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Q&A: CTC actor Elijah Jones said air guitar knowledge helped him ace CTC audition

Who: Elijah Jones, 24, CTC conservatory actor.

Jones plays a trio of characters in As You Like It: Oliver, Corin and William. He also can be seen as Gabe “Golden Thunder” Partridge in Airness and opened the season by playing a host of roles for the Young Playwrights Project.

Jones said he had a leg up on the other actors who auditioned for this summer’s conservatory.

“I think I had a slight advantage in that while I was at Actors Theatre of Louisville, I was there for the premiere of Airness,” Jones said. “I think familiar is a strong word, but I had been acquainted with air guitar, whereas a lot of people don’t even realize that is an actual thing and that the air guitar is a sport.”

Where he’s from: Jones is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was raised alongside an older brother and two younger sisters. Jones graduated from Penn State University and just finished his first year at The Juilliard School of Drama. After getting the call to join the school’s 50th class, he said he cried and called both his mom and Stori Ayers, the directing fellow at CTC this summer and a fellow Nittany Lion.

“That definitely was a moment that I was blown away,” Jones said. “It’s something that I really wanted to do and I took a lot of months to prepare for it, but I still realized that, statistically speaking, it was a longshot.”

First theatrical memory: Jones played the Wizard in his high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. He said the audience’s reception of the show got him excited about acting.

“To see people’s reaction to our work got me really excited,” Jones said. “I definitely got the bug after doing The Wizard of Oz and being embraced by our community.”

Dream playwrights: Jones said he does not believe his dream roles have been written yet, but he would love to originate parts in plays written by Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau and Donja Love.

What he’s watching: Jones said his favorite show on television right now is “Power,” a crime drama on Starz.

What he’s listening to: Drake’s new album, Scorpion.

Favorite food: Jones said he loves eating hot wings.

“I was talking to someone recently, and I didn’t even realize that Buffalo wings originated in Buffalo,” he said. “I feel like I need to get to Buffalo and try these wings.”

Favorite color: Jones likes the color red.

“Growing up, I was really into the Power Rangers, and the red ranger was the leader,” Jones said. “I think I lead by example. I do the thing rather than talk about it. I lead by doing.”

Dream superpower: Jones said he wishes he could read minds and hear what people are thinking.

Family ties: Jones said he is a distant relative of Langston Hughes.

Tags : AirnessAs You Like ItChautauqua Theater CompanyElijah Jones
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The author Kevin C. Vestal

Kevin Vestal is from Westerville, Ohio, and is a rising senior at Miami University in Ohio, studying journalism and professional writing with a minor in theater. Last summer, he interned for The Florence Newspaper in Italy, and he is excited to cover Chautauqua Theater Company and the Family Entertainment Series for the Daily. An avid thespian, Kevin recently performed on stage in Tartuffe and also has an irrational fear of wrists.

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