San Carlos native Jordan Plutzer is only a junior at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, but he has already performed with numerous professional theaters and will be in the upcoming production of "Carnival" as a roustabout.
"Being the youngest kid in the cast, [I'm] able to work with these older actors that play characters that are so magically written and it's fantastic, because I'm looking at these personal actors and actors who are fresh out of college who just went through educational processes who teach musical theater, people who have a very big place in the San Francisco theater community and likewise, everywhere else, it's fantastic to learn from them and see how they do things that I wouldn't particularly do ... I just really have a cast of teachers," said Plutzer, 17.
The commitment toward getting ready for a show is a methodical and time-consuming process, but the young actor said it is satisfying.
"[Getting ready for the play is] a three-week process of rehearsals, the show itself is beautiful ... the people who work on the show are amazing," Plutzer said.
By his own admission, participating in this production is overwhelming -- working with many actors belonging to the Actors' Equity Association (a labor union representing live theater actors and stage managers) is eye-opening and it is still the best learning experience that he has ever had in his life so far.
"I like to go through songs especially [when I get ready for a show], because even though I love to dance and I love to act -- I go through every song lyric that I sing and I try to find 'pathways' to act that out and mainly because I'm a roustabout [who] is not one of the lead characters, but he is very important to the ensemble; so I go through the lyrics and what the group sings and what I sing as a solo," Plutzer said.
The physicality of his role in "Carnival" required Plutzer to test his physical limits.
"I have to juggle [in this production], which I haven't done since sixth grade, so it's interesting to try and get back into juggling, which I thought was very physical ... going back into it was a little difficult, but I'm finding it to be very rewarding and fun," Plutzer said.
The impetus for his love of stage came early in his life and was spurred on by his father.
"When I was little, I was a big clown and I liked to fool around and make fun of myself, fall on the floor and make everyone laugh. ... My dad said, 'Why don't you try acting class?' I told him 'Would you sign me up?' and from there it was history," Plutzer said. "When I was around 6 or 7, I really started to get interested in [theater] ... and I was falling in love with theater because my dad was showing me these old movies, [such as] 'An American in Paris' and I actually got into other forms of theater like 'Cirque du Soleil.'"
Plutzer is driven to make theater his livelihood. He wants to get to a professional level and become a member of the Actors' Equity Association and possibly pursue a career in Broadway.
"This is going to be my profession, I've known that for a long time now -- I want to go to college as a theater or musical theater major," Plutzer said.
This musical adaptation of the 1953 Academy-Award winning film "Lili" tells the story of an orphan, Lili Daurier, as she becomes involved in the "Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris," the eponymous carnival. The show premiered on Broadway in 1961 and won two Tony Awards the following year, according to a news release by Carla Befera Public Relations, representing 42nd Street Moon, a theater company that produces performances of classic and rarely performed musicals.
"I can say that we've had our eye on Jordan for two or three years -- he's auditioned a few times -- because he's a very talented young man, but he has been too young previously for the shows we were doing," Greg MacKellan, artistic director of 42nd Street Moon, wrote in an email. "I was very glad that he was able to join us -- he's terrific in his many roles in 'Carnival.'"
The musical opens on Saturday, April 6 and closes on Sunday, April 21. Performances are at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco. Tickets are $25 - $75. For information or to order tickets call (415) 255-8207 or visit 42ndstmoon.org.