Even if Jake Epstein’s name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you’d recognize him. You’ve seen the Toronto-based actor in something, whether it’s his work on TV in shows like Degrassi and Suits, or, if you’re a musical theatre geek like me, from his leading roles in multiple Broadway musicals. Epstein is now back in Toronto headlining in his own solo cabaret/show-biz confessional, Boy Falls From the Sky: Jake Epstein Live at Supermarket presented by Past Future Productions and now playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Since Epstein was a kid, belting out show tunes with his sister in the back of his family’s minivan, he has dreamed of making it on Broadway and he has largely realized that dream. He landed lead roles in the national touring productions of Spring Awakening and American Idiot, starred in the infamous Broadway musical, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, and originated a lead role during the creation of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Epstein has had a hugely successful career by any objective measure, but that success hasn’t always come easily. In Boy Falls From the Sky, he takes us on a musical memoir of the highs and lows of his career so far (including the literal highs and lows of plummeting 30 feet to the stage while strapped to a harness and dressed in a lycra Spiderman costume every night).
The show Epstein has crafted with director Robert McQueen is pitch-perfect. Accompanied by musical director Daniel Abrahamson on piano, Epstein takes songs from musicals he has performed in and weaves them throughout his narrative in a way that feels completely organic; none of it feels superfluous or self-indulgent.
Epstein carries the solo show with a casual ease, as if he were regaling a group of friends over beers at a bar. He is affable, down-to-earth, and his narrative is sprinkled with gentle self-deprecating humour. On opening night he had the full-house audience leaning in and listening in rapt attention.
Canadians love to root for one of our own and Epstein is the quintessential local kid who does good. He just comes across as so utterly likeable and I couldn’t help but be completely won over by his charm.
As highly as I recommend the show, tickets may be difficult to come by. As of this writing, all advance tickets for the entire run are sold out. There may be a few tickets available at the last minute if you check in with the box office at the venue before each performance.
- Boy Falls From the Sky: Jake Epstein Live at Supermarket plays at Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Parental Guidance Advised, Mature Language
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Thursday, July 4th, 7:00pm
- Friday, July 5th, 5:00pm
- Saturday, July 6th, 7:00pm
- Sunday, July 7th, 4:00pm (sign-language interpreted)
- Wednesday, July 10th, 7:00pm (sign-language interpreted)
- Thursday, July 11th, 7:00pm
- Friday, July 12th, 5:00pm
- Saturday, July 13th, 7:00pm
Photo of Jake Epstein by Jacob Cohl