Five Burning Questions with Paramour Star Jeremy Kushnier
October 26th, 2016
by Josh Ferri
Cirque du Soleil premiered their first big Broadway show, Paramour, and it's the perfect marriage of big, extravagant musical theatre and absolutely stunning acrobatics. Leading the production is Broadway's Jeremy Kushnier, who stars as "Hollywood wiz" A.J.—a powerful film director (some might say megalomaniac) from the Golden Age whose epic movies come to life throughout Paramour in countless musical numbers ranging from ancient Egypt to old-time Westerns.
BroadwayBox spoke with Kushnier about the joy of life backstage, the unceasing work of his acrobatic co-stars, and the TV hit he's obsessed with right now.
1. You are playing such a prick. How would you deal with working with a director like A.J.?
I don’t look at him like that. I look at him as someone who is specific about his art and has strong opinions about what that means. He has people that stay around him so there’s got to be something to it. You either choose to deal with it or choose not to. If you’re going to keep the job and decide to stay and do the work, you have to figure out a way. Working with anybody you find languages you speak; you find out what they need and what you’re looking for in that situation, and navigate your way through that way.
2. You guys look like you’re having a blast backstage on social media.
One of the biggest things I like about going to work on the show is that I just really, really enjoy all the people I get to work with. We really do have a great time backstage. We make sure we have a good time backstage, and I think it translates to what goes on onstage.
What would surprise us about life backstage at this huge show?
One big surprise is that the acrobats are constantly working. They not only do their act every night but they also have to time out how they are warm and when they warm up so they don’t get cold before their act but they don’t tire themselves out. It’s really interesting to watch the backstage choreography that happens in creating and upkeep in a show like this. It’s a real puzzle.
3. What attracted you to Paramour at first? How was it pitched to you?
Well, the first thing was just getting to do a brand-new show, then getting to do a brand-new show with Cirque. And that this is their first real foray into musical theatre was really exiting. Whenever you get a chance to make something new, it’s an opportunity, and that’s what drew me.
4. Watching the show everything feels so seamless. How was it created? Did you build the show separately (musical vs acrobats) and then put it together or was it all one the whole time?
The hardest thing about answering this is that I wasn’t there from the very beginning, but when they first started the creation (which is what they call it in the Cirque world) everyone was in the room together—the acrobats, the actors, the dancers, the singers. Everyone has different jobs—the acrobats work a hell of a lot harder than any of us do. Not only are they physically doing the show every night but they are also in training a couple days a week. They are working really hard to keep themselves in shape and learn other aspects so they could sort of internally cover each other.
5. Outside of theatre, what is your pop culture obsession right now?
I think Westworld is absolutely nuts and amazing. J. J. Abrams has done it again. He’s given us our new Lost, if I may be so bold. It feels like that. He’s created this whole world. That is what I’m into most right now.
Don't miss Jeremy Kushnier (and those killer Kushnier vocals) in 'Paramour' at Broadway's Lyric Theatre.