Olivier Award-nominated and What’s On Stage Award-winning Jon Jon Briones has played the role of the Engineer in Miss Saigon on numerous tours and until the beginning of this year, he played it again in London’s West End. He’s reprising the role yet again in 2017 on Broadway. I caught up with Jon Jon to find out what his favourite scene from his signature show, is and what led him to a performing career.
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg Review. So tell me about Miss Saigon and revisiting the role of the Engineer. What is your favourite scene from the show?
Not necessarily my favourite but the first 15 minutes of the show is very important and very hard to do because it sets up the whole show. It’s very intense, with so many characters to introduce and you have to show the ugliness of the situation and the ugliness of how people react to that situation. If that is done right then you set up the whole narrative of the show to the end.
What made you decide to become a performer?
I think I decided to become a performer when I realized I’m happiest when I’m on stage. I once wished I was on stage 24 hours a day and then I was cast in Miss Saigon in 1989 and doing 8 shows a week, that was the closest to that wish and I’ll take it.
What career do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a performer?
I can’t be anything else but an actor.
Is there a favourite theatre you’ve performed in?
The Prince Edward Theatre would be up there with some of my favourites but I also love the intimate theatres. You’re not just talking top your scene partner but you also feel like you’re conversing with the audience.
Any particular roles you’d like to play in the future?
There’s a ton of roles I would love to play. Iago in Othello would be one of them.
Apart from Miss Saigon, what is your favourite musical and why?
The very first Musical I saw was West Side Story on TV when I was growing up in the Philippines and it changed my life. I thought life should always be expressed that way. When you’re happy, sad or angry, one should always be able to break into a song and dance. Now, wouldn’t that be a fabulous world!
If you could invite three famous people (alive or deceased) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Maya Angelou, Barack Obama and Lin Mauel Miranda. No explanations needed there because of the awesomeness and their heart.
For more information about Jon Jon, visit: http://www.brionestalent.com/jon_jon
Thanks to Jon Jon for sparing time out of his hectic schedule to chat to Break A Leg.
All Photos credited to: Brionestalent.com