Updated: Sep 9
Inspiring Artists Stories
Today we'd like to introduce you to Jeffrey A. Johns
Current Location: Fountain Valley, CA
Jeffrey, thank you for taking the time to share your story. Before we get into it, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Connecticut, so I wasn't too far away from New York City which is where I fell in love with theatre. I was in awe of the musicals on Broadway and would stand at the stage door in awe of the incredible performers that brought the shows to life. I knew I wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry.
Can you tell us about what you're currently working on ?
I just released my second feature film called Still Waiting In The Wings with Chita Rivera, Seth Rudetsky, Lee Meriwether, Sally Struthers, Cindy Williams, Bruce Vilanch, and Ed Asner. I am also preparing for the world premiere stage adaptation of my film Waiting In The Wings: The Musical at the Rose Center Theater. We were in rehearsals for the show when Covid hit, but I think the light-hearted show will be even more appreciated when we finally get it up in front of an audience. The show really is about theatre people and all the crazy antics we go through to make it in this industry.
Overall, has your journey been a smooth road? Have you experienced any obstacles along the way? If so, how have you overcome them?
Naturally, there have been obstacles that certainly can get overwhelming, but my passion for the arts is so strong. I know it is worth the struggles. I try to look at each failure or challenge as an opportunity to become stronger and more determined.
Are there any lessons that you have learned along the way?
Don't judge yourself against other people. Just focus on yourself as an artist. Work hard, stay positive, and keep training.
Have you been given any advice that has impacted your journey as an artist?
Carol Channing once told me- in regard to being an actor- "Just do it. Go for it!" Not necessarily the most unique message, but coming from someone I have admired my entire life, I will never forget it. She became a star because she was unique. So many of us try to fit ourselves into molds, but often forget being unique can be what makes you stand out in a good way.
What inspires you to continue a career in the arts?
Theatre performers inspire me so much. Since I can remember, I wanted to be like them and positively impact people's lives like they did for me. To this day, I have headshots of Broadway actors around my room. Every morning I wake up, it helps me feel inspired to take on the day, and thrilled to have the opportunity to live life as an artist.
Having worn many hats being an actor, a director, and producer, what do you consider your proudest moment?
My proudest career moment was when I had the world premiere of my first movie, Waiting In The Wings: The Musical. I never thought I'd write a movie, let alone figure out how to actually make it and have iconic actors from stage and film be a part of it. In addition, my family flew to California for the premiere so it was extra special.
The mission of The Rose is to make the arts accessible to our community. What role do you think the arts play in today's society?
The arts have the power to educate, entertain, and influence. Artists are just as diverse as the characters they portray on stage or screen. We all have different backgrounds and life experiences which brings unique passions and opinions. As an artist, I think it's important to give back.
With the current pause on Broadway, what are your hopes for the future of the arts?
When the arts return, my hope is to have society embrace it more than ever. Sometimes you don't realize how much you love something until it is missing. I hope communities around the country realize they don't just experience the arts as "something to do," but they are passionate about the arts, and need it in their lives.
How would you define unity, and how do you think the arts have played a part in unifying people?
I think unity is working together for a common goal. It's learning about differences, and not just accepting them, but celebrating diversity. Artists are storytellers and bring people together by transporting their audiences to a different time and place. Most importantly, artists can educate as we entertain.
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