. I really enjoyed it.”
Megan: “What is your favorite musical?”
Thayne: “I’d have to say Tarzan mostly because I really want to play that role. I understudied it at Tuacahn and the idea of playing a monkey man that transforms into a human is just so exciting to me. The Last Five Years is another amazing show with such a great concept and story. I also really love the We Will Rock You Queen musical. It didn’t do very well in the US but Queen is one of my favorite groups.
Megan: “If you were one musical or play, which one would you be and why?”
Thayne: “Peter Pan, because I’ve always wanted to stay a kid. I mean, I’m an adult and I know how to do big kid stuff but I’m like a child. That’s one of the reasons I love Disney so much. Of course, I’d have to actually be Peter Pan because I want to fly, do magic and play.”
Megan: “Any parting advice or thoughts?”
Thayne: “Actually yes! Do what you love. Since I’ve left Utah, I’ve worked with so many people and each person has had a different view. Being able to learn from others has been the most valuable. In general, take every kind of dance, vocal and acting classes you can. Don’t get stuck with just one person, go to multiple teachers. What one person can’t give, another can.” And the advice he gives specifically to the Utah community; “People are always surprised that we have so many good people and so many fantastic studios in Utah. We have excellent training all over the place. Part of that is the fact that the LDS (Latter Day Saint) cultural has brought up so many people in the arts. This has produced some amazing teachers. People in Utah should take advantage of the knowledge that is available to them.” And finally, Thayne remarks how essential it is to stay positive. “You have a million people tell you no before you get that one yes. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t reflect on who you are, it just means you weren’t right for the part. It’s good to focus on feedback and listen to how you can improve but don’t dwell on what you can’t change.”
If you’re interested in following Thayne’s future endeavors, you are likely to find him aiming for more roles, perhaps doing some choreography for a show or “creating a whole picture” through directing. I know I will be connecting with him on Facebook and Twitter to see where his amazing talent will lead him next.
Photo credits - Primary Photo: Kevin Thomas Garcia for NEXT Magazine; Article Photos: Deen van Meer.