Interview with Broadway Performer Jake Odmark
Jake Odmark was a very active child. He got involved in sports and music, but it wasn’t until high school that he discovered his knack for theatre. Enjoy reading this story about a young man who went from studying theatre in college to flying high on Broadway.
BB: What made you get into theatre?
JO: Honestly what got me into theatre was my one musical I did at BI - Godspell. I was always bursting with "theatrical energy" from an early age, but I never really thought about doing theatre for some reason. I was very dedicated to sports and music (trumpet and piano), so I guess theatre just didn't quite fit in my busy schedule. However, after doing Godspell on a whim during my senior year, something inside clicked. I felt comfortable, excited, and confident that I knew what I was doing on a stage. About six months later I declared a vocal/musical theatre major at JMU.
BB: How was the transition from college to pursuing a NY career? What did you do to adjust?
JO: College is nothing like the real world. As much as you learn about it in school, there is really nothing that prepares you more than just getting out there and jumping right in. I left school and immediately went on the national tour of The Pajama Game which really opened my eyes to a lot of things about the business. I was one of the youngest cast members; so listening to, watching, and learning from the more seasoned actors in the company, was something I made sure to do every day. Fortunately, it was a good group to learn from.
BB: How/when did you get your first Broadway role?
JO: I got my first Broadway role in September of 2012. It was for a temporary vacation swing in Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark. I was beyond thrilled, obviously. It is something all actors dream of and for it to actually happen... on a Monday morning... while I was putting away groceries... wow, I'll never forget it! I had auditioned for the show back in May of 2012 and hadn't heard anything since, so I was clearly not expecting a call in late September. However, that's how things work sometimes. Two weeks later I was rehearsing away, and less than a month after getting the phone call, on October 20, 2012, I made my Broadway debut! :)
BB: Do you have any other jobs/ventures between gigs?
JO: I'm always doing lots of little things. I am constantly auditioning for other shows, commercials, pilots, short films, etc. as well as occasionally taking part in workshops and readings of new shows. In addition, I arrange choral and a cappella music for high school, collegiate, and professional groups around the country. It's something I learned to do while studying music at JMU and now I've turned a hobby into a handy side-job!
BB: What do you do to improve your performing skills?
JO: What don't I do to improve my skills? Every actor has to constantly stay in tip top shape, so the gym is something I frequent a lot. I take acting classes from different coaches in the city, as well as study voice with a few teachers as well. But honestly, really just keeping your eyes open and learning from all the amazing people around you in the industry will be enough to keep you working to improve.
BB: What inspires you?
JO: I'm inspired by dedication. It doesn't matter what field of work you are in, or where your passions lie... to see true dedication is something by which I will always be inspired. It's the dancers who dance and stretch and push their bodies to the limit for 8+ hours every day. It's the musicians who shut themselves in practice rooms for hours on end so they can master their instrument. When someone is amazingly dedicated to their craft, it makes me want to be just as dedicated to mine.
BB: Do you have any words of inspiration or anything else you want to say/impart?
JO: My inspirational words are simple. Care about what YOU do. As actors, too many people get caught up in the careers and accolades of other actors around them. If they don't get a role, they aren't upset because they didn't land the job, they are upset because "that guy from that thing" got it and they think are more deserving. Other people can't keep you from achieving success, only you can. So care about what you do and only what you do, and you will absolutely succeed. Push yourself to be great and what you love to do. And be kind to one another.
Jake Odmark is a NYC based actor currently performing as Flash/Peter Parker in Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway. He grew up in Arlington, VA, attending Bishop Ireton High School and James Madison University.