10 Questions with… Jason Alexander
Tell us about your show coming to Arizona Musicfest in January.
This is the same show I often do with symphony orchestras —a celebration of theater, music and life stories. But the music is scaled down and intimate and makes for a fun, funny and engaging night with the audience. Songs you know, lots of laughs and even some audience participation.
Does it draw on inspiration from your life?
It contains some tales of my own life journey, for sure. But it’s mostly about the fun bits —the things that made me want to be an actor and, more specifically, a Broadway song and dance man.
Speaking of Broadway, tell us about the role you won the Tony for.
I played about a dozen different roles in a show called “Jerome Robbin’s Broadway.” Jerry Robbins was the single greatest director/choreographer for the theater in the 20th century. In the latter part of his career, he worked only in the ballet world. Our show was a revue of his greatest Broadway triumphs, from “The King and I” to “Fiddler on the Roof” to “West Side Story” and “Peter Pan.” I guided the audience through the material as a de facto host while playing everyone from Tevye to Pseudolus in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” I guess all those characters combined to earn me the Tony that year for Best Musical Actor.
Does your background as a song and dance man surprise a lot of “Seinfeld” fans?
I imagine it does. I occasionally sang as George but rather decidedly not well. It took effort to sing poorly. I hope I don’t repeat it in real life.
Would you ever consider playing George Costanza again?
If Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David had an idea they thought was worthy, I would be foolish to turn them down. But I am fairly confident they aren’t spending their days looking for that idea.
Do you have a theatrical hero or a dream role you’d like to play?
I would have loved a chance to play Sweeney Todd. I know I’m not the obvious choice, but I think I had ideas about that role that no one else has tried. They’d either be really compelling or just horrible, and I would have loved to find out which it would be.
What’s it like to be on stage after the theater shutdowns of the last couple of years?
Performers who love playing to and for live audiences need it like we need fresh air. So, it is wonderful to be with people again, coming together to have a mutual experience in the same moment. That is the kind of performing I became an actor for, and it is wonderful to return to it again.
Do you enjoy being on the road?
Pros and cons. The cons are that travel is wearying, and I adore my family and do not relish being away from them. However, being able to visit lots of interesting places —tasting the life of the city, the culture, the history —it’sa joy. There is nothing like sampling the local cuisine of a place you haven’t been to before.
Do you have any favorite places to visit when you come to Arizona?
There aren’t all that many places I’ve been to in Arizona. But I once stayed at a beautiful rustic resort in Carefree. I got a call in my villa one morning from management telling me not to step outside until someone from maintenance removed the rattlesnake from my welcome mat. So I’d say any place without the rattlesnakes are favorite places.
What are you looking forward to next?
I spend a lot of my time directing these days. And I’ve got several projects making their way to Broadway. If we can get them there, it will be the thrill of my life. Meanwhile, I’m excited to share this show with whoever wants to join us. We will try to make it worth your while. So enjoy!
For information, visit azmusicfest.org/events/jason-alexander