A Q&A: They're playing Jason Alexander's songs at Reprise
Even before Jason Alexander, 51, became a household name playing George Costanza on "Seinfeld" in the 1990s, he was an accomplished song-and-dance man in New York, scoring a 1989 Tony for best actor in a musical for "Jerome Robbins' Broadway."
An occasional stage presence in Los Angeles, Reprise Theatre Company's artistic director stars in its revival of "They're Playing Our Song" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse which opens Tuesday and continues through Oct. 10.
He spoke recently with Irene Lacher for this Q&A.
Question: You've been artistic director of Reprise for more than three years, but you rarely perform with the company. How do you choose what you perform in, and why did you choose "They're Playing Our Song"?
Answer: I try to not have Reprise become a vanity house, so I'm very careful about when I'm on stage or when I'm directing, because any time I do it, it limits the opportunity for somebody else. Reprise has an interesting sort of alchemy to create a season. We try to do something that's a little more modern, something that's quite old, something that has a lot of dance. At the same time, we have very limited production budgets, so we have to do a big show, a small show, a medium show. "They're Playing Our Song" is a relatively small show, which is unusual — there aren't a lot of small musicals. There are eight characters, and it can be done with a relatively small orchestra, but it relies heavily on the two leads. Since this show is essentially two people, you need at least one of them to have some real star power. And the trouble with Reprise is that you only have six days in the rehearsal studio to get the show staged and under your belt. That is horrifying for most actors. I did not believe that we would find an actor of note to take that on, and that's why I took it.
Photo credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times