If you love musical theatre or just people with incredible singing voices, the chances are you have come across Jeremy Jordan before. Having appeared on Broadway in shows including Bonnie & Clyde, Newsies and Waitress he is also known for his seminal work in the greatest TV show of all time (fight me in the comments) Smash as well as holding together the questionable movie adaptation of The Last Five Years. He is now embracing the 2020's by making a piece of theatre for the digital age titled Carry On.
If you have been to a Jeremy Jordan concert before, you might think you know what to expect with this concert. His shows are known for his hilarious storytelling which will leave you rolling in the aisles (not recommended with social distancing) as well as being blown away by his phenomenal voice. While the voice is still ever apparent, this is as different as it gets for Jeremy.
Inspired by becoming a father, Carry On delves far deeper into Jeremy's life story than he has ever allowed the audience to see before, uncovering a darkness, heartbreak and tragedy that he has previously not revealed on stage. What transpires is an extremely emotional 90 minutes where Jeremy breathes new life into some songs he is known for as well as others he has not previously performed, underpinned by stories from his childhood.
Filmed at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York where Jeremy premiered the show to an audience before the pandemic grounded the show to halt, Carry On is cleverly put together as two different scenes flitting back and forth - the "present" where Jeremy, the showman, is on stage delivering the concert with tongue firmly in cheek, playing to the cameras and the crew. The other takes us to "Before" the concert where he prepares for the show by talking to his child - this is where the vulnerability really comes out. Utterly mesmerising both when he is telling the stories as well as when he is singing, the clever narrative of this show adds new levels of depth to create an intimate affair.
Jeremy Jordan could sing anything and it would be amazing - such is the power behind his voice. He revisits 'Broadway Here I Come' from Smash! but encourages the audience to listen to the meaning behind the words, which makes it more powerful than usual. Other standout moments include two original songs, particularly the fantastic opening number 'Carry On' - a last minute replacement apparently, this should be a permanent addition to his live shows.
Those expecting to see the staples of Jeremy's live shows such as moments from The Last Five Years, Bonnie & Clyde and his iconic take on Celine Dion's 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now' will be disappointed - though these are present in a rapid montage, clearly there to say "Oh you wanted to hear these properly? Not tonight". These songs not being performed in full means there is more time for the storytelling. Not having an audience in front of him doesn't deter Jeremy - the way he penetrates the camera with his stare goes straight into your soul and is a fitting recreation of the feeling you can get when you are sitting in the audience at one of his concerts.
One thing anyone who has been to one of his concerts can testify is the hilarious back and forth Jeremy has with his musical director, Benjamin Rauhala. Thankfully, that is still ever present - whether that is through Benjamin sneaking in a Celine Dion CD to Jeremy's suitcase or playful banter throughout, this is a refreshing break from how overwhelming some of the more serious elements of Carry On provides.
Carry On is more than a normal concert and it is more than your run-of-the-mill one man show. What Jeremy has created here can only be described as art. Every word in the story, every camera angle and every "unscripted" moment has been clearly orchestrated. The end result is one of the best pieces of online theatre you will ever see. Mix together Jeremy's incredible talent plus his kack for sensational storytelling and add in to the mix a well produced show with a beautiful message and emotional depth, what you end up with is pure theatre magic.
Whether you are previously familiar with Jeremy Jordan or not, Carry On is a must watch for any lover of musical theatre or even any lover of storytelling. A unique experience, flawlessly executed, Carry On is an absolute triumph.
Jeremy Jordan: Carry On is available to stream on demand until Thursday 27th May from https://54below.com/events/54-below-premieres-jeremy-jordan/