From the first time he stepped onstage as an elementary schooler,
He wanted to play a big part, to help carry a production.
"Once you get into theater, you get the bug. You've always got some lofty goals," he said.
Jarrell, 32, has now met that goal.
He is the star of the
"It's awesome, I'm super excited, but it's definitely a challenge," he said.
Jarrell was unfamiliar with the musical when he tried out -- he hadn't even seen the 1998 hit
"It was sort of a shot in the dark."
But he downloaded all the songs from the play and, hearing all the '80s-inspired pop tunes in the show, immediately got excited.
He tried out and landed the starring role of
Hart is engaged to Linda, who also believes he will become a big rock star... at first.
"Once she sees that's not going to happen, she breaks his heart," Jarrell said.
The once-romantic Robbie becomes pretty pessimistic about love -- which leads to some interesting moments at his wedding gigs -- until his friend Julie brings him around.
Set in the 1980s, the play features lots of '80s-style music, costumes and big-haired wigs.
"It's way overboard, which makes it even better," Jarrell said. "I think people will have such a good time."
Jarrell, a Charleston native, has been involved with musical theater since fifth grade.
He scored a role in a
"I loved it. Just the energy of it, it's so exciting and so much fun."
He did not appear in another musical until high school, however, when
"I was still a munchkin."
He got his first big role when he was a junior, playing Linus in the show choir's staging of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown."
Jarrell graduated from high school in 2000 and again left the theater, spending his college years at
He returned to
He landed a part in the chorus.
"It was such an intense experience. I think I had 14 costume changes in the show. There were times I'd have three costumes on at a time. It was definitely very good for me to learn how that all works and experience that," he said.
His last appearance with the Guild was in 2012 when he played Henry, the stoner boyfriend in "Next to Normal," a six-person show the Guild performed during FestivALL that year.
Jarrell said working with such a small cast showed him the he could handle a major role, a goal he'd had since his first time onstage.
Now that he has one of those parts, Jarrell said he feels a certain responsibility to the rest of the cast.
He wants to set a good example for the rest of the actors, working hard and taking criticisms with grace.
"I always looked up to the people in those lead roles. I looked to them as leaders of the show," he said. "It's a lot to think about, to make sure you are mentally and emotionally stable."
He also wants to set a good example for a certain up-and-coming actress: his seven-year-old daughter Emily.
"She probably knows the opening number better than I do," he said. "She has such a good voice. And she talks about how she would like to do a show with me sometime."
"The Wedding Singer" will be the first time Emily gets to see her father onstage.
"I think it will open her eyes to what she can do."
Additional performances will be
Tickets are available at the
You can also call 304-343-2287 or purchase tickets online at www.charlestonlightoperaguild.org.
(c)2014 the Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)
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