Even though he has a resume any actor would be proud of, there are still two roles that Corey Jones would love to play.
“I’d love to do Booster in August Wilson’s ‘Jitney.’ And even though I may be a little long in the tooth at this point, I’d still love to tackle the role of Walter in ‘Raisin in the Sun,’” says Jones, now appearing in the second touring company of “The Book of Mormon,” being staged at the Academy of Music May 28-June 9. “I never had the chance to play either character but I’d love to try them someday.”
Still holding out for those roles, Jones has nevertheless distinguished himself in other roles, including the “Book of Mormon.” He appeared with the first touring company of this musical that won nine Tony Awards, and has signed on again.
“This is the longest I’ve been with any one show and played any one character. And yet interestingly,” he notes, “I never planned on becoming an actor.”
Born and bred in Chicago, Jones initially entered college to study architecture, although he ended up receiving his bachelor’s degree in history. But having appeared in plays in high school, Jones retained a taste for the theater most of his life.
“Then one day one of my professors invited me to become an intern at his theater company. I did that for two years, and it was during that time that I decided to make acting my profession,” he said.
With that in mind, Jones attended the University of Texas at Austin to study his craft.
“And when I graduated, I hit the ground running,” he said. “But instead of heading to New York I headed for the West Coast where I got my start, mainly doing voice-overs, commercials, animation and so on. It was all sort of supplementary to doing stage work, with future aspirations to someday doing film and television.”
Today, Jones admits he gets a great deal of joy from everything he does.
He says, “as an actor I get to explore the human psyche in every sense. I can be the captain of a ship one day, and the father of three sons the next. Most people can’t do that in their everyday existence but I can, so that’s the best of acting for me.”
Of course the other side of the coin is the inconsistency that acting brings with it. “I think that’s the most difficult part of this business. You’ll do a project for two months and then its back in the unemployment line. There’s very little longevity or job security in being an actor.”
But at the same time, Jones concludes, “Being an actor can be very exciting for anyone willing to invest in themselves and go through the paces. You have to be willing to be in it for the long haul. While overnight success can happen for some people, it generally takes a long time to build a career. You must be patient and eventually doors will begin to open. But it’s certainly not as easy as it looks.”