Jeremy Jordan was (sort of) promised a London run when he was in a production of Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2014. But that production never went to the West End, transferring directly to Broadway instead, and without three of the four main leads from the ART cast. But he has a large enough fan base on this side of the Atlantic in any event, at least in part thanks to an extensive career in film and television, and one of his many performances of Disney’s Newsies was recorded for broadcast – it was screened on BBC Two in late December 2019.
This isn’t the only concert of his that has taken place as ‘round two’ by popular demand – he came over to London’s Cadogan Hall for his own concerts in 2018 and returned in 2019, and might well have returned again in 2020 but for you-know-what. For this online concert, he had an overly large microphone, which according to someone in the online chat looked like a yeti – but it did his powerhouse singing voice justice, to the point where there was a bit of an echo when he was engaged in conversation with musical director Seth Rudetsky in between musical numbers.
One got the feeling that much of Jordan’s life and career had already been discussed in a previous concert, only three months before this one. But there are always more details to be explored, even if it’s to do with him enjoying playing computer games in his spare time or that time he didn’t bother going to an audition for The Book of Mormon musical because the producers wanted him to go in the following day and he was still on holiday.
There was an excellent range and choice of songs here, from the relatively mellow ‘Maria’ from West Side Story to the upbeat ‘Danny Novitski’ from Bandstand, a show Jordan workshopped but wasn’t in the Broadway cast. Bandstand is, apparently (‘apparently’ being the operative word – the show hasn’t had a run in the UK as far as I can tell) about World War II soldiers who have returned home to the US in the summer of 1945 and form a band to compete in a veterans’ contest. The problem is that they were also coping with what these days would be termed post-traumatic stress disorder.
Much of the concert was taken up with answering questions and responding to song requests made on social media, and so not every tune was necessarily directly connected to a production Jordan had been in. ‘Grow For Me’ from Little Shop of Horrors was a reminder that theatre will be back at some point: Jordan is scheduled to be in an off-Broadway production of that show in late 2021. And then there was a lovely mash-up of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz and ‘Home’ from The Wiz.
A glorious ninety minutes, and I wouldn’t exactly say no to ‘round three’ if the opportunity arose.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Mark Cortale Presents
THE SETH CONCERT SERIES
JEREMY JORDAN with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, September 13th at 8PM EST
Monday, September 14th at 3PM EST
All tickets available at www.thesethconcertseries.com