BWW Interview: Jacob Haren Comes Home to San Diego with the BOOK OF MORMON Tour
Those boys who would "like to share with you the most amazing book" are back in San Diego as THE BOOK OF MORMON is back at the San Diego Civic Theatre through July30th.
If one of those young men look familiar, then it might be because you've seen San Diego native Jacob Haren performing at Moonlight Amphitheatre, and The La Jolla Playhouse. He says he got the "acting bug" at an early age, but that the Moonlight Amphitheatre holds a special place in his heart as a place where he fell in love with performing.
I think when I really fell in love with the idea of being on stage was when I did the youth production of Peter Pan at Moonlight Amphitheater. That theatre and its staff are extremely special and even to this day, my heart beats a little faster as I drive up the windy road to the parking lot whether I'm in the show or sitting in the audience with a picnic dinner.
Jacob learned he got the role in BOOK OF MORMON while performing in the World Premiere of UP HERE at the La Jolla Playhouse where he worked with MORMON. What is it like stepping into a show like THE BOOK OF MORMON? Since you found out while working at the La Jolla Playhouse, what was your timeline for learning the part and getting out on to the road?
I actually had a gracious amount of time before heading out on tour, almost two months, plenty of time to pack and say my goodbyes. I had three weeks of rehearsal, which was an ample amount of time. Some people may not think that sounds like a lot, but when you're in a one on one rehearsal with your dance captain things go a lot quicker than rehearsing an entire company at once.
Although, as prepared as I felt for my opening night, I was pretty terrified because Casey Nicholaw was at my SECOND show I ever did, taking notes! Talk about nerve-wracking!
I'll never forget my first night standing on top of the blue platform in the opening number singing "Hello". It felt so surreal and dream-like, and to be honest... it still feels that way.
This is your first tour, how are you enjoying the experience of performing across the country?
I like to be honest and tell people that touring is difficult for me. I am a homebody and I really miss being away from my family, friends, not to mention, I am a chronic leave-behind-er and have left something behind in basically every hotel room/theatre since I began.
That being said, touring the country is an UNBELIEVABLY educational experience. I was in Atlanta in January and got to go to the MLK National Historic Site ON MLK Day. When is that ever going to happen again in my life?
I tried to do as much sightseeing as possible. Some highlights include visiting Whistler, B.C. near Vancouver, Banff National Park, the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, Iowa, touring NASA, and the Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta changed my life.
What was it like working on a new musical like 'UP HERE" with Bobby and Kristen Lopez of FROZEN fame?
So exciting and thrilling. There's nothing like putting up a new musical. You never know how it's going to turn out and it's so special to think that you're creating something brand new from the ground up.
UP HERE had such an incredible team of some of the best people in the business and I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to be a part of it. It took me three days to go up to Bobby, shake his hand, and say hello because I was so star struck!
Since UP HERE wasn't based on any source material there were no boundaries or guidelines. During previews, an entire plot point was eliminated from the show! But that's theatre!
Every day I'd walk in and people would rush off to costume fittings for new costumes added or cut while other people went into the music room to learn a new finale for Act 1, while the choreographer and his assistant went in another room to work on new choreography etc. It's not until you have an audience that you know whether those moments are going to work or not.
All of this and he decided that while they were performing in Los Angeles he needed to do a one man show. So...how was your solo show in LA on July 3rd "PURE IMAGINATION"?
It went really well!! I really wanted to challenge myself to do something vulnerable in the spotlight, and what better place to do that than at home in southern California with my family and friens?
As an actor, I love playing characters, but I felt it was time to stand up on stage in front of a microphone and just be myself. I learned a lot about myself while writing my show and I ended up being extremely proud of the final product. And keep your eye out, because it will definitely be coming to San Diego at some point in the future!
Is there something that you are looking forward to when coming back to San Diego?
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing my parents, family, and eating my mom's chocolate chip cookies. But, I'm really looking forward to introducing my friends on tour to America's Finest City. I'll definitely be taking them to Coronado and Balboa Park and it's going to be hard to resist going to Extraordinary Desserts every night after the show! I love when worlds in my life collide, and I look forward to my tour life and my San Diego life becoming acquainted with one another.
If you want to follow Jacob's adventures on tour you can socially stalk him on Twitter and Instagram
Twitter account: @jacobdharen
Instagram account: @jacobdharen
Check out Jacob, and the rest of his cast mates in BOOK OF MORMON at the San Diego Civic Theatre from July 25th - July 30th. For ticket and show time information go to www.broadwaysd.com
Photo Credit: Book of Mormon National tour