FRIDAY 5 (+1): JOHN AND JEN's Lynch and Scott
Street Theatre Company continues its 2017 season with its production of Andrew Lippa's John and Jen - the sentimental and evocative tale of two siblings - starring Ryan Lynch and JorDan Scott in the eponymous roles, under the direction of Brett Myers.
Needless to say, it's been a hectic week for the cast and crew (as tech week always seems to be, no matter the best laid plans), but we were lucky enough to convince Lynch and Scott to take on our regular Friday 5 (+1) questions to give readers a look into their creative process and the parts of their backgrounds which have prepared them for this moment.
You should heed our advice: Read about them, then call and make reservations and go see the show. John and Jen is a very special chamber musical and it's not produced very often. Here is your chance...
JorDan Scott (Jen)
What was your first taste of "live, onstage" theater? One of my first "live onstage" tastes of theater was as a middle school student. Our school was having auditions for the spring show, Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. When the cast list was posted on the drama teacher's door I scrolled down the page looking for my name. Next to my name was the title... "Crab the Dog." At first my heart sunk, I wanted so badly to speech the beautiful speeches of the lover characters. I went all "method acting" at the age of twelve and studied dog barks to be able and portray my character to the best of my ability. It was during this show that I learned how it is not the size of a role that matters- what matters as an actor, is taking the role you are given and making the most out of it, and telling that character's story to the best of your ability.
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? My favorite pre-show ritual...I always say a special prayer before the show begins. I thank God for this opportunity, for the group of people I have the opportunity to work with, and I ask God to bless the evening and help me do the best I can.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? I was the female understudy for Noises Off. I had never been an understudy before and suddenly I was understudying four different female roles in a very complex farce. I don't think anybody anticipated having an understudy go on during the run of the show. I had even secretly hoped I wouldn't be asked to go on because I wasn't sure if I could do it. But one night, I got a call about and 20 minutes until the actor's call saying one of the actresses could not be there that night. (Thankfully, it was the role I was most familiar with in the show.) We quickly ran through some of the fight choreography and before I knew it we were at places. The whole show was a blur...I was so thankful to have gotten through the performance without making a total fool of myself! That event proved to me that if you work hard and do your homework...you can let go and trust that you will be able to accomplish what you need to. I have never worried about "memorizing lines" since that show.
What's your dream role? I feel like there are so many! I really hope that I get to play Viola in a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night one day. That's the first role that comes to my mind currently.
Who is your theatrical crush? Oh boy...I have to say that I'm in love with Billy Crystal. I know that's not the "typical" answer. I think he's hilarious. From Mike Wazowski to his one-man show, 700 Sundays, I find him so funny and endearing! Of course, like every woman out there I'm a fan of Ryan Gosling- especially after seeing La La Land.
Why should people come see John and Jen? People should come see this show because it is a compelling story about the relationship between a brother/sister and mother/son. It a musical that really focuses on honest, moment-to-moment organic story telling. The audience really goes on a complete journey with these characters from childhood-adulthood and through so many historical different generations.
Ryan Lynch (John)
What was your first taste of "live, onstage" theater? My first live theatre experience, other than our elementary school production of Commotion in the Ocean where I was the turtle (I know dream role!), was performed in a local community theatre production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Taking place outside on a large amphitheater stage, this first role is what put me on track for wanting to perform for a long time after.
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? Honestly, before shows I just love to sit around and do lip trills for thirty-minutes. Nothing glamorous, just something to make sure I'm warmed up.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? In a production of Catch Me If You Can, I played Carl Hanratty, and one of the final moments of the show is when I finally get to catch the guy I've been chasing the whole show. During the last song though, I realized I forgot an integral prop to the show, handcuffs. So once we got to the dialogue where I was supposed to arrest my guy, I could only stand there and try to find ways to stall. The audience very much understood what had happened, but they were all a great crowd and went along laughing with my forgetfulness of an integral prop.
What's your dream role? My dream role above all things is Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. That's just an amazing show filled with spectacular music, and I would hope one day I would be able to enter the stage as that character. I also sang "Out There" as my first audition song for the formerly mentioned Cinderella performance, so this character has been one that has stuck with me through thick and thin. It's also Tony from West Side Story though. I very obviously am proud to say that show is one of my absolute favorites as well, but I still have never gotten a chance to audition for it.
Who is your theatrical crush? Who wouldn't it be? I have so many and a few of them haven't even had to grace a Broadway stage for me to fall head-over-heels for them. If I was forced to pick someone though, I would have to say Rachel Tucker. I was absolutely floored when I saw her perform for the first time.
Why should people come see John and Jen? John and Jen is a beautifully written show that seems simple on the surface, but when you delve deeper into the text you find complexity and wonder in two different relationships that are also complex and beautiful themselves. This is an amazing show about family that anyone can relate to.That's why people should come see it, because it's something everyone can find relevant in each of our own crazy lives.
About the show: John and Jen - Andrew Lippa's musical about the relationship of two siblings by those names - opens this weekend as Street Theatre Company follows up its successful production of Lucky Stiff with a collaboration featuring interns from the Nashville Repertory Theatre Professional Intern Program.
Directed by Brett Myers, Lippa's original musical follows Jen as she deals with the difficulties in the relationship between brother and sister as well as parent and child. Travel back through the decades from 1950 to 1990 to watch both John and Jen handle the complexities of their own lives along with the challenges created by time moving forward. Family connections, commitments, and points of view are tested while these characters voyage through multiple stage of life.
"This story is about the people who - much like actors on a stage - take entrances and exits from our lives, and the moments we share together under the spotlight," says Myers. "I'm excited that composer Andrew Lippa gives us this unique two-person cast in John and Jen to dive deep into these roles and explore a story that is truly human."
The rather intimate show features Ryan Lynch as John and JorDan Scott as Jen.
"This beautiful chamber musical examines relationships in a unique and revealing way," say Jason Tucker, Street Theatre Company's artistic director. "I think because it's just the two actors, they actually end up building a relationship with the audience as they relate to each other."
John and Jen features original music by Andrew Lippa, lyrics by Tom Greenwald and story by Lippa and Greenwald. Directed by Brett Myers and Music Direction by Lee Druce. Designers include Jim Manning (Set Design), Caitlin Allen (Costume Design), Katie Gant (Lighting Design), Cassidy Parkison (Props Design), and Randy Craft (Sound Design).
This rarely produced musical is a very special piece of theatre, Tucker explains, that is an earlier work of one of Broadway's most popular modern composers, Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, Wild Party, Big Fish).
Along with Street Theatre, this production is presented by the Nashville Repertory Theater's Professional Intern Program. Working along with these professional interns, Street Theatre provides the interns of costume, props, and marketing/development an opportunity to receive professional credit with this production.
John and Jen will be staged at Holy Trinity Community Church, 6727 Charlotte Pike April 28 through May 7. Tickets are $24 for adults and $20 for students and seniors, with a pay-what-you-can performance on Thursday, May 4.