This week for the 11th TheatrePeople interview, meet Jerald Bolden. Jerald is a musical theatre performer, choreographer and teaching artist in Sacramento, California.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
A show that inspires me is The Color Purple. I have seen this show on Broadway and in regional theatres and Celie’s story always moves me. What I like most about this show is its powerful message that you can get through anything with faith, acceptance and love.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
One of my happiest moments in theatre was last September when I won two Elly Awards for Best Direction and Best Overall Production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This moment was a high point for me because I mainly work as a choreographer and this production provided me an opportunity to work as a director. While I experienced some pushback about being a new director, I had a blast working with my cast and the creative team, and in the end, created an award winning show. The lesson I learned from working on this production was to stop thinking I can only choreograph and being more open and receptive to new opportunities.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
The biggest goof I have seen on stage was when I was dancing in a kids show in an international tour in Hong Kong, China. It was our opening night and the cast was enthusiastic and happy to be dancing together again after a month of having no performances. The music and lights came on and we were all pumped. The curtain quickly rose and the performers all ran downstage to our places and began dancing. As I moved downstage, I saw of my fellow cast members getting closer and closer to the edge of the stage. Within in the first few seconds of the number I watched my friend glide off the edge of the stage and fall to the ground. While trying to do my best to stay in character, I busted out into laughter as I watched him climb back onto the stage and rejoin us in the number. The number got a big applause and cheers once my cast member got back on stage.
Why do you love theatre?
Theatre is a place where everything is possible. Theatre is my platform to explore, grow, and learn. Every story I see on stage transports me to a different environment, exposes me to other cultures, and inspires me in different ways.
Theatre is for...
Theatre is for communication. That’s what it is all about. I feel the more theater we watch, the more we learn. The more we learn, the better we communicate and live our lives to become more accepting and open to others who may not be like us.
More about Jerald
Jerald is a musical theatre performer, choreographer and teaching artist. He has performed and choreographed at the Sacramento Theatre Company, Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, Hackmatack Playhouse, Sierra Repertory Theatre, San Joaquin Delta College, Woodminster Amphitheater and danced in the national and international tours of Sesame Street Live. He also adjudicates musical theatre performances for the Rita Moreno Awards Competition. Recently he was nominated for a 2019 Elly Award for Best Choreography. Jerald won two 2019 Elly Awards for Best Director and Best Overall Production for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He earned a Master of Arts in Theater from Sacramento State University and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.
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