Pittsburgh Native Jaron Frand Lands Role in Musicals Tonight's Revival of SMILE

After only a year in New York, actor Jaron Frand is beginning to make waves in the city. Frand, a CAPA and Point Park University alumnus, joins the first New York cast of Smile to revive the show in 30 years.

Musicals Tonight has just kicked off its 16th season this October. Smile is the second show in the season for the Obie Award winning concert series. The company focuses on reviving forgotten and lost musicals while keeping the shows accessible to all audiences. Musicals Tonight serves up a stripped down version of the show, focusing solely on the text and music.

Smile features music by Marvin Hamlisch and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, detailing the backstage dilemmas of the California Young American Miss Pageant. Frand's character, Little Bob, sets the on-stage drama into action, as he takes the pageant as an opportunity to make some extra cash. His plan involves invading the pageant girl's forbidden locker room with his friend's camera.

Frand has a special connection to this show. In 2002, Frand appeared in Carnegie Mellon University's production as a part of the same mischievous duo with the camera. Perhaps even more meaningful to Frand, is his special connection with Mr. Hamlisch. In 2011, Frand was chosen by the faculty at Point Park University, for a chance to perform and work with Marvin Hamlisch. That one-on-one time with Hamlisch was something to be cherished, as Frand soon found out. Frand was certainly shaken when he heard the news of Mr. Hamlisch's untimely passing. He recalls the advice Mr. Hamlisch shared. "He really stressed that it's not about your big break, because everyone gets one. It's more about how you handle your decision to go after it. You have to have the skill and the bravery to take charge of your opportunities."

There is no doubt that Mr. Hamlisch's word stuck with Frand. The young and fresh-faced actor plans to make his way through the industry by taking bold risks. And if Mr. Hamlisch's words are any indication, Frand won't be missing out on his big break.

Smile will run October 22, 2013 through November 3, 2013 at the Lion Theatre at the Theatre Row Studios at 410 West 42nd Street. Tickets are available through www.musicalstonight.org. Jaron Frand is currently represented by About Artists Agency. For more information visit www.jaronfrand.com.

Photo courtesy of Point Park University.

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