Eric Jetner moved to the States from France to pursue musical theatre. As a part of the Rising Star singing competition, he said his biggest challenge wasn’t the singing itself but learning the songs in English since it’s not his first language. In the midst of preparing for his solo show in Manhattan, we caught up with Jetner to talk about finding his footing in America.
What initially brought you to America?
I did five Broadway shows in France and I got the opportunity to do Cabaret out on Long Island in 2010 and I just stayed after that. I got my visa and I stayed in the US. It’s been great.
What’s the biggest difference between working in the theatre in France and working in it here?
I think the big difference is that France is more laid back. Here, things are more structured. I like that here every person in a production has their own role and they stick to it. You show up and do you own job.
Have you found it difficult to find your footing here with casting directors?
The accent is one of the main issues when it comes to casting so I’ve been taking dialect coaching. Living in New York is expensive so it’s important to find a moment to balance between paying the bills and paying for classes. I’ve been meeting a lot of casting directors and producers because I tell them, “I’m French, I’m sexy, I love cheese and wine and you should meet with me.” I have the guts to go for it. I know I’m unique so I have to show them that. It works sometimes, it doesn’t work other times. You just have to be patient.
How do you stay inspired?
With the support of my family and friends and thinking about what the future is going to be. I’m really thirsty about everything. I want to discover the world and travel and learn. I get inspired by people and the life around me. When I’m on stage performing and not being serious, that makes it fun. Everything is so serious in life, so it’s good to be silly on stage sometimes. When it comes to my art, I take that seriously, but I want to bring the fun with it.
One last question, a random one, but you have such a high Freddie Mercury kind of voice! Where do you rehearse and not drive the neighbors crazy?
I’m coming from opera and classical study. When I started to sing, I was doing lyrical work. I then did classical musical theatre in France and when I switched, people tell me a lot that it sounds like Freddie. I work at Stardust Diner which means I get to sing almost every day, so that’s where I practice the most. It’s a great place to train my voice and do it in front of an audience.