Stage Door Review

Boy Falls From The Sky

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

✭✭

by Jake Epstein, directed by Robert McQueen

David Mirvish & Past Future Productions, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto

April 19-May 29, 2022

That Degrassi Guy

Jake Epstein is still recognized in the street as “that Degrassi guy” because of his role in Degrassi: The Next Generation (2002-08). While that would satisfy most people, Epstein’s engaging, well-written autobiographical cabaret Boy Falls From The Sky tells us that his childhood dream was always to star on Broadway.

We learn about Epstein’s whole theatre career, from his role as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! when he was only 12 through landing lead roles in the national tours of Spring Awakening and Green Day’s American Idiot, to playing the title role in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway (2012-13) and creating the role of Carole King’s husband in Beautiful in 2014.

Despite these successes the show is shot through with irony. The Spider-Man stint ended in injury. He was fired from Beautiful.

Epstein and director and co-creator Robert McQueen have carefully chosen songs from each stage of Epstein’s career whose lyrics slyly take on new meaning. Green Day’s “Give Me Novacaine” becomes a metaphor for the crushing loneliness Epstein felt while on tour.

Epstein exudes both confidence and vulnerability as he masterfully caresses each song and makes it his own. “Razzle Dazzle” from the musical Chicago, a show he did not appear in, becomes a recurring metaphor for his ambivalence toward Broadway, having experienced both its attraction and its cruelty.

This is cabaret of the highest calibre, and it’s no wonder its run at the Fringe sold out.

Christopher Hoile

Note: This review appeared in NOW Magazine on July 6, 2019.

Photo: Jake Epstein as Spider-Man. © 2013 Jacob Cohl.

For tickets, visit www.mirvish.com.