The famous production that took Broadway by storm in 1964 has returned with a brand new cast. We talked with “Funny Girl” cast member Jared Grimes (he’s also a Tony Award-nominee) about his role, the show and his favorite places in New York City!
"Funny Girl" and New York City With Jared Grimes
WT: Tell us about your current Broadway role!
Grimes: My current role in “Funny Girl” on Broadway is the role of Eddie Ryan, who plays the dance choreographer and Fanny Brice’s best friend. My take on Eddie Ryan is what you would’ve seen in the early 1900s—a tap dance star who would become a big choreographer and possibly a film star. Sort of what you would’ve seen with John Bubbles or the Nicholas brothers.
WT: How did you get your start in performing, and in what other shows have you performed?
Grimes: I got my start in performing with my mom. My mom was my very first dance teacher, and that’s really how I caught the bug for it. I really just wanted to be like my mom, and it’s funny because tap wasn’t her to go to, so it’s kind of ironic that I gravitated towards it, but it’s because of her that I started performing in recitals and in little parades and talent shows. It pretty much started at little shows like that, and then I started doing TV shows like “Star Search” and “Showtime at the Apollo” and other dance competitions. I know most people don’t know about shows like those, but they’re really the training ground for young performers.
WT: What are your favorite NYC local tips?
Grimes: Go SEE A SHOW! I don’t think you can come to NY without seeing some kind of Broadway show. I really think it makes the experience of being in New York. Even if it’s not the show you want to see, you should go see one because people in seats keep the arts alive. In some way, shape or form, you putting energy into that seat and giving energy to the actors and performers on stage is why some other person puts their energy in that same seat and so and so on. It’s kind of a contagious thing like that. I would encourage people to go see a Broadway show every time they come into NYC.
WT: If you’re going out for a night on the town in New York City, where would you go?
Grimes: There are so many options here! Typically, I like to go somewhere that’s not that crowded. I like to watch basketball games on big-screen TVs, so I like to find the closest bar that has the biggest TV screen and the fewest number of people and hang out there with my friends. We just have a good time watching the game, talking and laughing. It’s always good to have fun. Life is so short, sometimes, you have to kick back and do what you like to do, and in my case, that’s watching basketball.
WT: What is your favorite Broadway show to see as an audience member?
Grimes: I honestly like every show! I do tend to like shows that take more of a risk, though. I enjoy all shows for their entertainment value, but I am a big fan of shows like “Spring Awakening,” “Next to Normal” and “Passing Strange.”
WT: Where are your favorite spots to send family and friends when they visit?
Grimes: Again, I would say a Broadway show. I’m not a very big tour guide when family and friends come to the city, so I’m notorious for just telling them what the last show is that I saw and sending them in that direction.
WT: What is your favorite meal to enjoy in NYC?
Grimes: I’ve gotten into sushi lately, so I would say sushi. There are some really good sushi restaurants in NYC, and I think anybody that comes to NY should indulge in sushi. My second favorite would have to be Halal. You have to go to one of those food carts and get yourself some Halal!