Written and performed by Jake Epstein, developed with and directed by Robert McQueen, musical direction by Wayne Gwillim, and music supervision and orchestrations by Daniel Abrahamson, Boy Falls From the Sky was originally performed at the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival, where it was a sold-out hit and received great acclaim. Chris Hoile of NOW Magazine rated the show 5 out of 5 and called it “cabaret of the highest caliber." Mooney on Theatre described it as “pitch-perfect.” The show has since been expanded and will officially debut as part of the Off-Mirvish season.
What if your childhood dream came true? Would it live up to your expectations?
For Jake Epstein, that dream was to star in a Broadway musical. He grew up in Toronto loving theatre. “I was obsessed,” he says.
“Every summer my parents would take my sister and I on a road trip to New York to see a Broadway show,” he explains. “On the way we would listen to Broadway albums and imitate the voices we heard.”
His love of singing and performing led him to Claude Watson School for the Arts where his drama teacher sent him on his first audition. At the age of 11, Jake made his professional debut in Our Town at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Soon after he was cast as the Artful Dodger in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver, directed by Sam Mendes, at the Princess of Wales Theatre. “I got my first pay check signed by Ed Mirvish himself.”
Epstein was juggling school and work when he got cast in the TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation. “It was exciting to be on TV but to be honest, it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I wanted to perform on stage. So I moved to New York so I could audition - and be rejected - for everything.”
Eventually Epstein booked parts in tours of Broadway hits like Spring Awakening and American Idiot. After several years on tour, it finally happened: the dream. Epstein was cast as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
“Not exactly how I imagined it, but who imagines themselves getting cast in the title role of the biggest, most expensive and most infamous Broadway show of all time?”
After surviving a year in Spider-Man came an even rarer opportunity. Epstein originated a leading role on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Everything was going perfectly - or so it seemed.
“Behind all of this success is a reality that I never talked about for years. Whenever anyone asked me about my experiences in these shows, I would lie or say nothing at all. After coming home from New York, I stopped singing.”
Boy Falls From the Sky is Epstein’s personal account of the cost of trying to make it in show business. He shares his memories of rejection, stage fright, and heartbreak with irony and self deprecating humour. Many of these stories are told using songs from shows he worked on as well as other personal favourites. More details about the show’s April/May dates, including exact dates and performance schedule, will be announced closer to the run.