Review: Jeremy Jordan CARRY ON Achieves New Heights In Storytelling

Debuting on May 6th for 54 Below Premieres, the film of Jordan's 2020 show must not be missed.

By: May. 01, 2021
Review: Jeremy Jordan CARRY ON Achieves New Heights In Storytelling

A famous musical tells the story of a famous artist and his (fictional) grandson, also an artist. At one point in each man's story, the artist utters a wish to get through to something new, something that is his own. That is, perhaps, the wish of every true artist - to find something, to create something that comes from a place deep within, to bring it into a world that has never seen the like before. Some artists go their entire lives, the wish to create something new remaining unfulfilled.

Jeremy Jordan is not one of those artists.

On May 6th, 54 Below Premieres will debut Mr. Jordan's film CARRY ON, after which the in-house production will stream until May 27th, and Jeremy Jordan will have taken his art as a storyteller, yet again, to a new level. The film started in 2020 as a one-man play masquerading as a cabaret show in which Jordan shared stories both painful and joyous from his past while pondering his present and future as a father. The self-penned piece was an unforgettable evening of theater in which the actor challenged himself and won, but when the show's run ended, the pandemic hit. During the year-long show business shutdown, Jordan devised to turn the act into a film, a task that requires change, especially in a time of great change, and that can complicate the artistic process in ways unexpected. Remember the translations from stage to screen of treasured Broadway musicals A Chorus Line and Man of LaMancha? How about Mame? What would become of Carry On, in the transition from the stage of 54 Below to the screen of 54 Below Premieres?

The Sound of Music, that's what. Fiddler on the Roof, that's what. Oliver!, that's what.

Carry On, the film, takes every great moment from Carry On, the cabaret and turns it into a cinematic experience of such layered nuance that the experience of watching the show unfold is like seeing a slow-motion capture of an enormous blossom as it opens to its fullest, and most breathtaking effect. Written and directed by Jordan himself, the sensationally theatrical show is captured on film by Cody Williams in KJ Hardy's glorious lighting that blends seamlessly from rock concert colors to warm black box hues. Indeed, for the ever-changing auras of the emotionally provocative play, there are surprises in all aspects of the filmmaking, surprises this writer would not deprive future viewers of by describing them. Suffice it to say that Mr. Jordan is fortunate to have entrusted his creation to the filmmaking team that has, so eloquently, preserved it in this medium with Director of Photography Adam Paul Verity's spectacular camera work and lightning-fast editing, and Amanda Raymond's intricate work on sound, making sure that each whispered tone and every bellowing roar from Jordan are evenly matched. With this technical team on that side of the cameras, Jeremy Jordan was given carte blanche to do what he does best: tell the story.

And how he tells the story.

When you see a singing actor live, it is very easy to be swept up in the moment, indeed, swept away by their power. After all, it's live theater, and when live theater is good, it's always a thrill, and who doesn't love being captured in a thrill? When one takes that live experience and puts it in a vacuum where there is no sound from an appreciative audience to tell members of an at-home audience that what they are watching is quality, that at-home audience has to decide for themselves. That's a tricky, scary, unfamiliar place to put an actor. And you don't know how hard it is to do what they do until you see them do it in a quiet room with a movie camera justthisclose to their face. Well, watch Jeremy Jordan in this film and you can see the skill, unparalleled, up close and in person. Without benefit of a room full of people upon whom to lavish his acting skills, Jordan goes full-opera, daring to be as theatrical, as silly, as showy as any given number should require, if it will get the story across. He does this with total absence of self-consciousness, not only giving in to the theatricality but reveling in it -- in front of a movie camera! Think of how hard it must be to present theatricality for a movie camera - that is, literally, going in two different directions at the same time. Piece of cake. Jordan's got this in the bag. Happy? No problem. Sad? You got it. Goofy? But of course. Jeremy Jordan manages to land in multiple lanes, traveling multiple trajectories, at multiple speeds, all in one film that is equal parts rock concert, tongue-in-cheek cabaret, and Moth storytelling. In the quietest moments and at the silliest junctures, Jordan is comfortable, authentic, and earnest in his mission to meld entertainment with the telling of the truth. This is storytelling, theatrical, musical, and cinematic, at its most elegant and most human.

Musically, he can't be matched. With that voice that makes you want to shake your head and the guidance of brilliant and generous musical director Benjamin Rauhala, Mr. Jordan inspires, first, the holding of one's breath, then the shedding of tears, and finally the clutching of your heart. Whether singing Mermaid, Newsie, Krauss, Iconis, or Jordan himself, Jeremy proves, yet again, that whatever the medium, whatever the music, whatever the tale, it will be told better by Jeremy Jordan. Oh, you read that right: Jeremy Jordan is a songwriter, and he performs two of his own compositions at the front and back ends of the show... and they are a revelation that will leave you craving more. The entire nearly ninety-minute film will leave you wanting more because when you find something new that you like, you want more of it immediately.

And Jeremy Jordan's Carry On is something new, make no mistake; it is something new, and something that is his own.

Jeremy Jordan CARRY On debuts on May 6th on 54 Below Premieres, then streams May 7 through May 27. For tickets and information click HERE.

2023 Regional Awards


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