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Backstage Experts

What It’s Really Like on a Broadway National Tour

What It’s Really Like on a Broadway National Tour
Photo Source: Jameson Moss

In part four of my series of interviews with working actors, I’m talking to Jameson Moss about life on the road in a Broadway national tour. For the last year, he has been performing on the “School of Rock Tour” playing multiple roles regularly and understudying the main role of Dewey Finn.

You work multiple different tracks when you’re in the ensemble. What is that like?
My first track is a roadie. Second, I play Tomika’s father. My favorite is Stanley, the record shop owner, and he’s onstage for less than 20 seconds! Then my last track is Mr. Sanders, the teacher. It’s awesome having the opportunity to create multiple characters for the show. Big or small, each character has an opportunity to the help facilitate the story as a whole.

What’s it like getting to perform the lead role?
I’ve been a professional actor since 2006 and this is my first pro theater gig. To say that after all the years of hard work and perseverance I lead the first national tour of a Broadway show was a dream come true. The Dewey (Jack Black) track in our show is a physical challenge. During one of the performances in London, a Dewey wore a Fitbit. He burned 1,800 calories during the show. It’s exciting to be the motor running that train that is our show, but it is taxing as well.

What has been your favorite city to visit?
I’ve really enjoyed my time in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Austin, Appleton, Cincinnati, and of course, Los Angeles. My parents live in Las Vegas and we are there in about four weeks. It’ll be nice to get home-cooked meals for a week!

Describe a typical day on tour.
Everybody has a different schedule that works for them. Some folks like to be up at the crack of dawn and some like to sleep in as much as possible. I do a little bit of both, but I have some key things I have to do every day:

  1. I try to get eight hours of sleep at a minimum. Living on the road can be fun but it is very taxing on the body. It’s one thing they never really tell you when you first start.
  2. Time your eating schedule so you know you have energy for the show. Early in the tour, I would sometimes do matinees without having breakfast. By the second act, my body was exhausted. Also, choose healthy food. It’s important to remember that food is fuel and the better the food, the better your body and mind will perform.
  3. Stay active outside of work. It’s important to have some type of workout routine during your free time. Weight training, cardio, and yoga are great options to help maintain a healthy body and mind.
  4. Explore the city you are in! From new types of food to artwork you never thought you would see, each city has a great spectrum of things to do. For example, Cincinnati has an incredible program where they bring in artists from around the country to paint murals on the walls of their buildings. There are over 20 murals spread out all over downtown and the greater Cincinnati area. It’s an art scavenger hunt!
  5. Give yourself enough time to get to the theater! Giving yourself enough time before a show relieves the stress of rushing. Plus, if you get there early enough, you can warm-up properly. 

READ: The Day in the Life of a Child Swing on Broadway

How many shows a week are you performing? When do you travel?
I am in every show on the schedule unless I become ill. We perform eight shows a week with two on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes on longer sit-downs (more than two weeks), we will have Wednesday matinees. Because there are eight shows a week, our Wednesday matinee takes the place of our Sunday evening show. We travel on Mondays, which sometimes feel like a work day. On a good jump, it will only take 5-6 hours of total travel time. On a longer jump, it can be closer to 7-10 hours. I think the biggest jump we had here was roughly 12 hours long. 

What was the audition process like?
Everyone has had a different experience with our show. I originally auditioned for the Broadway production in January 2017. When the process was over, I’ had seven total auditions. With that being said, one of our principles is original Broadway cast who was called in only three times. Another lead in our production had at least three auditions every year for the Broadway version, starting with the workshop!

How has it been working with the other actors? And the kids? 
Luckily for our show, everyone has been awesome to work with. This cast is one of the most talented I have been given the good fortune to be a part of. Some could say the kids are more talented than the adults! I’ve taught kids acting classes before so working with them is a breeze. Sometimes it’s hard to remember they are children because of their professionalism. They bring it every show and always know how to put a smile on your face when you’re feeling down. 

Were you nervous about leaving home?
Family is a huge part of my life so it was hard to know I probably wouldn’t see them as much. Luckily, they supported me to the point where nerves didn’t exist. My dad travels for work almost year round, and luckily he has companion status on Southwest. When we were doing the show in a city he could do work in, he and my mother would fly out. 

What advice would you give someone who is about to leave on their first tour?
Stay positive, stay healthy, and have fun. And try to get your packing down to one checked bag. There is a huge difference between what you need and what you want in life. What you need fits in one checked bag. 

Jackie Reid is a manager, owner of L’il Angels Unlimited, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Reid’s full bio!

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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