The revival of Miss Saigon marks the fifth Broadway show for performer Julius Sermonia. It’s also the first time he’s been hired for a swing position– one that covers potentially nineteen roles. Considering the sheer size of the forty-plus member cast, it’s no surprise he was called to suit up for two roles soon after previews began.
Julius hails from Mississauga, Ontario where he grew up in a family of dancers; his brother Jason also appears in this production. After competing in dance competitions and a stint at Disney World, Sermonia made his official Broadway debut as Mistoffelees in CATS.
Hear what Julius has to say about his dance idol, the unlikely song that landed him his first professional gig, and his pop star obsession.
What I love most about being a part of this cast of Miss Saigon:
Besides the fact that it’s one of my favourite shows, I love watching the enormous talent this cast brings to the stage every night. And everyone is just so darn nice! It’s a blessing.
My favorite scene to watch while offstage:
Watching Jon Jon Briones do this thing at the top of American Dream. Jon Jon is magic.
Most fascinating thing about being a swing:
It’s terrifying. Ha-ha! Actually it’s so fascinating because I get to experience this show from the inside out. And I get to answer friends’ questions like, “Who do you play in Miss Saigon?” MOST OF THEM. lol
What being a performer at the Stratford Festival for seven seasons taught me:
The Stratford Festival holds a special place in my heart because over the years there, I feel as I’ve grown as an artist. Having never gone to theater school, I was being taught by these amazing actors night after night – just by watching and observing. I believe that as an artist, education never ends. Stratford Festival gave me that chance not only to be employed, but also to educate myself.
When I was twelve I wanted to dance just like:
Mikhail Baryshnikov. Watching his videos growing up inspired me to take ballet more seriously. I’m glad I did. Thanks, Misha!
Best piece of advice my dance teacher gave me:
Stay humble. Also he gave me a book before I took my first job – about asking for what you want/wish for. It’s called “The Aladdin Factor.” I think it’s out of print now. But it’s really changed my life.
One thing I learned about myself when I went on for the role of Lun Tha in the recent revival of The King and I:
I learned that I could do it! I’ve been singing Lun Tha in my repertoire for years, and it was wonderful validation to know I was singing the right notes!
The audition song that landed me my first professional theater job (CATS):
Happy Birthday – no joke. Ask Richard Stafford.
My most cherished memory of working at Disney World:
Definitely watching the kids’ faces light up when Mickey appeared with us on stage! Also, being able to go to the parks whenever I had free time! #perks
Pop singer I like to imitate most often:
That’s easy – Michael Jackson. I play this game backstage where I sing the show tune in a MJ voice. Fun for me–but not so much for the guys in the dressing room. Cha-mon!
You can catch Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway ( between 52nd and 53rd Streets). Tickets available via Telecharge.
All photographs courtesy of the artist.
About the Author
Bob Rizzo began The Dance Coach as a valuable resource for aspiring dancers, teachers and choreographers looking for professional feedback on technique, performance and choreography. And for those who aspire to a career in dance, The Dance Coach is a trusted advisor offering career coaching and advice based on more than 30 years of professional experience in the dance world! The Dance Coach Blog focuses on dance related topics and people working in the entertainment industry. It features a mix of interviews, tips for dancers, performance reviews, and training opportunities. Read Bob Rizzo’s full bio here.