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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


February 12, 2016  RSS feed
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Text: T T T

Actor brings Rueben character home in ‘Dreamcoat’


Jacob Sharf as Rueben (foreground center) in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Jacob Sharf as Rueben (foreground center) in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” When Jacob Sharf takes the stage At Ruth Eckerd Hall on Feb. 23 to play Rueben in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, he will be returning to familiar stomping grounds.

Sharf, 25, grew up in Clearwater. He attended Congregation Beth Shalom and graduated from Palm Harbor University High School.

Though he said there were times when he and his older brother, Doug, would goof off in synagogue and harmonize while singing prayers, Sharf said he didn’t really consider acting until his sophomore year of high school. It was there the acting bug first bit him, completely by chance.

Doug was responsible for taking Jacob home every day from school. While Doug was working on a production in the school’s theater, Jacob would wait in the theater until Doug had finished. One day, the actors realized they were short a person on stage and asked Jacob to step in.

“They just turned to me and said ‘Hey, Jacob, wanna be in this play?’ I said, ‘Um, okay,’” said Sharf. “That was my first experience actually doing any work on the stage; it was my first experience realizing how awesome of a tight-knit family and community that theater is, and it snowballed into what is now a passion.”

Though Doug was the one originally interested in theater, he went on to become a writer while Jacob threw himself into stage work. After earning a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater from the University of Miami, Sharf moved to New York City to pursue his dream. Sharf lived in New York for about two and a half years when he got the chance to audition for the national touring company’s production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is gleaned from the bible story of Joseph and his 11 brothers. The brothers are jealous of Joseph for his coat of many colors, a symbol of their father’s favoritism. They plot to kill him, but instead they sell him into slavery, spurred on by Joseph’s dreams that reveal he will one day rule over all of them. Sharf plays the eldest of the brothers, Reuben, who leads the brothers to break the news of Joseph’s “death” to their father, Jacob.

The chance to audition for the show might have been kismet or, as they say in Yiddish, beshert.

“Right away I knew I was right for the part because, well, I’m super Jewish,” joked Sharf. “And I have a certain dark quality to my disposition, and I knew this character had this conniving quality, so right away I was like, good.”

Though he didn’t consider himself a strong dancer, and the part required both dancing and singing, Sharf felt confident about his chances. He had to wait three weeks before finding out if he had gotten the part.

If you go to that callback or audition and you kill it, and you do everything you’re supposed to do, and you know you did your thing and you put your soul into your work, it’s like yeah, of course you want to get the call, but it’s not about the call; it’s not about the result. You find that the result is just a byproduct of the effort you put into it.”

Since then, he has been traveling with his company around the country for the past six months, sometimes staying just one night in a city before running off to the next. Those were the parts of the tour that were particularly tough, he said.

Luckily, when the company comes to Clearwater, he will have the opportunity to take a breather and visit with family including his parents, Barbara and Howard, and friends.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be featured Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 2 and 7:30 Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets range from $35 to $150. Visit or call (727) 791-4400 for tickets.

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