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Tell me about making your Broadway debut in Spider-Man and flying over an audience. [Laughs.] I mean, there's just nothing funnier or crazier than that — doing your Broadway debut as Spider-Man in Spider-Man the musical.

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We talked a lot, especially because Gerry is such a complicated character to understand why he was doing what he did — why he made these decisions. Each of the times, it was very brief, and — without going into too much [detail], he has good days, and he has bad days — when I met him, it was difficult for him to communicate on those days, so I got to speak to him very, very briefly, but he was a big fan. He was aware of everything going on, and to be honest, he made these mistakes when he was younger. He wanted to tell it as truthfully as the musical could do and not just sugarcoat it because he knows that he made mistakes back then. Tell me about leaving "Degrassi" behind to pursue theatre school. JE: I did "Degrassi" for five years in Toronto, and I made the decision to quit the show to go to theatre school, which a lot of people thought I was really crazy to do, but it was one of those major decisions in my life that I haven't regretted — hopefully I won't! I was almost embarrassed by the kind of attention I was getting from this show, and I wanted to feel proud of the work I was doing, so I made this really scary decision to go to a theatre school, and it was amazing for me. From school, teachers of mine cast me in productions in Toronto, and then from there, I went to an open call for the Spring Awakening [first national] tour and eventually got cast on tour as Melchior.

And, it was very important for Doug not to portray him as the villain. Your character goes from being in high school and meeting Carole King all the way through his adulthood, which is very different from other roles you played in Spring Awakening, Spider-Man, American Idiot and "Degrassi." Your character has a very big arc in Beautiful. That was my first introduction into the Broadway scene, and then eventually I got my Green Card so that I could go to New York.

Audience members can't decide whether to love him or hate him. I have met him, but our director, Marc Bruni, and our writer, Douglas Mc Grath, made the decision that we weren't going to imitate these people because firstly, people don't know Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil [and] Barry Mann as people — they know their work.

Jake Epstein: When I first read this script, I was attracted to the part of Gerry because of all that! I couldn't figure out whether he was the villain or he was sort of the misunderstood hero or he was this artist or he was someone with real mental issues. And, the more I've learned about him, the more I'm a huge fan of his. People know Carole King, so they felt like what was more important was to tell their story — to be completely inspired by their story. You were talking before about [how] the audience likes you or doesn't like you…

Jake is from Toronto; when he was 16, he won Canada’s version of the Emmy, called the Gemini, for his work as Craig on .

A lot of Jake's costars on this show are Jewish: Sarah Barrable-Tischauer, Lauren Collins, Stacey Farber, Shane Kippel...

Is that gratifying to play as opposed to an angsty teen? I mean, I knew when I took this part it was my first sort of "adult role." I wasn't playing a high-school kid anymore. Literally, the day after I got my Green Card, I bought a plane ticket, flew here and started auditioning…

It was five weeks of being in New York before I booked Spider-Man.

and Aubrey Graham, now better known by his middle name, Drake!

That explains the latkes in the De Grassi cafeteria...

What did you learn about Gerry Goffin when you first read the script?

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