Gerald Jordan is originally from Maryland and attended Hofstra University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has been an integral part of the Columbia Center of Theatrical Arts (CCTA) since 2013. He originally came to CCTA as an instructor and now works as the assistant director of operations and programming. His hard work paid off in the Baltimore outreach program, where he also stars in the Baltimore residency program as Jackie Robinson in “Most Valuable Player.” As CCTA founder Toby Orenstein said of his protege, “Gerald knows how much of a difference the arts can make in someone’s life. He works diligently to provide the best experience for every student in the CCTA programs.
Next up for this talented triple threat is to play the demanding role of Rocky Balboa’s boxing opponent, Apollo Creed, in “Rocky The Musical” at Toby’s Dinner Theater, starting March 26, 2022. This powerful musical, based on the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, tells the story of Rocky Balboa gaining the confidence he needs to take on heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. This is not just the story of one little boxer’s rise to fame, but one of the best love stories ever told. Finding something and someone worth fighting for, he shows Adrian that she is a strong, confident, and beautiful woman. The musical features the famous ‘Rocky’ theme, ‘Gotta Fly Now’ and Survivor’s theme, ‘Eye of the Tiger’. (Interestingly, another Maryland native, Broadway star Andy Karl, originated the title role on Broadway in 2014 and was Tony nominated for his performance.)
We caught up with Gerald Jordan after a Monday night rehearsal at Toby’s Dinner Theater where dozens of people were gathered outside. I think some were hoping to see the stars of the show up close. Although I haven’t reviewed Jordan directly, I did mention his outstanding performance in “Newsies,” which was done as part of “Dancing for Divas” a few years ago. He has a smile that lights up the stage and his presence is strong and powerful, just like his Apollo persona.
What’s it like playing Apollo Creed in “Rocky?” How did you train for this?
It’s always an honor to play any role. Apollo is a very emotionally and physically strong character, which makes him a challenge to overcome. There’s a lot of depth and physicality that comes with this role. It was a unique experience to train for this role, including boxing on top of that. We started boxing classes in November at Title Boxing in Columbia near the mall. It was quite rigorous and very physical. We strike in real life, inches from each other’s faces. Boxing is very tight, precise, and you need a lot of confidence in your stage partner. It looks very real. I look forward to seeing you there from March 26th.
Is this your first role at Toby’s? Do you see yourself in Dinner Theater in the future?
This is my first leading role at Toby’s. Yes, I would like to continue doing dinner theater. I hope I can continue to do so if time and opportunity permit.
What is special about working with CCTA students?
Working with students is an honor, especially as you observe their passion and dedication, not just to each other, but to the arts. Every time you have the opportunity to work with students there is growth not only as a performer, but as someone who is amazing to watch. Children always end up teaching you something. It’s always a learning experience not only for you but also for them. We have the best and most talented students at CCTA.
What are your ideas for Young Colombians?
We are looking to increase opportunities for young Colombian students this coming year. We want them to become complete performers, not only focusing on their vocal performance, but helping to improve their character development, acting skills and dancing abilities. The Young Columbians are the elite group of the ACTC and we want to provide them with elite opportunities. We hope to provide them with the experience and opportunities that could not be replicated elsewhere.
Are you going to participate in the musical “Sister Act” for the children of the ACTC?
Yes, I will be co-director with Brynn Williams. Brynn is an ACTC alumnus and six-time Broadway performer. We are both incredibly excited. It is a remarkable and very complex spectacle. We know students will have a lot of fun with it. “Sister Act” is the show featured in our Senior Intensive Camp (click here) which is an audition-based camp for ages 13-17. It will be held at Howard Community College at the Smith Theater. We also have a junior crash camp for 11-16 year olds that is not audition based. They will do is Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant “Into The Woods.” For more information, go here. Our musical theater camps for 6-12 year olds will perform “Aladdin” and “James and the Giant Peach”. For instructions and/or questions on all CCTA programs, call 410-72-0800 or email [email protected].
What is your favorite role?
Every role I play tends to be my favorite at that time. Each role is a different experience that makes you the performer you are. All experiences, whether it’s a lead role or an ensemble, help improve who you are. I always enjoy every role I have and what I learn from them.
“Rocky The Musical” runs March 26 through June 5, 2022 at Tony’s Dinner Theater, 5900 Symphony Woods Road Columbia, MD 21044. For more information and tickets, call the box office at 410-730-8311 or visit their site website.