A very familiar theatrical face, Jeffrey Wright has appeared on many St. Louis stages including in productions of All is Calm (Mustard Seed), The Little Mermaid (Variety Children’s Theatre), Funny Girl (Stray Dog Theatre), Hands on a Hardbody (New Line Theatre), 24-Hour Play Festival (Theatre Lab / Washington Players Project), and The 40s: Theirs…and Mine (The Gaslight Cabaret Festival). He also marks three recent appearances in NYC at cabaret and jazz clubs: 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, and The Iridium and will soon be seen in Atomic (New Line Theatre) and in All is Calm (Mustard Seed). Lets hear from Jeffrey!!!
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: I had always wanted to try theatre when I was young, but never really had the opportunity or the time, since I was mostly involved with athletics and other organizations. I was almost 24 when I was in my first show, so I got a much later start than most. That first show was LI’L ABNER, in which I played a handful of small roles. I was instantly hooked and have taken few breaks from it since that first experience.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
A: Gosh, I’ve gotten so much great advice over the years. One concept that I think about a lot is to treat every audition and every performance experience like a class. No matter what happens, learn from it.
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
A: There is one story that I’ll never forget. I was performing in THE LAST FIVE YEARS with New Jewish Theatre, opposite April Strelinger, in the summer of 2009. It’s one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had onstage. At one of the matinee performances, though, I went backstage after a scene to make a very quick change. As I was standing there in my underwear about to put on the next costume, an older man walked right through the curtain and came up to me to tell me that I needed to play more to house left. I was flabbergasted but could only come up with the words “Okay, sir, I’ll fix that.” Michael Perkins, quickly escorted the man back to his seat, and I made it onstage just in time for the next scene – during which I think I sang almost an entire song directly to that guy.
Q: What is your dream role?
A: Billy Flynn in CHICAGO
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
A: I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I always enjoy “Modern Family” and “Saturday Night Live” whenever I can catch them. I also loved the recent miniseries “The People vs. OJ Simpson”.
Thank you Jeffery- we look forward to seeing you onstage soon!!
Grace Austin an STL area director and educator. See her work at gracemaustin.com.
**DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of THE SCENE SHOP.