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Meet our THE BALTIMORE WALTZ team: Greg Jackson

Adam Levonian
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Cast & Crew Bios
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Jun 14, 2017

Greg Jackson, who plays the Third Man and a dozen other roles, talks to us about how he got into theatre and the "wildly funny, transporting ride of a play" that is The Baltimore Waltz.  

Timon of Athens (New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre 2011). Dir. Brian B. Crowe. Greg Jackson (Timon). Photo: Gerry Goodstein.
Can you tell us a little about your character in The Baltimore Waltz? What do you think is his best quality? Worst?

The Third Man embodies many characters, so his best qualities are the best qualities of all humanity -- love, empathy, compassion, etc. His worst qualities involve deception, criminality and (alleged) predatory salirophilia. 

If you could play another character in Baltimore Waltz who would you choose?

While I would love to play Anna, no casting agent will let me in the room.

Why?

I'm not sure... prejudice in the industry?

All The Way (Cleveland Play House 2016). Dir. Giovanna Sardelli. Chris Richards (ensemble), Biko Eisen-Martin (ensemble), and Greg Jackson (ensemble). Photo: Roger Mastroianni.
What are you most looking forward to about this production?

I can't wait to hear audiences respond to this wildly funny, transporting ride of a play.

What has the rehearsal process been like for you? 

Truly delightful. This is a wonderful team of generous, supportive, talented (and very hilarious) people!

Opus (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis 2014). Chris Hietikko (Carl), James Joseph O'Neil (Elliot), Rachael Jenison (Grace), and Greg Jackson (Alan). Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr.
Any particular challenges? 

Keeping multiple characters distinct in English, French, Dutch and German.

High points?

There have been several laughing-to-the-point-of-tears moments in this process, and also many moments of being moved to tears by the beauty of the play and the work of my fellows. 

Have you been in other Paula Vogel plays? Which ones?

This is my first time in a Vogel play. I've come close to being cast in How I Learned To Drive, but no banana. Getting to meet Paula and be a part of the Magic revival is pretty special.

How do you think this play resonates today as compared to 1992 when Magic produced the west coast premiere?

There's a saying about art that paradoxically, the more personal a work is, the more universal it becomes. That is absolutely true of this work. Paula's very personal response to a specific event and time and place resonates on a universal and timeless level. And some of the issues in the play could easily be ripped from today's headlines. The more things change...

What  is your favorite line in The Baltimore Waltz? It doesn’t have to be yours.

Tough question. There's so much gorgeous language! And so much humor! Hmmm...I'm going to go with, "What's drinking a little piss? It can't hurt you!"

Clybourne Park (Barrington Stage Company 2013). Dir. Giovanna Sardelli. Andy Lucien (Albert/Kevin), Greg Jackson (Karl/Steve), and Lynette R. Freeman (Francine/Lena). Photo: The Berkshire Eagle.
How did you get into acting?

I didn't really find theatre as much as it found me. I don't recall ever seeing a play or musical before being in one in High School. I got into theatre through singing in the concert choir, which I joined because some girls came up and asked me to. I had just moved to town and was the new kid, eager to be liked... I was so flattered these girls wanted me to be in their choir! I only found out later they asked because the instructor had struck a deal wherein they could hit him in the face with a pie for every male recruit. So much for romance. Anyway I loved singing in choir and that led to auditioning for the musical. My first role was Pop in GYPSY at 14. I remember whitening my hair with shoe-polish. 

Duet! A Romantic Fable (Off-Broadway 1998). Written and Directed by Greg Jackson and Erin Quinn Purcell. Photo: Theatre World 1998.
What other shows have you done at Magic? Any favorites, or favorite moments?

This is my first time at Magic! Hopefully not the last. It's quite an honor to work in such a storied theater.  

Anything can happen with live performance, do you have a funny moment/embarrassing memory you'd be willing to share?

I appeared in a production of Comedy Of Errors wearing nothing but a dance belt and a tambourine. I had blocked out the memory but this experience brought it all flooding back.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (Broadway 2013). Greg Jackson (D'Ysquith Family [standby]) and Mark Ledbetter (Monty [standby]). Photo: Mark Ledbetter.
(Header photo: Adam Levonian.)
Adam Levonian

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