BWW Interview: Julian Emile Lerner in LAST DAYS OF SUMMER at George Street Playhouse 10/15 to 11/10
George Street Playhouse (GSP) opens their inaugural season at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) with Last Days of Summer. The show will be on stage from October 15 to November 10. It is based on the contemporary novel by Steve Kluger and directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun with music by Grammy winner Jason Howland.
In this new musical, Joe Margolis and his young son open an old box of letters that transport Joe back to his youth in Brooklyn and the summer of 1942-when young Joey and his best friend Craig are writing fan letters to their hero Charlie Banks, the star third baseman of the New York Giants. Amid the tumultuous events of World War II, Joey and Charlie forge an unlikely friendship that might be the very thing they both need. Last Days of Summer features a new score of Big-Band sounds and Jazz music of the era.
The cast includes Danny Binstock, Will Burton, Bobby Conte Thornton, Sabatino Cruz, Mylinda Hull, Julian Emile Lerner, Junior Mendez, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Christine Pedi, Julio Rey, Peter Saide, Don Stephenson, Sean Watkinson, Parker Weathersbee, Teal Wicks, and Jeslyn Zubrycki.
Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Julian Emile Lerner who plays Joey Margolis in the show.
Julian is thrilled to be playing Joey in the inaugural season at NBPAC. Julian was Gavroche in the National Broadway Tour of Les Miserables, and has originated roles in new musicals for Jerry Mitchell, James Lapine, Tom Kitt, Michael Korie, and Michael Mayer in NYC. He has appeared in numerous national commercials, voice-overs, and guest starring TV roles, and been featured on Last Week Tonight w/John Oliver, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show w/Jimmy Fallon.
When did you first know that you would like to be in the performing arts?
My parents say I came out singing! I actually started as a gymnast. I was on the Junior Olympic team at Chelsea Piers New York and started competing at age 5. Gymnastics is a team sport but you compete solo on each event so it is like being on stage. I have always liked making people laugh and doing different accents with my Dad. When I was 7, I filmed my first commercial and I was hooked! Performing has always felt natural and like home.
Who are some of the people who have encouraged your acting career?
I am really lucky - my family and friends are super supportive and I have amazing coaches who help me to continue to grow. Lots of support, love, hugs and guidance from everyone at Teri B Talent: Teri Bostaji, Haley Horbinski and Jacklyn Tejeda and Paradigm Talent Agency: Ellen Gilbert and Rachel Altman.
Tell us a little about balancing your work with your schooling.
It is a tricky balance and can get definitely get overwhelming. I am based in NYC and go to a really cool school called The Professional Children's School. The school is full of dancers, actors, athletes, musicians and entrepreneurs who are actively working/training at a professional level. When in town and our work schedules allow we all go to class and when working the school provides a guided study program online so we can keep up with our schoolwork and in touch with our teachers.
How have you trained for your acting and musical career?
I have taken voice lessons since I was 7 and try to go twice a week. I love to dance and take tap, hip hop, ballet, jazz, theater and contemporary. I go to Broadway Dance Center and do drop in classes and also take privately as much as I can. I work one on one with an amazing acting coach and take piano and guitar. Major Shout Out To All My Teachers! Charlotte Arnoux, Badiene Magaziner, Minda Larsen, Rick Rea, Xander and Dance Teachers (Too many to list! Love you guys!)! I also feel that I grow with each show. I not only get to watch some of the most amazing people in musical theater perform from just a few feet away, but learn about how they practice, how they hold themselves, how passionate they are, what they do in rehearsal to improve and of course to understand how incredibly hard they work to do what they do at this level.
You have met many stars and worked in great venues. Would you like to share a few of the most exciting moments with our readers?
OMG! This is a hard one! Claud-Michel Schonberg, playright of Les Miserables, came when we were in tech for the Les Miserables National Broadway Tour...performing a reading of Full Monty for Terrence McNally and David Yazbek.....tapping with Tony Yazbeckand Michelle Dorrance in the workshop for Flying Over Sunset/Lincoln Center, singing with Bobby Conte, Teal Wicks and Will Burton in Last Days of Summer, working and learning from AMAZING directors: James Lapine, Jeff Calhoun, Jerry Mitchell, Leigh Silverman - I have been really blessed to be around such amazing and talented people.
We'd love to know a little about your role as Joey in the Last Days of Summer.
Joey is a bright, verbal, witty, Jewish city kid growing up in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood. He lives with his Mom and his Aunt Carrie, gets beat up regularly from a neighborhood kid, is troubled by his parent's divorce, and a father who is never around and lets him down all the time. Craving a Dad, Joey and Charlie Banks, the third baseman for the New York Giants, strike up an unlikely friendship that changes them both for the better.
How do you like working at GSP?
It's awesome! It is super cool to be a part of their first show in their new home, The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. The entire facility is amazing and everyone at GSP is great!
Why do you think audiences will like the musical Last Days of Summer?
The show has lots of heart and draws the audience right in. There are big musical numbers, quiet touching moments and comedy. I think audiences are going to love getting to know the characters and learning about their stories.
Can you share with us any plans for the future?
I am Los Angeles bound one week after Last Days of Summer closes for a really exciting new project...that's all I can say for now.....
For more information on Julian, please visit imbd.me/JulianLerner and follow him on Instagram: @julianlerner
Tickets for Last Days of Summer and all upcoming shows at George Street Playhouse can be obtained by visiting https://georgestreetplayhouse.org/ or by calling 732.246.7717. The Playhouse is now in their new home at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, 11 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.