A YouTube Timeline of the Incredible Oklahoma! Star Rebecca Naomi Jones
April 18th, 2019
by Josh Ferri
Rebecca Naomi Jones is the fiercest Laurey Williams you’ve ever seen. The Broadway favorite delivers an incredibly nuanced and powerful performance in the brilliantly reimagined revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!.
The dark, moving new Oklahoma! is just the latest in a career that always includes the coolest or most badass musicals happening in NYC. Take a little trip down musical memory lane with us as we look back on the killer (often showstopping) resume of Rebecca Naomi Jones.
After appearing in the world-premiere production at Berkeley Rep, Rebecca Naomi Jones made her off-Broadway debut in The Public Theater hit Passing Strange in 2007. Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s musical about a young African American artist’s experiences abroad. She played the roles of German revolutionary Desi, as well as Sherry and Renata. RNJ made her Broadway debut in the 2008 transfer, and her performance is preserved in the stunning Spike Lee film recording.
Next, in 2008, she appeared as Fay in Wig Out! at Vineyard Theatre, the sickening the house down piece about gay ball and house culture by Moonlight Oscar winner and Choir Boy playwright. Tarell Alvin McCraney. Then in 2009, she returned to the Vineyard replacing into the Michael Friedman musical This Beautiful City.
Her breakout leading role came when she originated the role of Whatshername in Michael Mayer’s Green Day musical American Idiot both at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2009 and on Broadway in March 2010. She was electrifying, from her dreamy moments like “Last Night on Earth” to her explosive “Letterbomb”.
Following American Idiot, RNJ slayed audiences in the cult musical Murder Ballad. She sang her face off in the intimate four-person show about love and betrayal. She killed it in the original 2012 MTC premiere and subsequent remounting off-Broadway in 2013.
Then in the summer of 2013, Rebecca Naomi Jones took her talent for stopping a show over to Shakespeare in the Park, where she played Jaquenetta in Michael Friedman’s should-know adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Her “Love’s a Gun” is legendary and eternal mood.
In the fall of 2014, she teamed up with Michael Friedman and The Public Theater once more for The Fortress of Solitude. She played Lala (a girl from the block) and Abby (Dylan’s girlfriend in Berkeley). Warning: Abby’s Act II moment “Something” will be stuck in your head, but this score is so beyond incredible you should play the album on loop until memorized.
She reunited with Wig Out! director Tina Landau for Signature Theatre’s off-Broadway production of Big Love in 2015.
Rebecca returned to Broadway as Yitzhak in the Tony Award-winning revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2015. She co-starred in the rock musical/theatrical event opposite John Cameron Mitchell, Darren Criss, and Taye Diggs.
In 2016, Rebecca made her Encores! debut in their revival of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater at New York City Center. Then she played Marie Knight opposite Kecia Lewis’ Sister Rosetta Tharpe in the 2016 Atlantic Theater Company hit Marie and Rosetta.
Then came her non-musical Broadway debut in March 2017 when she co-starred as that shady friend, Vanessa, in the gone-too-soon Joshua Harmon comedy Significant Other.
Next, Rebecca co-starred in two off-Broadway plays. She played Urzula in Describe the Night at The Atlantic in 2017 and Kate in Fire in Dreamland at The Public in 2018.
Now you can (and must) see her and her badass Laurey in Oklahoma! at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre.