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BWW Feature: At Home With Jayson Kerr

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BWW Feature: At Home With Jayson Kerr

Jayson Kerr is a man on the move. Whether his focus is on one of his show business jobs, his activism, or his social life, he is that guy who is constantly in motion. Taking advantage of being under quarantine, Kerr is making the most of every minute. That's because Jayson Kerr eats life. He knows no other way. As long as there is a day ahead of him, he's going to embrace it.

I caught up with the singing actor to find out how someone with high energy handles a lockdown, to talk world affairs, and definitely to catch up on Drag Race.

This interview was conducted digitally and has received minor edits.

Name: Jayson Kerr
First Cabaret Show: Seen - John Bucchino, 2001 ( literally the week after 9/11), FireBird
Most Recent Cabaret Show: Seen - Not counting the shows at 54 Below? I saw Marilyn Maye at Dizzy's February 22nd.
Website or Social Media Handles: @JaysonLKerr

Jayson, how are you doing in lockdown? In the city or out where nature is more readily available?

I'm just trying to stay busy during this time, we will NEVER GET THIS MUCH FREE TIME EVER AGAIN!! I do try to balance my time between staying in and working and walking to a park, grabbing a bottle of wine, and reading for a few hours...or checking out the gentlemen running and working out...whichever is more interesting.

What have been your quarantine essentials these last three months?

My goodness, if I didn't have wine, gin and vodka the pirin tablets wouldn't do me any good anyway.

Your social media has been a treasure trove of Tony Awards performances by our great black artists over the years. How old were you when you discovered the Tonys? And what is the Youtube Tonys clip you watch the most often?

I discovered the Tony's when I was about 17 years old. We had our senior trip to NYC and I was put in charge of researching the best musicals that were currently running and making a decision for the class. ( I chose Ragtime, life-changing) But it became a habit for me to read Playbill and I discovered that there was this glittery award show that happened yearly, where the gayest of the gay meet! I was on board and I've been a fan ever since. As far as my most frequented Tony YouTube clip...It's gotta be a tie between Tonya Pinkins in Caroline or Change and Bosom Buddies with Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury.

That Youtube crawl through the Tonys was clearly your response to both the loss of the Tony Awards this year and blacklivesmatter. Are you preparing a similar online celebration for Gay Pride, since it has also been put on hold for 2020?

Thank you for recognizing that. You know, I wasn't planning on doing anything and then I just started posting, I don't know. If the spirit moves me, maybe I will.

Tell me about the Antonyos tomorrow night.

Oh my goodness, I was so excited when they announced it and I cannot wait to see it. I usually am rooting for everyone black anyway, so I just might explode! I don't know a whole lot about it except for the nominees, I love to be surprised I don't look too much into things. Congrats and a huge thank you to Broadway Black and the entire team for getting this up and running.

BWW Feature: At Home With Jayson Kerr

Editors Note: Learn more about the Antonyos and Broadway Black at their website HERE

So, we're under quarantine, we have tragedies and protests, the administration is stripping LGBTQ+ people of their rights, there's no Tony Awards and no physical Pride celebrations. As a gay, black man who works in the theater, this is a lot to deal with - and I'm not being in any way humorous because, obviously, some of these things hold more gravitas than the others, but they all still matter. What are you finding is your most effective coping mechanism during all this?

It's a tough time because we are all being forced to open some pretty nasty, infected wounds and do some cleaning. I am grateful that we are all experiencing it at the same time, maybe it'll heal better...this time. I hope for the future that people will see the need for representation in all fields of entertainment. I'm hoping to see more people of color as directors, producers, lighting designers, company managers, stage managers, casting directors, etc going forward. As for my coping mechanism I'm finding that staying busy helps me, I wake up and I don't listen to the news first thing anymore. I walk away from my phone or leave it on the other side of the house when I need to lessen the noise from everything around me....and gin...specifically gin and tonic...although as it's been getting warmer I'm enjoying a gin mule, and I also make an incredible Pomegranate Margarita!

I also was fortunate to work on a small project for Artist Against Brutality that will be released tomorrow, it was great to sing something since I haven't been singing a whole lot since we've been in quarantine. I'll be posting it to all my social media, so keep an eye out.

Tell me about your work as a supernumerary at The Metropolitan Opera.

I've worked there the past five years, I absolutely love it! I always say, everyone should get the opportunity to not only stand on that incredible stage but also to hear these gorgeous voices as close as I am hearing them. Also, to wear the costumes is a dream come true! Here is a picture of me in Rusalka. That costume is probably my favorite!

BWW Feature: At Home With Jayson Kerr

Your day to day living in Manhattan seems to take you in many different directions. Do you have projects of your own making that could set you on a more independent life as an artist? Things that you work on from home that are separate from the aegis of other people?

I'm always writing things and editing old things for what I do not know, but as soon as they come together I'm sure I'll put something together. But at the moment, since we are just at home, I'm poking around the voiceover everyone else. So who knows if anything will come of it. But it's keeping me off the streets.

A lot of artists and teachers have been exploring the option of online shows. Is that something that appeals to you?

It doesn't appeal to me, I need a live audience. I wanna know if the joke stinks, or a moment doesn't work immediately! Telling a joke, or emoting into my Macbook feels like I'm screaming into a vacuum.

Jayson, how have you enjoyed the RuPaul shows of 2020 so far? All Stars or the normal season?

I'm very pleased with how the normal season ended, the She**yP*e drama was too much, but I'm glad she was properly handled. As for All Stars, I'm looking forward to Shea Coulee taking the crown.

BWW Feature: At Home With Jayson Kerr

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From This Author Stephen Mosher