Five Questions for… Jason Alexander
Congratulations to Tony Award® winning actor Jason Alexander, who receives the Julie Harris Award at our June 10 Tony Awards® Viewing Party in Los Angeles! In anticipation of the big day, we sent Jason a few questions – and he took the time to send us these fabulous responses! (And don’t forget to enter to win a free pair of tickets to the party – a $500 value! http://ow.ly/bhkXa)
Actors Fund: In addition to your award winning role on Seinfeld, we love what you’ve done on stage–especially your Tony-winning work in musical theatre. Is there a stage role you’d particularly love to tackle?
Jason Alexander: I know most people wouldn’t think this would be my dream role but I am dying to play Sweeney Todd. I believe I understand and could bring things to this role that the other wonderful artists who have portrayed him have not found. It sits beautifully in my range. Again, most people don’t know that because most of my musical work has been performed in character voices. I create a speaking voice for the character and then try to sing in that voice, as well. With Sweeney, I could use more of my real instrument.
AF: We hear you’re a talented magician as well! Can you tell us a little bit about your most favorite or challenging trick? (We won’t ask you to reveal its secrets, of course!)
JA: There is no particular individual trick that is a favorite. When I performed my eventually award-winning show at the Magic Castle, the challenge was that most of the audience did not think of me as a magician. In fact, they thought of me as George, a decidedly unmagical persona. I had to create a premise that would allow them to forget George and embrace the possibility that what I was doing in front of them was plausible. I created an act of mentalism illusions but presented them with a mix of storytelling and scientific fact that actually led the audience to believe that the tricks were possible. That was a great magical accomplishment and made me most proud.
AF: What role do you feel organizations like The Fund play in society in general (especially in this particularly charged political climate…)?
JA: When economies are challenged, particularly when people have very little expendable monies, the arts in all its forms suffers disproportionately. Arts education gets less funding in schools, arts organizations get less general support and ultimately artists themselves are paid less and less and given less opportunities to work. Of course, when the arts are dismissed as expendable, it is tantamount to saying that humanity is expendable. The arts are a celebration and exploration of our common humanity, our common heritage and all our combined dreams and ambitions and passions. When we cease to support that, we diminish every person and every part of society. Organizations like The Actors Fund find the ways to keep arts and artists going through the hardest times. They provide the vital support that allows us to survive during these downturns. They literally keep art alive and allow the current generation of artists to go on with their work, which in turn inspires the next generation. Without that support, the chain would break and the damage would be permanent and irreparable.
AF: We know you love playing poker, too. If you had access to a time machine, who would be sitting at your dream table?
JA: Without naming individuals, I would try to assemble the biggest bunch of losers with the biggest wads of cash.
AF: What are you listening to these days?
JA: I have always been a cast album junkie and love artists that have very theatrical flair in their songwriting and performance work. I’m currently in love with the cast album of Once. I am playing a lot of Jason Robert Brown. And I’m never far from my old standbys – Billy Joel, Elton John, James Taylor, Kenny Loggins – go ahead, judge me. I can take it.
To purchase tickets to the 16th annual Tony Awards® Viewing Party in Los Angeles honoring Mr. Alexander, and hosted by Scott Bakula, please visit our webpage. We look forward to seeing you on June 10th! Click here to enter to win a free pair of tickets to the party! http://ow.ly/bhkXa