I got my Backstage Bistro Award, I should just retire. You know, that's a good question and I guess it's really really different for everybody.— Jason Graae
The most pioneering Jason Graae quotes that are new and everybody is talking about
My whole family is in the arts some way or the other.
My father was a cellist in a symphony outside Chicago that was a side-job, he was a scientist. My mother was a dancer in New York. She was next-door neighbors with Dorothy Loudon and they moved to New York together. Mom was a dancer in New York for several years before she got married. My sister was a classical pianist. And my brother was a partier. So it all just seemed to work.
The operas that I do are more in the operetta world, but I've gotten to do them in all of these major opera companies so it's been really wild. And I feel comfortable in that world because I went Cincinnati Conservatory and I hung out with all those kinds of people, I love hanging out with them and I understand them and their "diva-osity."
I'm trying to make it a little bit more personal this time.
All my shows are hodge-podges, and this one is no exception but this one delves a little more deeper into my life and my world. Hopefully it's funny. I did a version of this at Birdland last January and it's similar-ish to what I've done before. But I've been working on it all year; I did it out here in Los Angeles in a theatre and kept developing it. Hopefully it'll be better.
I come in as an actor, having read through the script a few times, made a couple of character-choices, thinking I'm going to be working on it during rehearsals. It's very different. It takes a while we're always like dogs sniffing each other's asses.
I know when I like to go see a show, I like to see people show as many different facets of themselves as they can, because I think that's the fun of it.
If you don't get a laugh I immediately think it's somebody else's fault.
You can always blame the material. But when it's just yourself and songs that you've picked up because you love them and stories that you've written yourself and patter you think is really funny if that tanks, there's no one to blame it on. God knows, I try!
But the stuff that I do is more like all the comic roles like in The Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus and I just did this Offenbach operetta at the LA Opera. I love it. I just love it. For me, it's like a great mesh of musical theatre and my classical oboe background to be standing on these huge stages with a full orchestra and all the opulence. I'm a complete sucker for the over-the-topness.
I think it's keeping a surprise element, so that the audience never gets ahead of you. I like to pull the rug out from audiences, I don't like for them to think they know what's happening next.
I also think the reason I like to do a one-man show is you're not limited into the confines of a role. There's so many facets to actors and I think it's important to push those limits, as far as what a person can do.
Yeah, the actors really come in as lumps of clay.
We're ready to work with the directors and find our way. These guys really come in having done their work.
I'm a prostitute. Do you know what, it really is basically I just really like to work! I'm thrilled that there's a variety. It's why I got into this business to begin with, because I really don't have the discipline or intellect to have a 9-to-5 job. But I came from a classical music background and I merged that to theatre, it kind of opened up the door to a lot of different possibilities.
When I do operas, I'm not really singing very classically.
I have a classical background as far as being a pianist and an oboist, but my voice isn't really classical in the operatic sense. But I certainly have a classical sensibility, so I'm comfortable being in that world.
That's opera! I just love it. It just thrills me! And it's very different than theatre, and sometimes it can be frustrating because when you come in the first day of rehearsals obviously you're an opera fan, right?
There's lots of room to be your own worse critic.
It's just you, so I think that's inherit, that voice that's always that's there monitoring everything you do. It's definitely worse; the critic is harder when it's just you. If you're doing a show, then the critic can blame the other actors your with.