a coming star?
Interview by JULIAN MARK
Joe Jones is one of the reasons that Let My People Come has played over 250 performances at the Village Gate and is still going strong. So I called Joe and told him that I'd like to know more about him.
"Fine," he said. "Meet me at the Pot Belly on Christopher Street after the show."
I take some pride in the fact that I know every bar in the Village (and all points north), but the Pot Belly was a new one to me. But later that night, I found myself sitting opposite the handsome, 19-year old actor. He ordered, and for me, too, the biggest ice cream sundae I have ever seen.
He looked at me, over that mountain of calories, with his clear, hazel eyes and asked, "What do you want to know?"
Everything, naturally. Joe hails from Amsterdam, N.Y. "It's near Albany," he adds quickly, anticipating the obvious response to Amsterdam, N.Y.
Joe arrived in New York, N.Y. just one year ago with the stage as his goal. With no formal training or experience, he answer the casting call for Let My People Come and, just like in the movies, got the part.
What did he think of doing that type of show? I'm sure the drama club in Amsterdam never put together a nude musical revuew for their annual Spring event.
"I wanted the part and would have done anything to get it."
Does he think actors would do anything for a part in a show? Joe smiles, and his expressive eyes light up. "Well, almost anything."
Would he do a nude film? "If the part called for it, definitely yes." What about a film like A Very Natural Thing? "I liked it very much and would love to do a film like it. But I think A Very Natural Thing was made for straight audiences. I mean, the shock value of two guys being in love and making love is the crux of the film. If one is used to that scene, it really doesn't have much else to say. I would like to do a film like it but with more plot, more definition of character."
What about audience response to Let My People Come? "Well, we get mostly middle-class married couples from suburbia. They're a little uptight at first, but once they begin to catch the show's satire and broad parody on sexual hang-ups, they begin to laugh with us and at themselves and really have a ball. It's like a group therapy session."
Joe Jones is young, clean-cut, and the picture of innocence. When he dances in the nude, it is a beautiful sight. Never lewd. But Let My People Come is never lewd because honesty is not lewd. Just delightfully refreshing.
I asked Joe what he feels the response is to his "I'm Gay" number. (This is a ballad of a young man telling his parents he's gay.) "The response is always good. I think that's because it's an upbeat song. It's not an apology. It's a proud statement. The song was especially significant for me the night my parents were in the audience."
Beautifully sung and beautifully said by a young man I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about.