d-mars.com caught up with Texas Southern University Alum and CEO of Morningstar Theatrical Production, Eric Christopher Jones. Of course we asked him to share his story and upcoming works, including One Nation Project the Musical, with us. Check it out!
1.Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 49 years old. I was born in Medford, Massachusetts and grew up in Minnesota and West Texas (San Angelo). My father was an Air Force Physician, so we moved around a lot. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Texas Southern University.
2. How long have you been writing/producing?
I started writing plays back in 1995 as a part of a Theater Ministry in Houston. I then started to write professionally in 2000. I also started screenwriting back in 2011. I’ve been a producer for over 20 years; it’s been my passion for a long time.
3. What made you want get into writing/producing?
I’ve been involved in theater since I was 7 years old. But growing up, I used to have a severe speech impediment that deterred me from being an actor. So I got into stage management. I did that throughout high school. I also took some college courses in theater. And all the while, in the material that we produced, I didn’t see that it was up to par, so I started re-writing the material and it flowed better for the cast. They told me I should be a playwright and the rest is history. I started to write lyrics around the same time. I always tend to re-write works I didn’t think worked very well in musicals I’ve seen.
4. Who do you look up to in the acting world? Do you have any mentors that helped mold/guide your career? Please explain.
I love actors and writing for them, but my biggest role models or heroes are great lyricists like Steven Sondheim (Sweeney Todd), Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar), Lynn Ahrens (Once on this Island, Ragtime) and also the writing team of Paesek/Paul (La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen). They are great wordsmiths! Lynn Ahrens in particularly is a great librettist. I have never met her, but I loved her lyrics to Ragtime, my favorite musical.
5. What are some of your other works or projects you have worked on?
Currently I am working on two new musicals at this moment. One is called American Skin and it’s about ordinary Americans who have been murdered because of the color of their skin and then there is The Podium, which is about the three Olympic Medalists -Thommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman – who were the spotlight of controversy over their “Black Power” Salute during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. It’s very timely today.
6. Where did your interest in writing/producing stem from?
I’ve always written. I wrote before I could talk. At least, that’s what mother always told me. It’s like air to me. I don’t think I even remember a time I didn’t write anything.
7. What’s your favorite play or story? Why?
My favorite play is Fences by August Wilson. The language is sheer poetry. And my favorite musical is Ragtime. It transcends race and culture and it was the only musical that ever make me weep at the end.
8. What can patrons expect when seeing your work?
ONE NATION PROJECT is a multi-sensory musical theater experience that will transport you to two different worlds. One about the recent 21st century financial crisis of 2008 and the other about a family heirloom that links three families together when US Allies liberated the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald. It is going to make you laugh, angry and weep. It is an amazing roller coaster. So buckle up!
9. Tell me about any other things that you have coming up or going on now that you want to share with our readers.
Currently, I am finishing up the musical I mentioned with Fired! and I also have my holiday web series, The 25 Songs of Christmas, coming up in December so check out social media for that. Last, but not least, our spotlighted musical, Liberators, will be premiering at the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival.
10. Are you on social media? If so, would you like to share with our audience how to follow you and your work?
About One Nation Project the Musical
One Nation Project the Musical, a collective of musical theater pieces around the pronounced topic of polarization with undertones of tolerance and companionship, will perform one of two shows on Friday, November 10, 2017 at Queensbury Theatre, located at 12777 Queensbury Lane Houston, Texas 77024, at 8:00 p.m. Queensbury Theatre will also showcase a second Houston showing of the musical on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
For tickets One Nation Project the Musical, click here!