Interview with “Beautiful” star and URTA Alum, Ben Jacoby


Interview with “Beautiful” star and URTA Alum, Ben Jacoby

Ben Jacoby

What made you decide to go to graduate school?

I felt like I needed more training. I went to a small, liberal arts college where I studied a wide range of subjects. Acting, of course, was one of them, but the liberal arts atmosphere didn’t afford me the in-depth training I felt like I needed to pursue acting on a professional level.

Why did you choose UC, Irvine?

UCI’s philosophy of how to teach acting seemed to mesh well with my modest, and admittedly undeveloped, ideas of how it should be done. I don’t think there is such a thing as a “typical UCI actor” and that’s because they never try to turn someone into something they’re not. Instead, in everything they teach–whether it’s movement, voice and speech, classical or on-camera work–they teach you to be you…only more nimble, alert, and truthful.

Talk to me a little bit about your transition from graduate school to Broadway.

I had no real thoughts of Broadway immediately after graduate school. I had a couple regional jobs lined up which ultimately brought me to Chicago, where I lived for about a year. It was there that I auditioned for and was cast in a national tour of The Phantom of the Opera. I toured the country for a year with that show and decided that when I was done, I would to move to New York. After about a year in New York of working on and off (mostly off), I was cast in Beautiful.

What is it like coming into a musical that has been running for a few years?

It’s difficult–mainly because you get so little rehearsal time. I had about two weeks of rehearsal, and most of that was without any other actors. The stage manager simply tried to run around and play everyone else in the scene. The first time I did the whole show with all the elements–lights, costumes, orchestra, the entire cast–was in front of an audience. It was intimidating to say the least.

What is the transition like joining a cast that has been working together for a while?

It’s wild to sort of hop onto this already moving train–to play scenes with other actors who have been doing the show for months and months and know the show inside and out. Lucky for me, the people at Beautiful are real pros, who were willing (even excited) to re-explore with me.

What is your favorite part of the show?

It might be my first scene. So much happens for my character–he meets Cynthia Weil, who becomes both his writing and romantic partner; he reveals himself to be a hypochondriac and somewhat of a ladies-man; he and Cynthia write “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” and pitch it to Don Kirshner. It’s fun, fast-paced and, for me, very challenging.

What advice do you have for anyone just starting their acting career?

I hesitate to give “advice” because, chances are, someone has found success doing the exact opposite. That said, I think people have a tendency to over-specialize, to pigeonhole themselves. Don’t be too concerned with type and don’t limit yourself to one genre or medium. Try to do everything.

Posted by Rachel Friedman  Posted on 17 Jan 
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