Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 10
Catching up with Corey Jones
By AMY ASMAN
One of the most memorable things about former PCPA resident artist Corey Jones is his voice. That deep, silky bass-baritone helped bring to life numerous characters at the Marian and Solvang Festival theatres, including the titular Moor of Venice in Othello, the lovable fool Bottom in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Booker T. Washington in Ragtime.
When this reporter got a hold of Jones for a recent phone interview, that voice brought back memories of many evenings spent at our local theaters.
“If you have trouble hearing me it’s because I have you on speaker phone. I’m taking off my makeup,” the actor said from his dressing room in the Boston Opera House.
Jones is playing the general in the official East Coast tour of The Book of Mormon, the hit musical that took Broadway by storm in 2011. He’s one of several PCPA alumni currently touring the country and abroad in productions of beloved Broadway shows. Others include Wade McCollum (1997 grad) in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Jillian Van Niel (2011 grad) in The Addams Family, and former guest artist Sam Zeller in Kinky Boots, which opens in July in Las Vegas.
Jones tried to describe the plot of The Book of Mormon to the Sun, saying, “It’s a really fun show, and it’s hard to talk to people about it if they haven’t seen it because you don’t want to give anything away. But, essentially, it’s about two Mormon missionaries trying to convert villagers in Uganda, but they end up going through a conversion of their own from boys to men.”
The general, whose full name can’t be printed in this paper, is the powerful warlord terrorizing the village.
If you haven’t already guessed, the show isn’t your regular church-going fare, but rather a religious satire with book, lyrics, and music by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez, who also helped pen the songs for Disney’s Frozen.
Jones said his favorite number in the show is “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” during which one of the main characters dreams he’s in hell being tortured by demons, Lucifer, and the spirits of Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan, and several other posthumous villains.
“It’s a crazy, fun, sort of wild and wacky ride that is unlike any other part of the show, and the general plays a fun role,” he said, adding that Book of Mormon is “so well written and so well crafted” he thinks “it’s going to run for a long time to come, like The Lion King or Wicked.”
Jones worked as a resident artist at PCPA from fall 2007 to spring 2010. Since then, he’s snagged roles at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and more. He’s also landed a voiceover agent.
“[My voice] has got me a lot of work,” said Jones, who’s also acted in a short film and some commercials.
It would seem that commanding voice helped get him cast as the general as well.
“A Broadway credit speaks volumes with any casting director. It was a huge score. When I got the call that I got the part, I was in shock,” he said. “I give PCPA a lot of credit for my being able to walk into an audition room and feel comfortable pulling some musical pieces from my repertoire.”
He also said he appreciated getting to play roles for which he normally wouldn’t be considered.
“That’s what’s so great about PCPA; they give you a chance to do things you haven’t been able to do before in your career,” Jones said.
Contact Managing Editor Amy Asman at email@example.com.