Paul Jordan Jansen ('12 B.F.A.) Shares What He Learned Playing the Role of a Lifetime

Paul Jordan Jansen (2012 alum) gave an incredible performance as Sweeney Todd in the Paramount Theatre production this past March. He shares how playing this role has changed him. 


What was your favorite thing about playing Sweeney Todd?

My favorite part about playing Sweeney was singing Sondheim's impossible score. I grew up listening to this musical and constantly bringing in the sheet music to sing in my voice lessons. This was a dream role of mine, so getting this opportunity to play Sweeney at such a young age was incredible. I have a lot more to discover, so I hope to revisit Fleet Street in the future. 


What is one of the biggest lessons/how has this changed you?

This go at Sweeney has taught me to trust my process. No matter what setbacks I faced health wise, in scene work, with music, I was able to move past them by staying confident in my choices and trusting the page.


What was the audition like?

My audition was all through videotape. I reached out to casting last summer, expressing my interest in the show; I told them I'd be willing to send in a tape, but I can't make any auditions. The casting director responded and said to put the Sweeney material on tape and they'll go from there. After two rounds of self-tapes and many notes and adjustments, they made me the offer.


Any advice/thoughts for future grads/the Penn State Musical Theatre community?

Stay true to yourself and never lose the joy in what you do. Hustle hard and stay open to all opportunities—you never know where they may lead. Always be kind, never settle, and be ferocious...that's the Penn State way.

Logo for United Scenic Artists


Logo for Stage Directors and Choreographers Society


Contact Us

Address: Penn State School of Theatre, 116 Theatre Building, University Park, PA 16802 USA.

Office: (814) 865 7586

Fax: (814) 865 5754

Tickets: (814) 863 0255