For those people who grew up in the 90’s, it doesn’t seem possible that this decade is over 20 years in the past. San Diego Musical Theatre is hoping the world premiere of their newest show (by the creators of the hit musical MIXTAPE the Lamb’s Player’s Theatre musical review) PUMP UP THE VOLUME: A 90’S PALOOZA brings some happy memories of grunge outfits, Nirvana songs, battling boy bands, Britney and Christina feuds, and Spice Girl songs.
I’m so sorry, I did not mean to make you feel old; it seems to me that it can’t have been that long ago either!
Janaya Jones is part of this journey to the 90’s. You may recognize her and her dulcet tones from playing Doris Walker in San Diego Musical Theatre’s past holiday show MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. So I took a moment to find out from her what to look forward to in this show and what some of her favorite memories are form the 1990’s.
How old were you when you got the performing bug? Was there a moment that stands out to you that this what you needed to do as an adult?
I remember that I’ve always loved to sing. I started Choir In 3rd grade and Band in 5th grade, but when high school hit, I just felt that theatre was the next step. I auditioned for “The Music Man” my freshman year of high school and totally tanked the audition. It was that first no that got the fire fueled in me to work harder and get into the musical next year. From being an ensemble member in Fiddler on the Roof to now, I definitely felt in my heart that this was the journey that I needed to take and I couldn’t be more thankful for every single experience that has lead me to Pump up the Volume and hopefully many projects in the future!
What do you look forward to audiences seeing/experiencing with this show?
This show is A LOT of fun. There will never be a moment where we’re not smiling (unless we were directed to!) I think what I’m most excited about is seeing all of the different walks of life that will be able to look back to on an incredible decade. Whether you were a kid (like me) or in high school or a working man or woman during the 90’s, there is a part for everyone in this show.
Do you have a favorite moment that you look forward to when you are performing? Like being backstage getting ready, that first step onto the stage that day, or hearing the audience before house lights go down? What puts a smile on your face when performing?
I have a couple. Getting ready before a show is definitely my #1 favorite. It always puts a smile on my face when I get to walk into my second home and prepare for a show. Doing my makeup and putting on my costume is almost therapeutic for me. It’s nice to shed whatever happened that day (whether it be good or bad) and put on this character that you’ve grown to love! My second favorite thing is curtain call & post show. I love getting to talk to friends, family, and others after the show and pick their brains about what their favorite parts of the show were.
What was it like to originate a role in MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET last year?
Originating Doris Walker was a dream come true. She challenged me to take a step out of my comfort zone and she taught me so many lessons about life, love, and the future that have helped me a lot in my own personal life. I didn’t even think that I was going to be able to make it to that audition, but thank goodness everything worked out in the end. That role will always be very near and dear to my heart since it was the first role I’ve had the honor of originating and I couldn’t have done it without my incredible cast mates, Colleen, Jon, Lance, Brian, and SDMT.
Is there a 90’s trend that you look back on and wonder, how/why did anyone wear/do that?
ALL OF THE DENIM. Trust me I’m down for a jean jacket here and there but I’m pretty sure I owned every article of clothing in a denim fabric back in the 90’s. Also when I was 3 or 4 years old my mom bought my sister and I matching denim jackets with characters from The Lion King spray painted on the back of it. The look of terror in my face in those life touch photos that we got in those jackets will be forever engraved in my brain
What is your favorite 90’s memory?
My favorite 90’s memory was definitely 90’s TV & movies. There were so many shows to watch no matter what time of day it was! I was always watching some cartoon on Saturday Mornings (Ahh! Real Monsters, Animaniacs, Power Rangers, Pokemon, etc.) I was also a huge Batman fan an that was an iconic time for the batman series. Harley Quinn was introduced, Batman Forever was released in ’97… The list goes on.
What Harry Potter house would you be sorted into?
Ever since I was 8 years old I always had thought that I’d be sorted into Ravenclaw. But as I’m getting older, the Slytherin House is most definitely where I belong. (And I took the official Pottermore Quiz like 5 times now and I’m 3 Slytherin and 2 Ravenclaw).
If you can choose only one:
Trolls, Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, or Pokemon?
Pokemon! I had 3 Binders filled with Pokemon cards and when I was in kindergarten, I wrote a story about Evee and my starter Pokemon, Squirtle.
Britney or Christina?
The first album that I ever owned was Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” But, I definitely was more of a Christina Aguilera Fan.
Zack Morris or AC Slater?
Zach Morris. Definitely. He was such a Dreamboat!
You can follow Janaya’s adventures on Instagram @Esmerelduhhh_ or on my Acting page https://www.facebook.com/janayamjones/
You know you want to see this show and have a blast reminiscing about our 90’s past! Go to www.sdmt.org for ticket and show time information! San Diego Musical Theatre at the Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter.