Cal Shakes Marketing & Communications Director Janet Magleby introduces you to one of the minds behind this summer’s Conservatories.
One of two new Summer Shakespeare Conservatory coordinators joining us this summer is Brett Jones. A recent Theater Performance graduate from the University of Northern Iowa, Brett spent last summer with Cal Shakes as a Teaching Artist Fellow in the Artistic Learning department, working alongside our fabulous teaching artists. He helped teach classes in movement, acting, and Shakespeare history at the Bentley (Lafayette) campus. The summer prior, Brett was an intern in our Professional Immersion Program. This summer as the Oakland Conservatory Coordinator he’ll be busy making sure every detail of our Holy Names campers’ days run smoothly.
Brett was born in Japan to an Air Force family. When he was 10, his dad retired from the military and the family moved to Iowa. After achieving the highest-ever score on an application exam, Brett’s dad went to work for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids. Brett’s mom works as a student counselor for St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
In high school, Brett kept busy performing, taking voice lessons, and collecting shoes—more on that later. Favorite band in high school: Fall Out Boy.
Brett spent a lot of time during his undergrad acting (six productions in all), working hard as a teacher’s assistant, and spending time with his best friend Bailey. Brett’s first play at the UNI was Marat/Sade wherein he played an inmate at the asylum. “It was a completely different kind of production that I was used to,” he recalls, “and the experience and opened my eyes to all the forms in theater. How movement and what the body can do inspired me and pushed me along in the art. ”After his summer here at Cal Shakes, Brett spent part of his last semester at UNI as a TA for a Creativity and Performance class.
“There isn’t much to do in Iowa,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to move to California.” But he did admit that there are loads of beautiful places to hike in Iowa; he spent a lot of time doing just that in the numerous nature preserves in the state. One time, he remembers, he and his BFF were hiking at Hartman Lake and they saw a couple of frogs hopping about, so they decided to sit down to watch them. There was a big noise and the pair saw ripples on the top of the water; they watched for a few more seconds and—right when the frog leaped up in the air—a giant snapping turtle (he estimates two feet in diameter) popped up and ate the frog in mid-air! Speaking of good eats, Brett’s restaurant of choice in his hometown of Cedar Rapids is Pei’s Chinese, where he loves to nosh on Crab Rangoon. Recipe: a delicious mix of cream cheese, crab and onion deep fried in a wonton dipped in the best sweet and sour sauce ever.
When Brett visits his mother and sister in the great state of Texas, he strolls over to visit the River Walk: He shops, checks out the street musicians, and eats at Taco Cabana. “I usually buy a dozen homemade tortillas and snack on them all day!” Brett’s sister Julie teaches high school physics and astronomy in Texas, and is married to Army Staff Sergeant Scott.
A few more things about Brett Jones:
- Favorite role he has played: Charles HP Smith from David Mamet’s November
- Role he’d love to play: The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera
- What movie makes him laugh: Clue
- Best book ever: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
- TV show that he never misses: 30 Rock, but sadly, now, it’s over.
- Favorite play: Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
- One food he could eat for the rest of his days: Sesame Chicken
- Color that makes him smile: Green (editor’s note: He wore these bright-green Adidas low-tops to our interview.)
- Band he’s obsessed with right now: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
- Things that would surprise people about him: “I like to cook. I like to create my own Iron Chef Challenge by making something with only the ingredients in my fridge on a given day.”
- Shakespeare character he’s learned the most from: The Tempest’s Prospero. “He is a person that has immense power. When he realizes his powers do to others he gives it up and doesn’t allow it to corrupt him. He realizes that he can walk away from a situation and change myself for the better.”
- What else Shakespeare has taught him: “He taught me that you can do and be anything. “
- He’d like to live for a year in: Ireland. “It’s green, there are countless places to hike, I love the ocean, and the people seem friendly.”
- Car he’d love to drive to and from Summer Conservatories: A Bentley
- Website he gets caught up in:stumbleupon.com
- Smartphone: Android. “I don’t Tweet much or talk on the phone much, but I do text a lot.”
- Achilles heel: “I love shoes; I have a ton of them. I own 50–60 pairs. Black Aldo dress shoes are my power shoes. Favorite kick-around shoes are my red Aldo zip ups with buckles, zippers, and laces. So, on the first day of Conservatory make sure you check out my shoes, ‘cause I’ll be checking out yours!”