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Unsung Heroes - Jake, Choreographer

Jake Boyce, Choreographer

How long have you been involved with CLT?

I’ve been involved with CLT since summer 2014 when I was hired as the choreographer for the Youth and Teen Musical Theatre Programs. That summer I also assistant choreographed and performed in Hairspray, so I was at CLT from dusk till dawn right from the start since I had the camps from 9 am to 4 pm and then rehearsal from 6-9 and then ‘post rehearsal rehearsal’ from 9 to whenever! Why do you feel dancing important when it comes to theatre?

I think movement is so important to theatre because movement is a language just as much as speech is language. I love to explore movement in theatre, and not just in musicals! For straight shows, I think just breaking down movement into a basic language can bring up many different things for actors - “What happens if we try the scene squatting, or we pace… let’s try the scene again only this time, what emotions come up for you when you say the monologue covering your eyes?” There are so many different things to try. In musical theatre, dancing and movement is so important to help further the plot, and of course at times, to bring that magic to the stage. People acting, singing, AND dancing?! Magic. What is your life like outside of the theatre?

“I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.” This quote from Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development is the first thing that came to my head! When I’m not driving up and down the interstate bouncing from rehearsal to rehearsal, I’m working in Special Education at Falmouth Elementary School. When I’m not doing that, I’m working on my drag persona (Chartreuse), planning Haus Chaise Couleé events (please ask me about this!) and enjoying time with my boyfriend Cameron (who I met during a dance audition at CLT!!) and my amazing mother and father. Has there been a production you’ve liked choreographing best?

Oh my goodness, not this question! I really enjoyed choreographing Chicago here at CLT back in 2016! Fosse’s work is such a treat, and getting to take my knowledge and understanding of his movement and not only re-stage some of it, but create my own interpretation was truly an experience I’ll forever be grateful for - and the cast was STELLAR! I also loved choreographing Urinetown here at CLT - I saw the show when I was in college, and it was when I was sitting in the audience watching it that I decided I wanted to be a musical theatre choreographer! You can also be seen acting and singing on stage, any favorite roles?

Last season I played Moritz Stiefel in Spring Awakening at Lyric Music Theater in South Portland, and it was an absolute dream role! And of course, playing Jack in Into The Woods here at CLT was a wonderful experience, any chance to work with Sondheim’s material is a gift! What are some challenges you have to deal with when choreographing a show?

I think one of the biggest challenges is finding movement that everyone is going to feel comfortable doing, and also look good doing! I approach any process knowing that I will be working with people who have maybe never danced before, and those people are standing next to dancers who have years of experience under their belts! This is a challenge, but it’s where the real sense of community comes into play. I have to think about the four C’s! How can we as a team work together to find the perfect balance of comfortably, confidence, creativity, and cohesiveness? It’s truly one of my favorite parts about the process - when that light-bulb goes off for an actor or actress, and suddenly they understand their body in the movement. That’s when the real work begins, that’s when they can move forward and say “I’ve got this!” I love that. Do you have any upcoming productions that you’ll be working on?

Well currently, I’m the fight choreographer for 12 Angry Men here at CLT! I’m also choreographing Rocky for Equality in Augusta which I am super excited about! I’ll also be choreographing Music Man and Avenue Q here this season, as well as a bunch of other productions all over! If you had the ability to perform with any Broadway actor or actress, who would it be?

Oh my god, stop it! I would definitely want to sing with Cynthia Erivo. And any chance I could get to work with an ensemble of Broadway children would be life changing - these kids on Broadway are mega stars, they have so much to teach me!! How has being a part of CLT affected your life?

I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful people at CLT. I love coming here and seeing the sense of community all over - generations of families have invested their time and money and love into this theatre, and it is so clear. I love feeling that I am a part of history of this theatre!