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Welcome to the final installment of The Road 101’s “Acting On The Road” series with guest, Patrick Oliver Jones. This interview was conducted in mid-May. The Road 101 is so grateful to Patrick for taking the time out of his busy schedule on the road over the past six months to check in with us to let us know what it’s like out there on tour. We’re super excited to see what’s next for Patrick down the road, and wish him all the best!

THE ROAD 101: How long have you been out on the EVITA tour, and what were some of the highlights for you?

Patrick Oliver Jones: Rehearsals started last August, and I’ve been with the show from the beginning. We’ve been to some wonderful cities like Chicago, which is probably my favorite city to visit in the US, as well as new cities for me like San Antonio, which has a beautiful river walks that wind their way through the heart of downtown. The real highlight, though, are the people I’ve worked with and come to know. The cast is not only fantastically talented onstage but a pleasure to be with offstage as well. Each person is perfectly suited to their role and the friendships formed during these last nine months are ones I look forward to continuing long after the tour has ended.

TR101: I hear that you will be leaving the EVITA tour a little early. What’s next for you?

POJ: Yes, my last day with the tour was May 9. After a much-needed vacation and then a few days back in NYC, I started work in upstate NY at the Merry Go Round Playhouse to do Mr. Banks in MARY POPPINS. We open Wednesday, June 4 and have a spectacular cast of veterans from the Broadway and National Tour companies as well as those new to the show like myself. Once Poppins closes, I will make my way down to St. Louis to play the Grinch in SEUSSICAL. As it turns out, our director and production stage manager from EVITA were part of the original Broadway production of SEUSSICAL and they gave me some of the rich history and creative process of this unique show. My last 3 years have been filled with ensemble work in two national tours. I am truly looking forward to taking on two iconic principal characters in these upcoming shows. It’s set to be a wonderfully fun summer!

TR101: Do you plan on going out on the road and performing in tours again in the future?

POJ: At this point my sights are set on work in NYC. Life on the road is fun and involves going to some great places, but I moved to the city years ago with the goal of working in the city. So now is the time to concentrate on that. With so many workshops and shows on and off Broadway, I’m excited for the chance to perform in new works, including readings and concerts. Should a tour come along in the future that has a great role and a wonderful creative team, I might be persuaded to hit the road again. But for now, I’m happy to set my roots firmly in NYC!

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The men of the National Tour of EVITA from the opening night party in San Diego. (Patrick is 4th from left.)

The men of the National Tour of EVITA from the opening night party in San Diego. (Patrick is 4th from left.)

With the 13/14 touring season now more than half-way through, The Road 101 decided it was time once again to catch up with our peregrinating performer pal, Patrick Oliver Jones for our Voices From The Road series. Patrick is currently crossing the country in the National Tour of EVITA.

THE ROAD 101: Hey Patrick, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with The Road 101 again! How long have you been out on tour now with EVITA? I imagine it can get tiring constantly performing and traveling. How do you find balance out on The Road?

Patrick Oliver Jones:
It’s been about 6 months since we started rehearsals back in NYC. At this point, the cast has become like a family, connecting and sharing our daily lives with each other. The balance really comes in finding time to both enjoy the closeness and camaraderie of my cast mates, as well as carving out time for myself to work on a blog, catch up on my favorite TV shows, or stick to my New Year’s resolution to workout more. Some cities I’m out and about, seeing all the city has to offer, but some days are wonderfully lazy in the hotel room. As for my friends and family, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites certainly help me keep connected, especially as our tour gets closer to their cities.

TR101: What is a typical performance day like for an actor out on tour?


POJ:
Days truly differ during the week. We do have some days that are pretty similar every week like Mondays (traveling to the next city), Tuesdays (a day off until 5pm when we have a company meeting and sound check before opening that night), and Saturday/Sunday (when we have two shows each day). As an understudy for Peron, a typical rehearsal day during the week would be a run-through with the other understudies and swings in the afternoon with a couple of hours to rest and eat before show that night. Those days we have nothing scheduled but a show that night are chances to sleep in, do laundry, eat out with friends, see the city sights, and/or doing some shopping.

Our call time is always 30 minutes prior to show time. We have a fairly short show, about 55 minutes each act, so our day usually ends around 10-10:30pm, depending on show time. Since I’m a night owl, then I’m usually off to bed around 2-3am each night.

TR101:
 What city are you writing from now? What do you like about it?

POJ:
Milwaukee. This is one of the few cities on tour that I haven’t been to, and of course the locals here say that it’s a shame we aren’t here in the warmer months. Not much to do with temps in single digits and snow up to my knees. Haha. I did at least get to the Public Market, a warehouse type collection of shops and eating places in the downtown area.

Mostly I like being here because I have friends living just outside Milwaukee that I’ve known since I lived in Orlando and was working at Disney World. I’m actually staying with them this week, which helps out financially as well. On a SETA contract, the amount of our per diem is based upon where we stay, whether in producer-provided lodging or on our own. By “taking the buy-out” I receive more per diem to cover the cost of finding my own lodging, which in this case is nothing since I’m staying with my friends.

TR101: Where are you off to next? Are you looking forward to it, and have you ever been there before?


POJ:
After Milwaukee we get a week off, which I will use to go back to NYC for some rest and relaxation, as well as auditioning. While I’m happy to have this tour, I do look forward to whatever is next, particularly a principal contract. The past couple of years have given my resume good ensemble credits, but now I’m ready to tackle more leading roles. So I have about 2-3 auditions planned for each day I’m back in the Big Apple.

After the layoff the tour starts up again in Cincinnati for two weeks. I have been there before and look forward to sampling more chili, which the city is known for. But I’m particularly hopeful for warmer weather, at least above freezing. From Minneapolis to Milwaukee and NYC, the winter freezes have been following us. I love snow and feel like a kid every time I’m out in it, but shivering cold is never fun. Haha. So getting a chance to not have to bundle up in our upcoming cities will be a welcome relief!

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Patrick Oliver Jones is currently on the road with Evita (Peron u/s), having recently finished the Equity national tour of The Addams Family (Lurch, Mal u/s). Off-Broadway he starred in the world premieres of The Extraordinary Ordinary, Magdalene, and Swiss Family Robinson (NYMF). Regionally, Patrick has led a revolution in Les Misérables, made ladies swoon in Beauty and the Beast, antagonized Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and spent his days mooning in Grease. His dramatic works include The Tempest (Ferdinand), Look Homeward, Angel (Eugene), and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (David). On camera he has co-starred in BLUE BLOODS and LAW & ORDER: CI as well as numerous national commercials in the U.S. and Canada. www.PatrickOliverJones.com

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