BWW Interviews: Josh Young as Che in EVITA on Tour Talks Career and Experiences
How did you get your start in show business?
It started for me in elementary school, in music class. My music teacher noticed I had a decent singing voice and I kept on singing and then when I was entering middle school, my parents put me into an acting class at a local community theater that I did weekly. Then I started taking more acting classes and I kept on going with vocal coaching in Philadelphia and it blossomed from there. The more people would tell me I should be doing this for a living prompted me to look into colleges for musical theater and that's what I ended up going for. I went to Syracuse University.
You have quite the resume with all the shows you have done. You were in Jesus Christ Superstar as Judas and even got a Tony nomination for that. And I also saw that you are getting ready to do the world premiere of Amazing Grace in Chicago. Tell us about that project.
It's a really fantastic project. I've been with the project the past four years doing readings and workshops of it. It's the life story of the man who wrote "Amazing Grace." His name is John Newtown. He was a slave trader in England in the 1700's and he was a terrible guy who through a series of divine interventions finds God and becomes an abolitionist and part of the revolution towards freeing the slaves. I start rehearsals in August. I think it opens in October.
And you have done some work for Broadway World. What is that about?
I'm not really hands on anymore but I was one of the creators of the web series (called) Cutting Edge Composers. I co-founded it. When I'm on tour I can't really be too hands on. But, my collaborator, Laura keeps it up and when I'm back there I will certainly be doing it again with her. It's a great way to try to expose the up and coming musical theater composers.
And you have done your own music. Do you have plans to do more in the future?
I certainly want to make more albums. With Amazing Grace coming up, that's pretty much my whole focus right now this reading and researching this guy that I'm going to be playing. Once that's up on its feet, probably a year or two down the line, I might do another CD.
Let's focus a little on Evita. Tell us about your character of Che.
Unlike past versions of this show, Che is not Che Lavora. Che in Spanish is an exclamation to say "Hey buddy, hey friend." That is why Ernesto Lavora was nicknamed Che because he used that exclamation often. Since it doesn't say Lavara anywhere in the piece, we've taken advantage of that fact and we've made him a friend or buddy of the people. He's essentially one of the working class citizens that Eva seems to be championing. It's a better viewpoint since Lavora and Eva never really crossed paths. I think it makes a little more sense.
How long have you been with the show?
Have you had any mishaps onstage?
During one performance of Les Miserables, the barricade didn't leave the stage so we had to actually end up finishing the second act with the barricades on the stage which was very strange...doing the love scene on the barricade. What else? I've forgotten lines all the time. Sometimes I switch verses in a song. It's just hard not to when you're doing the same thing all the time. The other week we were doing the Waltz, me and Caroline, and I stepped on her shoe and it came off of her foot. We had to keep on dancing while she was taking her shoe off. We had to stop, she had to take her other shoe off, she threw it offstage and we just kept going. It was fun. That's one of the things that comes along with live theater.
What do you do to get ready every night to play your roles?
I have a half an hour warm-up I do that my voice teacher gave me. I exercise at least for an hour during the day. I don't have any superstitious rituals or anything like that.
If you had not gotten into show business, what do you think you would have done?
I would have been a visual artist. When I was in high school, that was one of the things...I had to make a decision what I was going to go to college for and at the time, I also painted and sculpted. I got more attention for my performing so I thought that was a better idea.
Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about going into the business?
If there's anything that you can do that makes you as happy or happier than being in the theater, I would tell you to do it because it's a very hard lifestyle. That being said, if you are able to do it and you're fortunate like I am, it's the most fulfilling work you can do. It's also so competitive that if there's something that could be happy doing, I would say, do it. If it's the thing that makes you happy, then go for it. Anything is possible.
Evita opens at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio on April 29, 2014 and plays until May 4, 2014. You can purchase tickets by going to www.majesticempire.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Termine