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Cabaret Review: Jeremy Jordan At Catalina Bar And Grill

Katie Buenneke |
May 11, 2014 | 5:18 p.m. PDT

Theater Editor

Jeremy Jordan charmed the audience at his cabaret in Hollywood. Photo by Katie Buenneke.
Jeremy Jordan charmed the audience at his cabaret in Hollywood. Photo by Katie Buenneke.
Aside from being tremendously talented, Jeremy Jordan is a pretty normal dude. No, really—he’s endearingly neurotic, a tad self-deprecating, and not very full of himself. That last part is both surprising and admirable, given how much adulation he is subject to as a hunky Broadway male (who was both on NBC’s “Smash” and played Jack Kelly in “Newsies,” two of the most visible shows in the musical theater community in the past two years).

Jordan made his Los Angeles cabaret debut with a series of concerts at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood earlier this week, and proved that he’s more than a swoon-inducing gent—he’s also introspective, adorably in love with his wife, Ashley Spencer, and a better actor than he’s sometimes allowed to be.

READ MORE: Theater Review: 'Newsies' on Broadway

The program was a mix of songs from shows he’s been in (like “Smash,” “Newsies,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” and “Rock of Ages”), songs he’s used for auditions (including re-purposing “Purpose” from “Avenue Q” into being a song about Chipotle), songs he wrote, and a few other songs he just likes singing.

One of the evening’s highlights was his performance of “Broadway, Here I Come,” a dark ditty by Joe Iconis that was in the first episode of the second season of “Smash.” Jordan’s version of the song on the show was painfully neutered (a decision that came from the network executives, not Jordan) and autotuned (but that’s a whole other article, which you can find here). It was refreshing to see Jordan’s own, non-robotic interpretation of the song, which was haunting in it’s smallness. Jordan didn’t need to belt out the song’s refrain, and he had the freedom to keep the song in a quieter place.

READ MORE: Theater Talk: Full Interview with Joe Iconis

Sure, there were some moments that didn’t quite work (singing “Bonnie” to a pretty, young, female fan while his beloved wife is mere feet away was a little awkward), but Jordan is still finding his footing as a cabaret performer. “I love going on stage as a character,” Jordan admits. “I love being someone else, it’s an escape for me… the idea of doing a concert, of coming on stage as me, as Jeremy Jordan, is very strange to me.”

He has nothing to worry about. The real Jeremy Jordan is just as lovable as any of his characters, and that, coupled with his beautiful, powerful voice and interesting acting choices, should be enough for him to remain Broadway’s sweetheart for many years to come.

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Reach Theater Editor Katie here; follow her on Twitter here.



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