By Max Berlinger
Photography by Jimmy Fontaine
Eight floors above the intersection of Broadway and West 42nd Street, Jeremy Jordan sits in a Times Square office, tearing off chunks of a pre-packaged sandwich and happily shoving them into his mouth. It’s a little more than a month before Newsies the Musical opens, starring Jordan as Jack Kelly, a role originated by Christian Bale in the 1992 movie about the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899.
“This is a huge responsibility,” Jordan says cautiously between bites, his blue eyes shielded by a ratty Dallas Cowboys cap. “I remember being eight years old and seeing it in the theater. This movie means a lot to people in my generation.”
And while Bale made his mark in the role back when he was still a fresh-faced teenager, Jordan’s certainly not living in the actor's shadow.
Indeed, the 27-year-old Texas native first tackled the role during a four-week run at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse last fall -- “So this doesn’t feel too daunting,” he says of headlining the show, before taking a moment to pause and let the reality sink in. He lets out a nervous laugh and adds, “But I’ll be freaking out in a month.”
He doesn’t seem like the type who needs to worry. His handsome features and an effortless, soaring tenor have garnered Jordan a reputation as a heartthrob—particularly following his turn as a silver-screen romantic lead in January's Joyful Noise and the critical praise he received for his Clyde Barrow in the Broadway musical, Bonnie & Clyde.
Mention his heartthrob status, though, and you’ll deflate Jordan’s casual-confident posture and prompt him to cover his face. “I want people to think of me as a good singer and actor,” he says. “I want to be respected for my talent, for my craft.”