Family ties had nothing to do with Noah Jacobson being cast in ThePlaza Theatre's season-opener Brighton Beach Memoirs. So says hisdad, Alan Jacobson, the theater's founder and producing director.
The senior Jacobson left the casting of the roles of Stanley andEugene, for which his son auditioned, to director Andy Rogow.
"I wanted Noah to get or not get the role on his own merits," hesaid.
Noah Jacobson plays Stanley, the idolized older brother of14- year-old Eugene, in Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical comedyabout a Jewish family struggling to stay afloat in 1937 Brooklyn.
Noah, 16, of Palm Beach Gardens, caught the theater bug at an earlyage. He was cast as the prince in his preschool's production ofSnow White.
"I was the only one who raised his hand," he said. "No one elsewanted to kiss the girl as badly as I did."
Brighton Beach Memoirs is his first professional production.
He's performed in theater camp and academy and school productions.He studied theater at the Bak Middle School of the Arts and now isa junior at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.He's been a soloist with the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches.This season he will be a Palm Beach Opera apprentice.
He's glad to be in a straight play because it sharpens hisspoken- line and scene-work skills. Until now, he's performed mainlyin musicals. It's no wonder he developed a taste for them, giventhat his mother, Melissa Boher Jacobson, is a singer, actress andvoice teacher. He recalls learning every word of the songs of hisparents' favorite Broadway musicals because they played therecordings so often.
His parents always have been supportive, lending a guiding handwhen needed and attending his every performance, he said. Theydidn't even bat an eye when he tried out for the Maltz JupiterTheatre's production of the racy The Full Monty a few years ago.They did, Alan Jacobson corrected, but they figured they'd dealwith that decision if he were cast. He wasn't.
"This is a passion that's come out of him," Alan Jacobson said."All we've tried to do is guide him along to study and work on allaspects of performing -- and encourage him when he goes to collegeto, at the very least, minor in something like business ormarketing so that he can have something to fall back on becausewe've also told him about the difficulties of this business."
In the show's lighter moments, Stanley fields Eugene's questionsabout sex. But he also faces a crisis when he's fired from his jobafter standing up for a co-worker because the family badly needshis income.
Noah Jacobson said he's never been in such a critical situation,but he does know what it's like to have a younger brother, as hehas one, Eli, 13.
He's learning a lot from being in a professional production. "Thelevel of commitment is different," he said. "I've been in showswhere the leads were interested in what they were doing and had theskills, but other people didn't care as much."
The actor "works hard, learns fast, listens well and works wellwith others," Rogow said.
Noah Jacobson said he welcomes the challenge.
"If you always take the easy way out, you won't experience thefullness of a piece," he said. "If you put the work in, somethingwill really come out of it."
-- jsjostrom@ pbdailynews.com
IF YOU GO
'Brighton Beach Memoirs'
The Plaza Theatre, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan
Thursday through Oct. 27
For more information
Call 588-1820 or visit theplazatheatre.net
'Back to the Boardwalk,' an exhibition of Brighton Beachmemorabilia, will be on view at the theater throughout the show'srun.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
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