Andy Jones grew up with 2 moms, which may account for why he now gets to play a ….Charming prince
I’ve never even met Andy Jones, but I already have a bone to pick with him.
Sure, Jones — no relation — is a Broadway actor and currently starring in the national tour of Rodgers+Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which dances into North Texas this month for a two-week stint at Fair Park Music Hall before heading west of the Trinity to Bass Hall. But does that give him the right to claim the Twitter handle @AJonesTweets. Hey! There are other AJoneses out there, doesn’t he know that?!?
“When I got my Gmail account, the name they assigned me was AndyJones, so I emailed all the other Andy Joneses and said, ‘Can I pay you for this?’ so that I could be just AndyJones. Of course, no one responded, so I know just how you feel,” he says. But as with all fairy tales, Andy and I live happily ever after (though not, of course, together).
“I’m in the process of changing all my [social media names] so that they are all the same, so as soon as I do, you can snatch up AJonesTweets,” he suggests.
You can tell Jones is born to compromise, which probably helps make him the ideal person to portray Topher, the resident Prince Charming in this new stage version of Cinderella. The prince in the show has long been considered the ideal boyfriend: Humble, powerful, rich, handsome and with a good eye for footwear. So we couldn’t help but ask Jones whether being raised by two moms made it easier — or harder — for him to embody the perfect man.
“I was kind of the first of that generation of gaybies,” he acknowledges. “I have to remind myself sometimes that not everyone grows up with two phenomenal women raising them, because it was all I ever knew. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized it [was unique].”
One advantage for him being an actor with gay parents is his moms always encouraged him to be himself. “Who knows what my life would have been like with a more traditional family, but they were supportive of me following a path that made me happy,” Jones says. “When they came out, they were following the life they knew would make them happy so at 16 when I said, ‘Hey, I wanna run away and join the circus,’ they were supportive of that.”
And what about the absent father in Cinderella? Does Jones relate to that as well?
“My upbringing is very different than Prince Topher, who is heir to the throne with an advisor who has basically been ruling but his real parents are out of the picture,” he says. “It’s fun for me to play with this father figure, who may not be guiding me with the most sterling of intentions, but I never missed a father figure in my own life. I have a whole-family perspective in my heart. He is very alone in the world, but I was surrounded by so much love. The love you feel in Cinderella is like the love I’ve felt in my own life, and it’s what makes the prince become a wonderful king. I hadn’t quite realized that until just now.”
Jones gets added support because his girlfriend in real life plays the understudy for Cinderella, which means they occasionally get to have genuine romance onstage and off.
“Having my girlfriend on tour with me has really been a lucky situation,” he grins. “I suppose it had the potential to be smothering but has in fact been phenomenal.”
And he doesn’t feel the pressure to be that ideal boyfriend when the curtain falls — partly because this reimagining of the fairy tale, rewritten by Douglas Carter Beane, takes the characters along unfamiliar paths.
“I think one of the strengths of our production is we take these archetypes everyone knows — the dashing prince, the evil stepmother, the tormenting stepsisters — and modernize them. Topher is a normal guy who doesn’t really know what he’s doing — a real person who happens to have a crown on his head. I think some people are surprised by that and it takes the pressure off me at home,” he says. “She never asks, ‘Why can’t you be as charming as you are onstage?’”
But I suspect Jones is already charming enough.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 5, 2015.