Dynamic Duets: Evan Todd & Jon Eidson Talk Undies, Guyliner & Heathers House
May 2nd, 2014
by Josh Ferri
The musical may be called Heathers, but there’s no way you’re leaving New World Stages without talking about Kurt and Ram, Evan Todd (left) and Jon Eidson (right). Whether they are singing about being sexually frustrated or stripping down to their skivvies, these two newcomers (who are also roommates in real life—very cool!) have the audience in the palm of their hands. The duo recently gave BroadwayBox a chemistry lesson on all things Evan and Jon.
What was your first impression of your co-star?
“Who's that guy rocking the guyliner...and pulling it off?" I didn't know if it was some sort of weird actor callback thing so I didn't say anything about the eyeliner, but I instantly thought Jon was very cool and confident. Then we went in, and I realized he was really generous and fun to work off of. It's a weird thing to be auditioning with someone you are simultaneously auditioning against. It felt like we were actually working together in the room to book the part and I left hoping that he would get it too…Jon would want me to clarify that he had been doing a "Spice Boys Parody" earlier that day...I don't believe him. He just wanted his Gerber-Baby-blue eyes to pop in the callback.
When I got to the chemistry reads on the final day of callbacks, they paired me and Evan up right away. Before we even read our first scene together, he leaned over and murmured to me, "let's book this." I am on my own not a fantastic auditioner, but from that moment on, I spent the rest of the audition feeling like I had someone I could count on going through all of this, and I was right!.
What do you think it is that makes your performances gel so well together?
Every time we go onstage there is a sense that ANYTHING could happen, and that we have each other’s backs. It makes it fun and spontaneous, and like a constant improvisation.
I feel like we both really enjoy the company that we keep, not only offstage as ourselves but also onstage as Kurt and Ram. We are constantly filling in the blanks of our scenes with new moments. I love how effortless it has felt to keep our story fresh for me every night. We are also roommates (along with Ryan, who plays JD)—we love our apartment, which we affectionately refer to as Heathers House.
My favorite moment on stage with him is:
When we strip down to our undies. It's such a potentially awkward moment and it cracks me up each time. That, and when we come back as ghosts...again, in undies.
By the time we get to the end of “Blue,” we are in a position where we are literally jumping towards each other, pointing at our balls, and yelling "Look it!" I think if you get to this point with anyone in your life, you have truly reached an impressive pinnacle of friendship.
My co-star and I bond over:
Game of Thrones and Veep.
Food. All of the food. All of the time. Pizza. Ice cream. Steak. We do not discriminate.
I’m envious of my co-star’s ability to:
I admire Jon's ability to make things happen for himself. Most actors graduate from school and feel victim to circumstance, blaming everyone else for their inability to find work. Jon graduated and started his own YouTube comedy group, “Extremely Decent,” which has been incredibly successful. He's not waiting for someone else to give him a shot. He's paving his own way, and it's amazing.
Connect with and help people. Through two amazing non-profits that he started while at Juilliard, Evan has been able to make a positive change in the lives of many lucky young people. One of the programs he started, artsINSIDEOUT, takes artists to Johannesburg, South Africa to work and create with kids suffering from AIDS. I am often inspired by Evan's incredibly giving nature.
The most memorable performance we’ve shared has been:
I made Jon laugh onstage one performance. I'm terrible; it's so hard for me to hold it together when I think something is funny—but Jon is a stone wall. There was a moment when we come out after Heather Chandler’s death, and I looked back at him (no one could see my face) and pretended to ugly-cry. Jon couldn't keep it together. It was a glorious triumph.
It was a particularly rowdy performance of Heathers in LA, and we’d gotten to the moment in the second act when Ram and Kurt come onstage as ghosts in our underwear to heckle Veronica. It is important to note that I spend this entire scene staring at Veronica. During our final bit in the scene, the audience’s laughter did not die down—in fact, they started hooting and hollering and applauding like crazy. I felt like Oprah. They loved us! This went on for about a minute, and when we finally exited, I turned to Evan in wonderment only to find him in hysterics. Turns out he had broken during the bit, and the audience was cheering as he tried to hold himself together, as I stood there looking like an idiot with NO idea what was happening.
If I had to describe my co-star in a song, it would be:
“I'm Gonna Be/500 Miles" by the Proclaimers. One, because Ram is very loyal, and two, it's funny to think of Jon marching around singing it in a kilt and guyliner.
I don't see how it could be anything but the epic penny whistle solo from the Titanic theme song. In “Blue” we have the lyric: "hold 'em, enfold 'em, and never let go (Jack)!" …okay, well maybe the ‘Jack’ is just in my head.
Don't miss Evan Todd and Jon Eidson bring tons of laughs in Heathers at off-Broadway’s New World Stages.