A Chat with Mark Jacoby
Interviewed by Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is a big fan of musical star Mark Jacoby, and was thrilled to sit down with him Saturday, October 17th before the evening performance of State Fair at The Walnut Street Theatre, where Mark was playing the role of Abel Frake. “It came out of the blue and it’s not a kind of role I have played before…overalls and farmer in Iowa. I spent a lot of my youth in the Midwest, and I knew a lot of farmers, so I am drawing on that, that sense of the heartland.
Joel has seen many of Mark’s most memorable roles: as the Father in the original Broadway cast of Ragtime, as Gaylord Ravenal in the 1994 revival of Showboat, as the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, the Padre in the revival of Man of La Mancha, and as Judge Turpin in John Doyle’s orchestra pitless production of Sweeney Todd, where Mark played trumpet and orchestra bells.
They talk about them all, and his most recent appearance in the Washington area as The Mayor in Signature Theatre’s production of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s The Visit. “It’s probably one of the most unusual love stories with one of the unusual plot lines you’ll ever see, but there’s no question that it’s a love story. It’s a love story between two people who are no longer young, and you don’t get to see a true passionate romance between two elderly people carry a show.”
Will we ever see mega-musicals like Showboat and Ragtime again?
“With Showboat, we had over 70 people in it. It was Ziegfeldian in its grandeur…It was hideously expensive, and I don’t know if they would have sold out every seat at full price if the show could have ever been profitable, so how that could be done in the commercial theatre again, I don’t know. Perhaps in an opera company or a not-for-profit situation you could do it.”
Finally, this musical theatre star reveals the one role he is longing to play.