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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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Broadway. The ultimate goal. The big time. The main sign that your show has “made it.” The pinnacle of success.

Or is it?

Plenty of shows that you think could go to Broadway don’t go to Broadway. Or, at least not right away. For one reason or another, producers decide that Broadway is not the right fit, and rather than take their shows directly to Broadway, choose to take them on the road instead.

Taking a show on tour rather than going directly to Broadway, or avoiding Broadway altogether has a lot of potential upsides. It allows the creative teams to regularly observe their shows and make tweaks all along the way. It keeps the shows away from the scrutiny of New York City’s critics and bloggers. It gives the shows a chance to build up their name and brand. It is likely going to be cheaper to build a touring show and sustain weekly operating expenses on the road compared to Broadway, which mitigates some of the financial risk. And, while Broadway is an amazing brand, a show that is not ready for Broadway, or not the right fit for Broadway, but makes the decision to go for a Broadway run, runs the risk of being “branded” by the critics and bad word of mouth, which could ultimately lead, as it often has, to an early closing, and significant losses.

Several shows are out on the road now that could, but may or may not ultimately come to Broadway, or to Off-Broadway for that matter, such as FLASHDANCETHE WIZARD OF OZ and I LOVE LUCY – LIVE ON STAGE  to name a few, and below is a link to a recent article about another show that is keeping a safe distance from the Great White Way for the time-being. It seems “any way the wind blows” them other than to Broadway is perfectly fine for them…

“Jukebox musical ‘We Will Rock You’ is a champion”

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